Following DeSantis’s exit, Haley relies on New Hampshire’s high proportion of independent voters
Donald Trump aims to secure the Republican presidential nomination after Florida governor Ron DeSantis’s withdrawal less than 48 hours before the New Hampshire primary.
According to CNN, if he wins the Granite State or Nikki Haley finishes second, the timeline for his nomination could be significantly accelerated, preparing him to face President Joe Biden in November.
Last week, Trump won Iowa, with Haley trailing in third.
No candidate has ever failed to claim the Republican crown after taking the two opening states, making New Hampshire a make-or-break for Haley, Trump’s former United Nations ambassador, who trails her former boss in polling for her strongest state.
A CNN-University of New Hampshire poll released Sunday showed that 50% of likely GOP primary voters support Trump, while 39% support Haley.
Haley is supported by 58% of registered undeclared voters, while Trump has 67% of registered Republicans. Meanwhile, DeSantis, who ended his presidential campaign on Sunday, received only 6% of New Hampshire GOP voters, below the 10% minimum required to win delegates.
Following DeSantis’s exit, Haley is relying on New Hampshire’s high proportion of independents to mount her “last stand” against Trump.
What do the voters have to say?
If Haley outperforms Trump on Tuesday, however, that could see her regain the elusive buzz as a genuine threat to the ex-president heading into her home state of South Carolina in late February.
“I think it would be great for us to have Nikki Haley as president,” Madison Gillis, an 18-year-old first-time voter and a Republican, told AFP at a diner in Manchester. “I think she’s amazing. I love what she stands for. I think she has a shot here in New Hampshire.”
Danielle Brown voted for John McCain in the 2,000 New Hampshire Republican primary and for Barack Obama in the Democratic primary eight years later.
She intends to back Haley on Tuesday to send a clear message to both parties.
“We need to have some new ideas and a new, younger generation coming in,” Brown, an undeclared voter, said as she clutched a Haley 2024 yard sign freshly autographed by the candidate. “Haley is energised. I think she can do a lot for our country.”
Haley’s campaign may gain momentum and donor money if she wins in New Hampshire, which could be crucial for South Carolina on February 24 and the Super Tuesday states voting on March 5.
However, a loss could accelerate the Republican Party’s shift towards Trump.