Haley’s 2024 Republican Primary Support Doubles Following Campaign Launch

6% of potential GOP primary voters would back Haley if the election were held today, up from 3% before she announced her campaign
February 22, 2023 at 5:00 am UTC

Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley saw a modest boost in support and a surge in popularity among conservative voters after she launched her challenge to Donald Trump for the Republican Party’s 2024 presidential nomination, though the former president still maintains a wide lead over her and other potential candidates.

Haley Sees Modest Bump After Feb. 14 Campaign Launch

Share of potential GOP primary voters who would vote for the following if the 2024 Republican primary were held today:
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Data points reflect three-day moving averages of at least 2,476 potential Republican primary voters, with unweighted margins of error of +/-1 to 2 percentage points.

Haley’s announcement gave her a boost among Republican primary voters

  • According to the latest 2024 GOP Primary Tracker data, 6% of potential Republican primary voters would back Haley if the primary or caucus were held in their state today — double the level of support she held in a survey conducted before her Feb. 14 campaign announcement. Her 6% is far short of Trump’s 50% backing and the 30% who support Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. (The potential candidate list in the latest survey tracking does not include Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, who announced last week he’ll seek re-election in the Lone Star State.)
  • Haley has seen a big boost in popularity since launching her bid. The latest survey tracking shows the share of potential Republican primary voters with favorable views of the former governor has increased from 45% to 62%, placing her behind only Trump and DeSantis, who is expected to launch a presidential bid this spring.
  • The share of potential GOP primary voters who said they heard something positive about Haley over the previous week reached its highest point ever (47%), according to surveys conducted since November.

Haley’s initial challenges and weaknesses

While the reaction to Haley’s campaign rollout was generally positive, she continues to poll far behind the likes of DeSantis and Trump.

Some Republicans, such as former Trump national security adviser John Bolton, have openly speculated that Haley is “really running for vice president,” suggesting her presidential campaign may be an audition for the No. 2 job. It’s a common claim about presidential candidates who begin campaigns with meager support, fueled in the latest example by Haley’s reticence to directly criticize Trump.

What is clear at this point is that Haley begins her bid more popular than Trump with the overall electorate. And though she performs worse than Trump in head-to-head matchups with Biden, she looks more competitive among an important group of voters that many Republicans want to win back: white voters with a college degree.

Haley Performs Better Than Trump Against Biden With College-Educated Whites

Share of voters who said they would vote for the following if the 2024 presidential election were held today:
Bar chart of whom voters would vote for if the 2024 GOP presidential primary were held today, showing former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley performs better than former President Donald Trump against President Joe Biden with college-educated white voters.
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Surveys conducted Feb. 16-19, 2023, among representative samples of more than 2,000 registered voters each, with unweighted margins of error of +/-1 to 2 percentage points.

How Haley fares against Biden

  • Haley trails Biden, 35% to 41%, in a hypothetical general-election matchup, but much of that may be due to a lack of name recognition given Biden’s similar levels of support in surveys against both Trump and DeSantis.
  • Haley performs better than Trump among college-educated white voters, a key bloc that has deserted the GOP in recent years. While Trump trails Biden among these voters by 12 percentage points, Haley trails by 4 points — similar to DeSantis’ standing with the group. 
  • Over a third of the overall electorate is still unaware of Haley, but voters are more likely to have a favorable impression of her (36%) than an unfavorable one (29%). 
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Eli Yokley
U.S. Politics Analyst

Eli Yokley is Morning Consult’s U.S. politics analyst. Eli joined Morning Consult in 2016 from Roll Call, where he reported on House and Senate campaigns after five years of covering state-level politics in the Show Me State while studying at the University of Missouri in Columbia, including contributions to The New York Times, Politico and The Daily Beast. Follow him on Twitter @eyokley. Interested in connecting with Eli to discuss his analysis or for a media engagement or speaking opportunity? Email [email protected].

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