Could It Be Nikki? New Poll Shows Haley Besting Biden by Larger Margin Than Any Other GOP Candidate

AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell

A spanking new national survey of registered voters out on Thursday shows embattled Joe Biden trailing each of the top three Republican presidential candidates, which is significant. Even more significant, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley bested Biden by the largest margin of the three.


While there's quite a bit to unpack in the Marquette Law School national survey, there are also fundamental election factors at play that tend to hold in all elections. We'll hit those factors along the way.

Of consequence, the survey found Haley leading Biden, 55 percent to 45 percent, with former President Donald Trump topping the inept president, 52 percent to 48 percent, and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis beating Biden with a 51 percent to 49 percent margin.

Likely Voters

I've often been amused by the amount of attention various candidates and their supporters pay to "snap polls," which are generally either online or 800-number proactive popularity surveys, as opposed to extensive, scientifically conducted surveys. Popularity surveys, if you will. Hence, one of the first criteria necessary for anyway-near-accurate poll results is that it be conducted among participants who are likely to vote.

Among likely voters, Haley's advantage over Biden raised to 12 points, 56-44. A potential Biden-DeSantis race doesn't change, while Trump drops by a point, 51 percent to Biden's 49 percent. 

These results include undecided likely voters.

Crossover Voters

Hold onto your party's registered voters. So might read the fundamental objective of any election. 

While all three potential Republican candidates blistered Biden in the survey, Haley and DeSantis came out on top. The results found Biden holding onto 85 percent of potential Democrat voters, with Haley and DeSantis at 96 percent of Republicans, and Trump holding 92 percent.  


Net Favorability

In response to the question, "Do you have a favorable or an unfavorable opinion of the following people or haven’t you heard enough yet to have an opinion?" the survey found that only Haley was viewed more favorably than unfavorably, with a net favorable rating of +7. Trump and Trump and Biden at -19. However, it was noted in the poll that a number of voters said they weren't as familiar with Haley as with the other candidates and hadn't had time to formulate an opinion yet.

Overall Favorability

For Biden and Trump, 20 percent are unfavorable to both candidates. While more respondents have seen Biden favorably and Trump unfavorably in 10 of the last 13 polls, slightly more have seen Trump favorably and Biden unfavorably in the prior two polls in September and November.

Somewhat surprisingly, among GOP voters not favorable to Trump, Haley showed a commanding lead, capturing 37 percent of those voters, with 34 percent remaining undecided and just 10 percent favoring DeSantis.

Republican primary preferences differ sharply depending on the voters’ view of Trump. Unsurprisingly, Trump wins a large majority of voters who have a favorable view of him. Among those unfavorable to Trump, Haley is now the substantial leader with 37% support to DeSantis’ 10%, while 34% of these Republicans unfavorable to Trump remain undecided. Table 19 shows the full results.

So what does this all mean? Dunno — polls are snapshots in time. 

But what I do know is winning a party's primary and losing in the general election results in second place every time. I also know there's a whole lot of water yet to flow under the proverbial bridge between now and November 5, 2024. In other words, stuff happens.


The extensive survey was conducted Nov. 2-7, 2023, among 856 registered voters nationwide, with a margin of error of +/-4.5 percentage points. For likely voters, the sample size was 668, with a margin of error of +/-5 percentage points.

It's noteworthy that the poll was conducted before the uproar prompted by Haley's comments regarding social media anonymity earlier this week and before the last GOP primary debate. As I reported in a November 11 article titled "Post Debate: Ramaswamy Sells 'Scum' Campaign Merch, While Haley Hawks 'Heels Ammunition' Mug," the former South Carolina reduced herself to calling Vivek Ramaswamy "scum" after he called out daughter's use of TikTok.

While I join those who are rightly suspicious of TikTok's connection with Beijing, I prefer Republican candidates for president who leave to name-calling to the left.


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