Nikki Haley has opened up a far bigger lead than Donald Trump holds in a hypothetical 2024 matchup with the incumbent US president Nikki Haley has her makeup touched up during a break in the GOP presidential debate on Wednesday in Alabama. © Getty Images / Justin Sullivan
Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley has built a double-digit lead over US President Joe Biden in a hypothetical 2024 election matchup, quadrupling the margin held by the top-polling Republican candidate, Donald Trump, a new Wall Street Journal survey has found.
The poll, released on Friday, showed that Haley would beat Biden by a margin of 51% to 34% in the national popular vote if she were to win the Republican Party’s 2024 nomination. By comparison, former President Trump holds a 47-43 lead over the Democrat incumbent, and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is even with Biden at 45-45.
Trump is polling as far and away the leading candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, but his candidacy could be jeopardized by the fact that he faces 91 felony charges in criminal indictments filed against him in four separate jurisdictions. Haley, who served as US ambassador to the United Nations in Trump’s administration, has tried to make the case to voters that she would be the most electable Republican candidate in the 2024 general election.
“We have to face the fact that Trump is the most disliked politician in America,” Haley said in a Republican primary debate in August. “We can’t win a general election that way.”
A Politico analysis of four recent 2024 polls found that Haley would draw a large number of independent and moderate voters who disapprove of Biden’s performance as president but dislike Trump even more. And as a Fox News poll showed last month, while Biden would beat Trump by a four-point margin among women voters, Haley would have a five-point edge over the Democrat in the female vote.
The WSJ poll showed that when the general election field is expanded to include third-party and independent candidates – as it will be in real life – Trump’s lead over Biden widens to six percentage points, at 37% to 31%. Just 23% of survey respondents said Biden’s policies as president have helped them, while 53% said he has hurt them.
Seven polls tracked by RealClear Politics show that Trump leads the rest of the Republican primary field by an average of nearly 48 percentage points. His voter support in the polls averages more than 60%, while DeSantis is at 12.7% and Haley is at 12.4%.
Vivek Ramaswamy, a billionaire entrepreneur who is polling at 5%, accused Haley of being corrupt at the final Republican primary debate on Wednesday. He said she had been enriched by US defense contractors since leaving the Trump administration in 2018 and would “send your kids to die so she can buy a bigger house.”
Haley has positioned herself as the most hawkish Republican candidate, calling for Washington to instill fear in its geopolitical enemies by transforming the US Department of Defense into the “Department of Offense.” She has called for strong US military aid to both Ukraine and Israel, saying Washington’s goal should be to “eliminate Hamas, not weaken them.”
Haley has condemned China as the “strongest and most disciplined enemy” ever faced by the US. She has vowed to ban TikTok, the Chinese-owned social media platform that she has blamed for rising anti-Semitism in the US. Last month, she said all social media users should be verified by name on social media.