Nikki Haley is the best-placed Republican candidate to defeat President Joe Biden in next year’s election, according to a new DailyMail.com poll showing her crushing him with independent voters.
The former governor of South Carolina leads Biden by two points in a hypothetical matchup.
It’s the latest sign of a candidate soaring in the polls since her strong performance in the first Republican debate, when she took on her opponents on foreign policy, abortion and climate change.
She hopes for a repeat in the second debate on Wednesday evening.
However, former President Donald Trump remains the clear frontrunner in the Republican primaries, skipping the debate stage for the second time.
JL Partners asked 1,000 likely voters their thoughts on the 2024 election. Nikki Haley would win the general election by two points over Joe Biden if it were held today
Nikki Haley’s campaign is on the move after a strong first debate showed she would win a head-to-head matchup against Joe Biden if the election were held today
So while Trump maintains a clear hold on the Republican base, DailyMail.com/JL Partners’ new poll of 1,000 likely voters shows Haley winning over independents and college graduates, eating into Biden’s support for the general election.
According to the poll, she beats Biden by 19 points among independent voters (45 percent to 26 percent).
The only other candidate who comes close to that kind of broad appeal is Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, who beat Biden by 16 points among that group.
In contrast, Trump, known for his polarizing behavior and policies, has just a two-point lead over Biden among independents.
James Johnson, co-founder of JLP, said: “Haley trumps Biden with independent voters – by a margin of nearly 20 points, more than any other candidate.
“While her performance against Biden is hampered by relatively shallow support among her own Republican voters, she is still the best-performing candidate against Joe Biden. This could change when a real election comes around – independents may drop out if she takes a traditional Republican position, and Republican support will likely increase if she becomes the nominee.
‘But it gives her impetus to enter the debate: a point she hopes to build on with a win in our DailyMail.com post-debate poll.’
Viewers rated Haley as the fourth-best performer of eight on stage during the first debate last month, according to DailyMail.com’s post-debate poll.
But she received rave reviews from non-Republican viewers, such as New York Times writers, who judged her the winner that night.
Haley’s strong electoral numbers are due to her appeal to independent voters. She leads Biden by 19 points in this crucial group, and is also doing well with college graduates
One of her best moments came when she got into an argument and uttered a famous line by Margaret Thatcher, Britain’s first female prime minister.
‘If you want something said, ask a man. If you want something done, ask a woman,” said the only woman on stage.
The performance sparked a fundraising campaign. Her campaign says she raised at least $1 million in 72 hours, a record-breaking period for her.
That translates into growing, broad support among groups that Trump and other candidates find difficult to reach.
She does better among women and young voters in a race against Biden. And the new DailyMail.com poll shows her losing college graduate voters to the likely Democratic nominee by just one point, compared to Trump’s 17-point deficit.
However, that comes at a price. She is struggling among Republican voters compared to Trump: Although he can count on 84 percent of party support against Biden, she would win only 67 percent of the Republican vote in today’s general election.
One of Nikki Haley’s best moments came when she clashed with Ramaswamy. “You have no foreign policy experience and it shows,” she told him
Her message focuses on a Ronald Reagan-esque appeal to traditional conservatives sidelined during the Trump years. Her campaign includes a robust foreign policy, with continued support for Ukraine while cutting taxes for the middle class and reducing control of the federal government.
The 51-year-old also put the need for a new generation of leaders at the heart of her pitch. She advocates mental competency tests for politicians over the age of 75.
The result has been a string of good opinion polls and an influx of donor money.
This week, a survey by the New Hampshire Institute of Politics’ Saint Anselm College Survey Center ranked her second in the state. Trump still leads with 45 percent of likely Republican primary votes, but Haley is his closest challenger with 15 percent.