Haley Overtakes DeSantis In RealClearPolitics Poll Average
Former U.N. Ambassador and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley overtook Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in the latest RealClearPolitics composite average of the Republican presidential primary polls.
DeSantis’ fall is even more dramatic considering many pundits put him in a solid number two position early in the race. Former President Donald Trump was always the favorite, but DeSantis was clearly seen as his leading party challenger for 2024.
But that idea is fading into history. Strong performances in Republican debates that began in August created a surge in momentum for Haley, who often clashed directly with DeSantis.
The two traded barbs over China policy, the Israel-Hamas war and their positions on mutilative transgender surgeries on minors.
After months of polling in single digits, Haley broke through the 10% barrier on Nov. 18. Her 10.4% showing still trailed DeSantis’ 14.1% and paled to Trump’s 59.3%, but it was progress.
After calling rival Vivek Ramaswamy “scum” in the third GOP showdown, Haley last week in Tuscaloosa once again engaged in a dustup with DeSantis. She consistently hammered the Florida governor for “lying” because his support was slipping.
And it was slipping. DeSantis in the latest RealClearPolitics average tallied only 10.9%. That put him in third place, far behind Trump’s 62.7% but also trailing Haley’s 11%.
DeSantis appears to be pinning his hopes on an upset victory in Iowa, in part due to his endorsement by popular Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds. That would at least temporarily reestablish his claim to be Trump’s chief rival and an electable alternative in 2024.
But Haley’s surge may throw cold water on those aspirations.
Both assented to a CNN debate in Iowa on Jan. 10. That event is perched a mere five days away from the Hawkeye State’s caucuses that kick off the national nominating process.
Neither had the opportunity to share the stage with the frontrunning Trump. For obvious reasons, the 45th president has foregone the debate schedule and largely ignored his rivals.
Instead of appearing in the CNN debate next week, Trump will participate in a Fox News town hall to be held at the same time.