Is Nikki Haley really surging?: While there was no consensus winner of the first presidential debate, a Trumpworld memo says that the former U.N. ambassador is “surging” in the race
Here Comes Nikki Haley?
The first Republican presidential debate took place last Wednesday, and the night ended without any consensus on who had “won.”
Now, a memo from a pollster associated with Donald Trump says one candidate, Nikki Haley, is “surging” following the debate, even as another candidate, Vivek Ramaswamy, is “seen as” the debate’s actual winner.
According to Axios, which published the memo, Trump pollster Tony Fabrizio tells Trump donors that Haley “has surged” since the debate, especially in the early caucus state of Iowa. Fabrizio has also concluded that Haley, Ramaswamy, and Ron DeSantis are “essentially tied” in New Hampshire.
He has concluded, however, that all of those candidates are far behind Trump. Fabrizio, who worked on Trump’s two previous presidential campaigns, is polling on behalf of the Super PAC MAGA Inc.
“In short, the data in both states shows that former President Trump still dominates BOTH contests, while DeSantis has flatlined, Haley has surged, and Ramaswamy is seen as last week’s debate winner,” Fabrizio’s memo says. He added that neither Trump nor DeSantis has seen much change in their numbers since the debate.
“The commitment of President Trump’s vote in either state remains rock-solid. The commitment of DeSantis’ and Haley’s vote pales by comparison. Those looking to peel votes from President Trump face an extreme uphill battle, while DeSantis and Haley are clearly far easier to peel votes away from,” the memo added. “DeSantis’ precipitous polling decline over the past several months underscores this finding and is a testament to the fungibility of his vote.”
Trump, on Truth Social this week, shared a rumor that DeSantis would soon drop out of the presidential race and run for the Senate instead, although the Florida governor denied that.
Per Fabrizio’s numbers, as cited by Axios, Trump leads in New Hampshire with 48 percent support, while DeSantis has 11 percent, Haley and Ramaswamy each have 9 percent and Chris Christie has 5 percent. In Iowa, per the poll, Trump leads with 44 percent, followed by DeSantis with 18 percent, Haley with 10 percent, and Ramaswamy and Scott each with 7 percent.
The pollster also showed polling demonstrating that Ramaswamy is seen by GOP voters as the winner of the first debate.
“An overwhelming majority say they at least saw or heard something about last week’s debate with roughly half of voters in both states saying they watched at least part of it live. And despite what some in the media have been peddling about who won the debate, voters in both states chose Ramaswamy as the winner,” the memo said. “Haley and DeSantis, who were tied for 2nd place, trailed Ramaswamy by double digits.”
Axios added that a DeSantis-associated polling firm released an internal poll this week that also saw Haley improving her standing in Iowa.
In the Morning Consult tracking poll released Tuesday, Haley was also seen improving her standing following the first debate, yet remaining far behind her opponents. Morning Consult has Haley with 5 percent support, up from 3 percent in recent weeks, although that figure places Haley in fifth place, behind Trump, DeSantis, Ramaswamy, and Pence.
That poll was national, as opposed to the individual state polls from Fabrizio’s firm. But the Morning Consult poll also found that Ramaswamy had the best debate performance.
“Among Republican primary voters who watched the debate, our survey found that 72% thought Ramaswamy performed “very” or “somewhat” well — higher than the 65% who said the same of DeSantis or the 64% who said the same of Haley,” the Morning Consult release said.
In the days since the debate, Haley has returned to frequently attacking Vice President Kamala Harris, including stating in a recent Fox News interview that the Republicans’ real opponent in the presidential race is in fact, Harris. The fixation on Harris, and Haley’s reluctance to directly criticize Trump, has led to some speculation that Haley is eying the vice presidential nomination.
Author Expertise and Experience
Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Stephen has authored thousands of articles over the years that focus on politics, technology, and the economy for over a decade. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.
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