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Haley fights the odds in South Carolina primary

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Republican primary voters will cast their vote Saturday for their pick for president, the latest faceoff between former President Donald Trump and former Ambassador Nikki Haley in the presidential primary.

Haley faces a steep, uphill climb in her effort to take on Trump, who holds a hefty lead over her in South Carolina and other states, according to multiple polls.

“We won’t survive 4 more years of Trump’s chaos,” Haley wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter, on Friday ahead of the vote.

Real Clear Politics’ polling aggregation has Trump leading Haley in South Carolina roughly 62% to 37%.

Nationally, Trump polls even better, besting Haley with roughly 75% support to her 17%.

Trump has touted his lead in South Carolina, the state where Haley once served as governor.

“Nikki is bad news, a total phony,” Trump wrote on TruthSocial Friday.

Haley has repeatedly argued that she is more electable than Trump. On Friday, she pointed to a Marquette University poll which shows Trump beating Biden by about 2 points nationally among registered voters and by 4 points among likely voters.

The same poll shows Haley performing much better.

“Nikki Haley, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and former governor of South Carolina, holds a larger lead over Biden than does Trump, with 58% of registered voters supporting her and 42% supporting Biden,” the group said. “Haley holds Republican support against Biden as well as Trump does, while attracting a substantial cross-over vote from Democrats.”

That survey queried nearly 900 voters earlier this month with a margin of error of 4.5%.

“We can’t fix the country if Republicans don’t win,” Haley wrote on X. “The new Marquette poll shows that I beat Biden in November by 18 points. The best Donald Trump can do is a statistical tie. That’s a mandate to get our economy back on track, get our kids reading again, and secure our border.”

Real Clear Politics’ average shows roughly the same 2-point spread between Trump and Biden nationally, though Trump trounces Biden in several key battleground states, including Arizona, Nevada, and Michigan. RCP has Biden and Trump roughly tied in Georgia and Wisconsin.

Around the corner is Super Tuesday, when voters cast their presidential primary ballot in more than a dozen states, which could be a decisive blow in the Republican primary.

South Carolina’s primary is open, which means residents can vote regardless of party affiliation, though they cannot vote in this primary if they voted earlier this month in the Democratic primary, which Biden won handily.

Biden is largely unopposed in his primary, setting up a potential 2020 rematch for Trump and Biden, though Biden is coming in weaker to the race this time around.

Gallup released new polling Friday on Biden showing his approval rating has dropped to 38%. Biden faces ongoing scrutiny over allegations that he personally benefited from illicit overseas deals facilitated by his family, as well as questions about his age and cognition.

“In addition, Biden registers subpar approval ratings for his handling of five key issues facing the U.S., including a new low of 28% for immigration and readings ranging from 30% to 40% for the situation in the Middle East between Israel and Hamas, foreign affairs, the economy and the situation in Ukraine,” Gallup said.

Trump has his own challenges as well, facing nearly 100 criminal charges across several states for his handling of classified documents, his role in the Jan. 6 riots, and more.

Earlier this month, a court ruling ordered him to pay more than $350 million in a civil fraud case in New York led by Attorney General Letita James, not her first time to successfully go after the former president.

The financial and legal pressure are at best a distraction for Trump, and at worst enough to sideline his campaign later this year.

As for Haley, she faces weak polling and is quickly running out of time.

“Let’s choose a new generation of conservative leadership,” she said on X.

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