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Why do polls show Haley struggling in her home state?

The latest polls show Nikki Haley trailing former President Donald Trump by 20-30 points in South Carolina.
Why do polls show Haley struggling in her home state?
Posted at 6:44 PM, Feb 23, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-23 20:45:42-05

After double-digit losses to the former president in Iowa and New Hampshire, and losing to "none of these candidates" in Nevada, Nikki Haley is committed to continuing her campaign. Next up is her home state of South Carolina on Feb 24. Her odds of winning don't look very good, but that's not slowing her down. 

"South Carolina will vote on Saturday. But on Sunday, I'll still be running for president. I'm not going anywhere," Haley said on Feb. 20. 

The latest polls show Nikki Haley trailing former President Donald Trump by 20-30 points in South Carolina. Experts say her struggle to win support in her home state isn't really about her, it's more about who she's running against.

"If she was running against another slate of candidates, I think she would be leading. But she's up against Donald Trump, and while people like her, they like him better," said Robert Oldendick, a professor of political science at the University of South Carolina.

It's been a while since the Palmetto State saw Haley on the ballot. The last time she was on the ballot statewide was when she ran for reelection as governor in 2014. 

"She won reelection in 2014 pretty handily, was very popular once she left and went to the United Nations, and really has not done anything since then that would kind of discourage people from supporting her," said Oldendick.

Rep. Ralph Norman hails from South Carolina, and he's the only sitting member of Congress to endorse Haley. He thinks the naysayers are fueling her fire. 

"Everyone calling her to get out, they're not having to campaign from dusk till dawn. They're not having to raise money. She's putting in the work. And people saying this just makes her more feisty and willing to play this thing out," said Norman.

Despite Haley's losses in the early states, she's still raking in big bucks. In January, her official campaign account raised $11.5 million and ended the month with no debt and nearly $13 million in cash on hand. 

Even if she's facing an embarrassing defeat in her home state, if she continues to raise money, she can probably keep her presidential campaign afloat. 

SEE MORE: Trump overwhelming favorite going into South Carolina primary


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