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POLITICS

Can Nikki Haley be the Republican presidential nominee? Can she go to the primaries against Trump?

Donald Trump is still the frontrunner for the Republican nomination but Haley has been rising significantly in polling in recent months.

Update:
Donald Trump is still the frontrunner for the Republican nomination but Haley has been rising significantly in polling in recent months.
BRIAN SNYDERREUTERS

For most of the Republican primary competition, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis seemed to be the only challenger to former president Donald Trump. However, in recent weeks DeSantis’ support has fallen away, slipping from 35% support to 13% as of 29 November.

In his place has stepped Nikki Haley, the only woman to have put herself forward into the initial crowded selection. As other candidates have dropped out, her standings have risen.

Haley has increased her polling support from as low as 3% in August to 10.5% as of 5 December. While still not at DeSantis’ level, the tide of support isinfluencing big donors to join her side. Indeed, the shady Koch Foundation announced their backing of the former South Carolina governor last week. They refused to support Trump in 2016 but his adminsitration was full of people funded by the Koch foundation.

With the first caucus just over a month away, this swell of support bodes well for Haley at the expense of DeSantis, but neither are anywhere close to Trump. Another GOP primary debate this week could influence voters further.

Outside of the internal polling, Haley matches up well against incumbent Democrat President Joe Biden. A Messenger/Harris poll found that a Haley-Biden contest would result in a four-point victory for Haley.

“The Haley phenomenon is driven by moderate Republicans, Independents and disaffected voters,” Harris’s Dritan Nesho said. “She beats Biden handily in a general election because of this but still has a lot of ground to make up with Republicans.”

Who is Nikki Haley?

Haley started her political journey as a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives in 2004. She won that election and was re-elected twice. During her third term, she was elected as the governor of South Carolina. This made her the first female governor of South Carolina, at 38-years old the youngest governor in the US at that time, and the second person of Indian descent to lead a state.

If she were to be elected as the President of the United States, she would become the first-ever female President of the country.