Stand up for the facts!
Our only agenda is to publish the truth so you can be an informed participant in democracy.
We need your help.
I would like to contribute
HENNIKER, N.H. — A key argument former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley is making as she runs for the Republican presidential nomination is practical. She says that although polls show that a matchup between President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump would be a nail-biter, she would cruise to victory.
Haley repeated that argument Jan. 18 in a CNN town hall here at New England College. "If you look at any general election poll, Trump and Biden — even on a good day — Trump will be up by 2 points," Haley told the audience of New Hampshire voters. "I defeat Biden by 17 points in The Wall Street Journal poll."
The Wall Street Journal poll did find her ahead by that many percentage points. But Haley left out that this poll result is 6 weeks old, and that no poll since then has come close to matching that margin.
According to the FiveThirtyEight archive of presidential general election polls, there have been nine polls since The Wall Street Journal’s Dec. 4 poll.
Haley’s best showing in those nine polls was in a Jan. 12 YouGov-CBS News poll, which found her leading Biden by 8 points. (Trump and Biden were even in that poll.)
In three other polls, Haley led Biden by smaller margins: 6 points, 5 points and 4 points.
But in four others, Biden was ahead, between 2 points and 5 points. And in the remaining poll, Haley and Biden were deadlocked.
Haley didn’t note that in many of the Haley-Biden head-to-head matchups, a lot of voters were undecided or declined to answer. In a majority of the nine polls, 18% to 26% of voters said they were not able to choose between Haley and Biden.
This is not necessarily surprising; unlike Trump, who served as president for four years and has an enormous media profile, Haley is still relatively unknown among the broad swath of voters who do not follow politics closely.
However, the large number of undecided voters means that any edge Haley has now may shift as those undecided voters learn more about her and, if she gains the nomination, begin to weigh a Biden-Haley choice.
Haley at the CNN town hall also said: "Seventy percent of Americans have said they don't want a rematch between Trump and Biden." (Haley said something similar at a rally the night before in Rochester, New Hampshire)
The recent poll results aren’t quite that high, but the electorate seems to be wary of a 2020 Trump-Biden rematch.
An Associated Press/NORC poll released in early December found more than 50% of Americans feeling somewhat or very dissatisfied with a Trump-Biden matchup. An Economist/YouGov poll released a few days later found a similar share of voters opposing a Biden and Trump 2024 run.
Nikki Haley, remarks at a CNN town hall in Henniker, N.H., Jan. 18, 2024
FiveThirtyEight.com, archive of presidential general election polls, accessed Jan. 18, 2024
Associated Press/NORC poll, December 2023
Economist/YouGov poll, December 2023
USA Today, "Voters don't want a Trump-Biden rematch in 2024. So how come they are still the frontrunners?" Jan. 13, 2024