By Eli Yokley
February 22, 2023 at 5:00 am ET
Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley saw a modest boost in support and a surge in popularity among conservative voters after she launched her challenge to Donald Trump for the Republican Party’s 2024 presidential nomination, though the former president still maintains a wide lead over her and other potential candidates.
While the reaction to Haley’s campaign rollout was generally positive, she continues to poll far behind the likes of DeSantis and Trump.
Some Republicans, such as former Trump national security adviser John Bolton, have openly speculated that Haley is “really running for vice president,” suggesting her presidential campaign may be an audition for the No. 2 job. It’s a common claim about presidential candidates who begin campaigns with meager support, fueled in the latest example by Haley’s reticence to directly criticize Trump.
What is clear at this point is that Haley begins her bid more popular than Trump with the overall electorate. And though she performs worse than Trump in head-to-head matchups with Biden, she looks more competitive among an important group of voters that many Republicans want to win back: white voters with a college degree.
Eli Yokley is a senior data reporter at Morning Consult covering politics and campaigns. @eyokley