Nikki Haley Moves Past Ron DeSantis In National Polling 12 Days Before First Primary Voting

nikki haley ron desantis poll
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At one time, Ron DeSantis was the top Republican challenger to admittedly faraway frontrunner Donald Trump, and regarded among Republicans as an heir apparent and the best governor in America.

But now a former South Carolina governor has surpassed the Florida governor in national polls.

The Hill reports that “GOP presidential candidate Nikki Haley has surpassed Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) in FiveThirtyEight’s (538) national polling average for the first time in the 2024 campaign.”

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Haley Tops DeSantis Now

As David Marcus noted, DeSantis had been the Number 2 candidate for the entirety of 2023. While the leaderboard usually gets shaken up after the first primary states, DeSantis looked to be as good as gold.

No longer.

The story continued: 

This marks the first time in the 2024 election that Haley has come in second in the pollster’s average — it also highlights her rise in the polls that has taken place over the last few months.

Haley, who is also the former governor of South Carolina, has been gaining momentum since August, with fuel from multiple strong primary debate performances. 

The Hill notes that “DeSantis had held second place in the GOP field throughout most of the race and at one time was closely behind former President Trump for the lead. But he has dropped over the months from above 30 percent nationally to low double-digits.”

While DeSantis was once seen as a bridge between the MAGA Republican base and the GOP establishment, his poor campaign performance has seemingly opened up space for another candidate to assume that challenger role.

Haley has also been the beneficiary of GOP establishment money – formerly going to DeSantis – and even money from a Democrat billionaire who, like Haley, wants to defeat Donald Trump.

After a few debates, that candidate for the moment appears to be Haley.

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But Can Anyone Catch Up to Trump?

Unlike DeSantis, Haley is the Republican establishment’s dream if she should muster enough momentum to threaten Trump. Haley is very much in the mold of George W. Bush-Dick Cheney Republicanism which is still the preference of much of GOP leadership, despite more Republican voters now being more aligned with Trump’s ‘America First’ agenda.

A win for Nikki Haley would also be a win for the old Republican guard.

But with Donald Trump so far ahead of every other candidate at the moment, it’s hard to see that happening.

But don’t think the GOP establishment won’t try.

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is a professional writer and editor with over 15 years of experience in conservative media and Republican politics. He... More about John Hanson

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