Nikki Haley draws level with DeSantis, Quinnipiac poll finds

by | Dec 20, 2023

  • Nikki Haley has tied with Ron DeSantis for second place in the Republican primary, each with 11 percent support, according to a Quinnipiac University poll. Donald Trump leads with 67 percent.
  • Half of the Republican voters are willing to reconsider their choice, indicating uncertainty in the race. DeSantis remains active in Iowa, suggesting his campaign sees potential in shifting voter preferences.
  • Other polls show mixed results: DeSantis is ahead of Haley in Iowa but trails her in New Hampshire, while Trump consistently leads in both states.

Former U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley has drawn level with Gov. Ron DeSantis for second place in the Republican primary race, according to the latest Quinnipiac University poll released on Wednesday.

The poll shows that former President Donald Trump maintains a strong lead with 67 percent support, followed by Haley and DeSantis, who each accrued 11 percent support among Republican voters.

Wednesday’s findings mark a steep downturn in support for DeSantis compared to February when he held a comfortable second-place position with 36 percent support.

“DeSantis continues his yearlong slide. Haley gains momentum. The battle for second place heats up, but it’s unlikely it will send a holiday chill through MAGA world,” said Quinnipiac University Polling Analyst Tim Malloy.

The poll also indicates a significant degree of uncertainty among Republican voters, with half of the respondents stating they would be willing to change their preferred candidate as the primaries approach. The fluidity among voters suggests that DeSantis’ current support base may not be entirely solidified and could shift as the primary season progresses, especially as candidates drop out of the race.

DeSantis’ campaign appears to believe that the recognized dynamism still gives the governor a reasonable opportunity to gain ground on Trump, as evident by his full-court press in Iowa, a state DeSantis visited all 99 counties in.

“Winning an Iowa caucus requires a strong combination of outworking and out-organizing the competition and that’s been the Ron DeSantis model,” DeSantis campaign spokesperson Andrew Romeo told NBC News earlier this month.

Trump and Haley’s proliferating momentum could throw water on that theory, however, as both candidates notched their highest rates of support to date.

“This is both Trump’s and Haley’s highest levels of support since the Quinnipiac University Poll started national surveys on the 2024 GOP presidential primary race in February 2023 and this is DeSantis’ lowest score of the year,” a poll statement reads.

CBS News poll conducted this week among likely Iowa voters pegged DeSantis in second place, with 22 percent of the share of support and nine points ahead of Haley. Trump, like the Quinnipiac poll, maintained a domineering lead with 58 percent.

The same poll surveyed likely New Hampshire voters, another key primary state, and found DeSantis trailing Haley by 18 points with 11 percent. Haley, meanwhile, drew 29 percent support, while Trump led all candidates with 44 percent.


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