Haley Surges in New Hampshire Just a Little Over a Month Before 1st-in-the-Nation Primary


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Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley is now only 15 points behind former President Trump in New Hampshire, according to a new national poll.

Presidential candidate Nikki Haley is now only trailing former President Donald Trump by 15 points in New Hampshire in the race for the Republican nomination, according to a newly released national poll.

The former South Carolina governor who served as U.N. ambassador in the Trump administration, is polling at 29 percent—a major jump from the low-to-mid-teens she’s been showing in national polls in the first-in-the-nation primary key battle ground state.

The surge was reported early Sunday morning via a CBS News/YouGov poll, which shows support for Mrs. Haley nearly doubling over the previous month.

It is the first poll that didn’t show President Trump with at least a 30-point lead over Mrs. Haley. It also comes after an X post by the 45th president suggesting he is not ruling out Mrs. Haley for his vice presidential pick.

“I’ve always gotten along with Nikki,” Mr. Trump commented. “We have some things in common and some things we don’t have in common, and some of those things are very important.”

Adding to the speculation is President Trump’s ceasing to use his “bird brain” nickname for Mrs. Haley at his last two campaign appearances in Iowa and New Hampshire, a name he had consistently used at previous appearances.

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Some of his supporters have promised to walk away from his campaign if he picks Mrs. Haley as his running mate.

“MAGA would revolt if Nikki Haley were to even be given an internship in Trump’s next administration,” Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) wrote in a  Dec. 12 post on X.

Ms. Greene described Mrs. Haley as someone who “represents the neocon establishment America last wing of the Republican Party that we are absolutely done with.”

The CBS/YouGov poll shows President Trump with 44 percent of support in New Hampshire from Republican voters, compared to Mrs. Haley’s 29 percent. President Trump continues to dominate in Iowa with 58 percent over Mrs. Haley’s 22 percent, based on the same poll.

The Iowa poll puts Florida Gov. Ron Desantis in second place at 22 percent with Mrs. Haley in third place at 13 percent.

As part of the poll, Mrs. Haley, considered a long shot candidate when she entered the race, scored first out of the five leading GOP candidates on two key questions: who voters considered “likable” and who they considered most “reasonable.”

She won 55 percent on the “likable” question and 51 percent on the “reasonable” question. Mr. DeSantis scored second on both of those questions, with Trump scoring third on the “reasonable” question and fourth on the “likable” question—just one percentage point behind biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy.

Mr. Ramaswamy finished last as the candidate voters considered most reasonable and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who remains least popular among the GOP contenders according to most national polls, finished last on the question of most likable.

Mrs. Haley, who was previously neck-and-neck for second place with Mr. DeSantis, now has nearly triple the support of the latter in New Hampshire, with Mr. DeSantis at 11 percent, according to the poll.

The CBS poll also showed that voters consider Mrs. Haley equally prepared for the job of president, winning 53 percent on the question of preparedness to lead the country, compared to 54 percent won by Trump.

Throughout her campaign appearances in New Hampshire, many of her supporters have cited her experience as a U.N. Ambassador to the United States as their primary confidence in her to assume the presidency.

Even at President Trump’s mega-rallies, many of the MAGA (Make America Great Again) candidate’s supporters have been quick to name Mrs. Haley as their second choice, because of her experience in foreign policy, during a globally tumultuous time with the war in Ukraine, the unrest in Israel, and growing tensions with China.

“She has sat across the table from world leaders and has proven she’s not afraid to take them on, and can take them on,” said  U.S. veteran Don Gorman, a New Hampshire resident who served as a U.S. Merchant Marine. “I’m Trump all the way, but if for some reason he’s not available or doesn’t win, I would definitely get behind Nikki.”

Many have also recently disputed Presidents Trump’s consistently large lead over Mrs. Haley and other GOP rivals as any forgone conclusion that he will win the primary nomination, saying it is too early to predict.

“You have Christmas, you have New Year’s, and then you have three weeks until the New Hampshire primaries after that,” Matthew Bartlett, a longtime Republican strategist in New Hampshire, told The Epoch Times. “Tons of time for Nikki Haley to catch up to Trump.”

New Hampshire, which holds the first presidential primary in the country, is set to be held on Jan. 23, 2024, defying the Democratic National Convention’s re-calendaring of the election for Feb. 6, 2024—three days behind South Carolina’s primary.

Mrs. Haley’s rise in the New Hampshire polls follows what many considered a key endorsement from popular Republican New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, who is currently serving a fourth term in office.

Last month, during campaign appearances with Mrs. Haley, he repeatedly said that he didn’t think voters started really making up their minds about candidates until Christmas.

Mr. Sununu, who once himself briefly considered a run for the presidency, announced amid the 2024 presidential campaign that he would not be seeking re-election, which came as a surprise to many Granite Staters.

Mr. Sununu also had previously called off a bid for the U.S. Senate against Democrat Maggie Hassan.

Some have speculated that Mr. Sununu, who also campaigned with Mr. DeSantis and Mr. Christie before backing Mrs. Haley, is freeing himself up for a cabinet position.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Haley seems to continue to count many former Trump supporters among her backers.

At a campaign event last week, a New Hampshire registered Republican who said she was just “starting to now pay attention” to the primary race in the state, told The Epoch Times that she supports the understanding that there cannot be an absolute ban on abortion.

“I agree with her that there has to be exceptions,” she said.

Mrs. Haley has described herself as “unapologetically pro-life” but has said that legislatively, America needs to settle on compromises such as legislation that allows for early termination of a baby while restricting late-term abortions.

Mrs. Haley’s jump in popularity in New Hampshire also comes on the heels of backing from large donors.

A few days after Thanksgiving, Americans for Prosperity, an influential conservative political network founded by “Never Trump” billionaire financier Charles Koch, announced its endorsement of Mrs. Haley.

“At the outset of our strategy, we made clear that we would be business-like in our decision. We would support a candidate capable of turning the page on Washington’s toxic culture—and a candidate who can win,” Emily Seidel, senior adviser to Americans for Prosperity Action, said in a memo announcing the endorsement. “And last night, we concluded that analysis. That candidate is Nikki Haley.”

Then came an endorsement from Independents Moving the Needle, co-founded by New Hampshire resident and billionaire Frank Laukien of the Massachusetts-based Bruker Corporation.

“If someone can win in a landslide, It’s Nikki,” Mr. Laukien told New Hampshire television station WMUR. “She has by far the best shot to catch Donald Trump and become the Republican candidate.”

According to the New Hampshire Secretary of State’s office, almost 40 percent of registered voters in the state consider themselves Independents.

Under “Why Nikki” on its webpage, Independents Moving the Needle lists her ability to fix inflation, strengthen ties with foreign allies, secure the border, and limit government as among the key reasons for its support of her.

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