Haley Catches Up to DeSantis in Latest New Hampshire Polling

By Jerry McConway, updated on September 8, 2023

Even since the first GOP debate, the one candidate that has made the biggest upward move has been Nikki Haley.

In fact, in the most recent polling, she has pulled even with Governor Ron DeSantis.

Talking Points...

  • The Haley Surge
  • What Happened to DeSantis
  • Can Anyone beat Trump
  • My Two Cents…

The Haley Surge

Nobody is near Donald Trump right now, but the battle for second place is a real one.

Just a few months ago, the discussion was about DeSantis being in a tie with Trump, but now it is about who can lock down the second place if Trump is unable to go.

Haley got a big bump in national polling, as she was barely eligible for the first debate, but she is now a solid 4th place overall, sitting at 5.8% in the latest FiveThirtyEight average.

In the early voting states, Haley has made an even bigger jump, now tied with Ron DeSantis for second place at 10%. Trump still leads the pack with 47% support.

What Happened to DeSantis

Well, one word… Trump.

Before DeSantis had even announced, Donald Trump turned MAGA against him, calling him disloyal, which is a big no-no in the MAGA world.

Trump made DeSantis out to be some type of buffoon that never could have won Florida without Trump's help.

Trump has furthermore slammed DeSantis over his COVID response, saying that Democrat governors like Newsom and Cuomo led better responses, which is just utterly ludicrous, but MAGA is on board with the Trump attacks.

Prior to Trump unleashing on DeSantis, this was a toss-up.

In December 2022 polling, a YouGov/Economist poll had DeSantis up 48% to 40%.

In January polling, a Monmouth University poll had Trump and DeSantis both at 33%.

An OnMessage poll toward the end of January and early part of February had Trump and DeSantis at 34% among GOP voters.

That is when Trump went on the attack, and DeSantis' mistake was not declaring then and going to war against Trump.

Trump levied unanswered attacks for months against DeSantis, and it gradually took its toll.

My Two Cents…

Trump has always talked about the fact he hates how dirty politics can be, but nobody played dirtier than he did with DeSantis from January on.

Many of the attacks he levied against DeSantis were unwarranted, but DeSantis tried to take the high road, and it cost him.

DeSantis is finally firing back, but it just might be too late.

He sat on the sidelines for most of the first GOP debate, and when Nikki Haley got her openings, she fired away, and people ate it up.

Americans like fighters, which is why Trump has always been so popular, and Haley was fighting hard in that first debate.

If DeSantis has any hope of coming back in this race, he will need to do two things:

  1. He will have to take over the next debate and start spitting venom to expose the weaknesses of other candidates. He has the strongest record of anyone on that stage, and he needs to start acting like it.
  2. He has to start taking on Trump, every day, calling him out, and daring Trump to a debate. He cannot let a single statement made by Trump get any time in the news cycle without putting it down and counterpunching.

If DeSantis does not do that, his race is over.

And by the way, do not be surprised to see Trump come after Haley as a possible VP candidate, even if she lands a few jabs against Trump along the way.

Right now, there is no other female Republican that has a profile as prominent as hers, and she could be exactly what Trump would need to lure in the additional voters he will need to win a general election.

About Jerry McConway

Jerry McConway is an independent political author and investigator who lives in Dallas, Texas. He has spent years building a strong following of readers who know that he will write what he believes is true, even if it means criticizing politicians his followers support. His readers have come to expect his integrity.

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