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Five Candidates Qualify GOP Debate as Haley Outperforms Trump in Key Poll

Donald Trump speaking to supporters at an immigration policy speech at the Phoenix Convention Center in Phoenix, Arizona. Image Credit by Gage Skidmore.

Former South Carolina governor and GOP presidential candidate Nikki Haley emerged as a strong contender in key battleground states in a recent poll conducted by The New York Times and Siena College. Haley, in the poll, outperformed former President Donald Trump in head-to-head match-ups against President Joe Biden for the 2024 election.

The survey, which involved registered voters in crucial swing states such as Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, revealed a fascinating dynamic. While Trump maintains the lead over Biden in all states except Wisconsin, Nikki Haley manages to secure victories in all six states and, in some cases, with a more significant margin than Trump.

In Arizona, Haley leads Biden by 7 points, outstripping Trump’s 5-point advantage. Michigan shows a similar trend, with Haley boasting a 10-point edge compared to Trump’s 5-point lead. Pennsylvania sees Haley leading by 10 points while Trump secures a 4-point lead. The Wisconsin match-up presents Haley with a commanding 13-point lead over Biden, while Trump narrowly trails Biden by 2 points.

However, the poll also highlighted Trump’s continued dominance, particularly in Georgia and Nevada, where he maintains substantial leads. In Georgia, Trump leads Biden by 6 points, while Haley enjoys a 3-point lead over the current president. In Nevada, Trump is up by 11 points, and Haley secures a 6-point lead.

These poll results are likely to energize Haley’s campaign, which has been gaining momentum in recent months. While she’s emerging as a formidable challenger, Trump still holds a significant lead in most national polls. Haley is increasingly seen as a likely No. 2 candidate after Trump, edging close to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis in popularity.

Haley’s general election appeal contrasts with the dynamics of the GOP primary, where winning the support of Trump’s base, many of whom favor a more isolationist foreign policy, becomes crucial. On the campaign trail, Haley has embraced her hawkish foreign policy positions, advocating for robust support for Ukraine and Israel.

The poll was conducted via cell and landline phones from October 22 through November 3, 2023, and included battleground states with margins of error ranging from 4.4 to 4.8 percentage points. 

When is the Next GOP Debate?

When NBC News broadcasts the third Republican debate from Miami on Wednesday, it will be a slimmed-down field, as the Republican National Committee tightened the criteria for participation.

Among other criteria, candidates had to sign a loyalty pledge to support the eventual nominee, which excluded frontrunner Donald Trump from participating. Trump, however, has indicated that he plans to skip all of the debates and will hold a rally in south Florida during the debate time.

With Trump’s significant lead in the polls, his decision to skip the debates is unlikely to change. Recent polls show him with over 40 percentage points more support than his closest rival, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

NBC News is hosting the debate from the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County, set to air from 8-10 p.m. ET on the network and will also be available for streaming on NBC News Now. Other partners for this event include Salem Radio Network, the Republican Jewish Coalition, and Rumble. The moderators for the debate will be NBC News’ Lester Holt and Kirsten Welker, along with Salem’s Hugh Hewitt.

Adam Bruton, a Senior Researcher at the London-based intelligence firm Winter Circle Ltd, told 19FortyFive: “Haley is probably the strongest on the field, in many ways she ticks all the boxes, she’s got executive experience and her response to the Gaza-Israel war shows that. She is also young compared to other candidates. 

“She’s a woman and of a diverse background, which is useful ammo for the GOP to swing back at Biden if he campaigned on those issues. She is relatively socially moderate for a modern Republican.”

Georgia Gilholy is a journalist based in the United Kingdom who has been published in Newsweek, The Times of Israel, and the Spectator. Gilholy writes about international politics, culture, and education.

Written By

Georgia Gilholy is a journalist based in the United Kingdom who has been published in Newsweek, The Times of Israel, and the Spectator. Gilholy writes about international politics, culture, and education.