With the 2024 presidential primary season nearly upon us, we’re seeing some curious changes in polling. And most of that change belongs to former South Carolina governor and UN ambassador Nikki Haley.
As you likely know, former President Donald Trump still reigns supreme when it comes to all polling and donation data on the upcoming election. And that is unlikely to change anytime soon.
According to most polls, he has around 59 percent of the Republican vote thus far. In contrast, his closest competitor, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, comes in with a rather measly 13 percent. So yeah, I think it’s safe to say that Trump is going to remain the leader of the GOP unless something rather drastic happens.
But as I mentioned, there are some changes among the polling numbers of a few other presidential contestants – most of which come from Nikki Haley.
Haley, like most other 2024 prospectives, began the race immediately at the bottom, with most polling below five percentage points even up until today. However, Haley has seen a slow but gradual climb.
As of October 9, when this particular Fox News poll ended, Haley has officially hit double digits. And that’s quite a change from last month. Now at 10 percent, in September, she had only 5 percent of the vote, with political upstart Vivek Ramaswamy ahead of her by about 6 points.
But now, she’s ahead of Ramaswamy, as he fell four percentage points, from 11 to seven percent in the same month.
So what’s going on? Why is Haley suddenly surging ahead all of a sudden? And what does it mean for the GOP primaries beginning in January?
Well, part of her sudden gain in the polls undoubtedly has to do with her two performances in the GOP primary debates. As the only female, she has held her own nicely and proved herself competent on a variety of issues.
She’s even been able to mostly take advantage of a rather derisive nickname (birdbrain) given to her following the second debate by Donald Trump.
But she’s also gaining a bit of notoriety over the whole Israel/Palestine conflict.
Like most of her party, she is an absolute supporter of Israel. At this point, she’d be pretty much crazy to admit otherwise.
However, unlike a growing number of her opposition to the White House, she also supports letting refugees from Gaza into the United States.
Both Trump and DeSantis, the only two ahead of her in the polls now, have been quite clear that no refugees from “Palestine” should be allowed in.
For Trump, doing so would threaten national security, as those from the area are not necessarily known for peace or a love of Israel. He said as much during an Iowa campaign event on Monday, according to NBC.
He also vowed to expand the travel bans he put in place while president, which already includes Gaza, as those are “very dangerous places.”
DeSantis is sure that allowing refugees from that area would also be disastrous to national security, noting that most in the area, while not raised to be terrorists, are taught to be antisemites. “None of them believe in Israel’s right to exist.” And naturally, that’s problematic.
So far, Haley is the only candidate who seems to oppose these views.
For Haley, the issue is more complicated than throwing a one-size-fits-all solution. Instead, she’d rather see the US find a way to separate the refugees into civilians and terrorists. Naturally, the terrorists would be banned, and the civilians would be allowed into the US.
As she wrote, “There are so many of these people who want to be free from this terrorist rule. They want to be free from all of that. And America’s always been sympathetic to the fact that you can separate civilians from terrorists.”
So perhaps her views on this matter are gaining some respect or something; maybe that’s why she’s suddenly polling better.
Then again, with a whole 49 percent to go before she’s anywhere close to beating Trump, I doubt much of anything will get her the nomination.