Nikki Haley is banking on her chances of beating Joe Biden in November as she becomes Donald Trump’s final adversary for the GOP nomination.
Catch up: Haley is now going head-to-head against former President Trump after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis withdrew his bid for the Republican presidential nomination on Sunday. The former U.N. ambassador and the former U.S. president will square off in the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday.
What she’s saying: Haley asserts that she is a safer bet than Trump for the general election. Several polls have shown that the former South Carolina governor could beat President Joe Biden, including one that found her 19 points ahead. Last week, a CBS/YouGov poll showed Haley defeating Biden by eight points (53% to 45%) among likely voters.
“All the evidence says that if it’s a Trump-Biden rematch, it’s going to be another tossup election. It could go either way,” Haley said after last week’s Iowa caucus. “And then look at what happens when I go head-to-head against Biden. We win in a landslide. It’s not even close.”
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Why New Hampshire matters to Haley: A New Hampshire victory will help Haley build momentum for the rest of the primaries. The Granite State has a unique demographic that includes a large number of independent voters, whom she believes will help her beat Trump.
A Marist poll released on Friday showed Biden beating Trump by seven points (52% to 45%) in a hypothetical match-up in New Hampshire. Haley, however, beat Biden by three points (47% to 44%).
Challenges: While DeSantis’ exit has left Haley the lone person to challenge Trump, he — as well as former candidates Vivek Ramaswamy and Tim Scott — has also endorsed the former president. A CNN poll out on Sunday also showed Trump with an 11-point lead over Haley (50% to 39%) in New Hampshire.
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Haley, who is Indian American, also stirred controversy last week after stating that the U.S. was “never a racist country.” She later defended her comments to CNN’s Jake Tapper, claiming that she actually experienced “plenty of racism” and that her statement was based on the Founding Fathers’ intention that “all men are created equal.”
What Trump is saying: Trump on Friday repeatedly called Haley “Nimbra” on his Truth Social page — a misspelling of her birth name, Nimrata Nikki Randhawa. He has also called her “Nimrada” and “birdbrain” and falsely accused her of being ineligible to run for the White House.
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