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Nikki Haley Gaining Steam
Resetting the GOP primary field ahead of the second presidential debate
The candidates vying to be the alternative to Donald Trump in the 2024 GOP presidential primary will square off tomorrow night at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California. You can watch it at at 9:00 p.m. ET on Fox Business Network and Univision.
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A month ago, I took a look at the first poll released after the last GOP debate. It showed that Ron DeSantis and Nikki Haley had the biggest gains coming out of the debate. The question then was whether these gains could be sustained moving forward.
A month later, it is clear that Nikki Haley has had the most sustained growth in numbers since that debate. In fact, when you compare Nikki Haley’s position in recent polls in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina,1 you can see that Nikki Haley has gained nearly 10% in the polls since the debate:
Here’s how that breaks down right now:
Haley’s gains have actually led to her surpassing DeSantis in New Hampshire and South Carolina. She is also in a clear third position in Iowa. You can also see the movement in the following graphs reflecting moving 12-day averages in each state (Nikki Haley’s numbers are in yellow):
Is this momentum sustainable?
Those who follow primaries are accustomed by now to candidates riding short-term waves only to come crashing back down. Looking at these polls, you can see that DeSantis has been in steady decline after nearly catching Trump in the polls back in March. Vivek Ramaswamy flashed in national polls in August but has lost steam since taking some direct hits in the August debate. Tim Scott seemed to be riding a little bit of a wave back in July and August, but he has now fallen back down into the pack after an unremarkable performance in the first debate.
Will Nikki Haley suffer the same fate? Tomorrow night’s debate performance may have a lot to say about that. Can Nikki Haley have another standout performance? Or, will some other candidate jump up and steal the momentum? At the end of the day, for anybody other than Donald Trump to have a chance to win this nomination, they will have to separate themselves from the pack quickly. Iowa votes in 111 days.
Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina are the first three states to vote in the GOP primary. I explained in a previous post why these polls are more significant than the national polls typically discussed in mass media. DeSantis Losing Ground as Scott Maintains Momentum. Specifically, for this post, I am looking at the nine surveys of these states released since September 13, which includes 4 surveys of Iowa, 3 surveys of New Hampshire, and 2 surveys of South Carolina.