While former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley continues to make the argument that former President Donald Trump can’t beat President Joe Biden in a general election, polling largely suggests otherwise.
During a Tuesday interview with Salem Radio Network’s Hugh Hewitt, Haley repeated her often used argument that she’d be able to beat Biden in the general by a large margin while the former president would struggle to win. However, Trump has already beaten Biden in over 100 polls this cycle, and has a larger lead over the president in the RealClearPolitics (RCP) average than Haley does.
“You can’t make an argument about electability against the guy who’s already won this thing that you’re contesting,” Mike McKenna, a Republican consultant and president of MWR Strategies, told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “He has to be presumed to be electable because he’s already been elected to the job once, right? And there’s no survey data that indicates that Gov. Haley is any more electable than the president. And in fact, all the survey data suggests he’s probably more electable than her.”
Trump currently has a 3.9-point lead over Biden in the RCP average compared to the former ambassador’s 1.2 points. The former president also notched his largest margin against Biden on Friday at 4.3 points.
Haley has only led Biden in a total of 15 polls all cycle, according to the RCP’s compilation. However, far fewer surveys have been conducted between herself and the president for a head-to-head matchup.
“The first thing we have to understand is Trump cannot beat Biden in an election. That’s a fact. We know that,” Haley told Hewitt. “Look at Iowa. Look at New Hampshire. He doesn’t win independents. No one can win a general election if you don’t have independents. He doesn’t win suburban women. He has lost the Republicans who don’t like his style. Not only that, 75% of Americans say they don’t want a rematch between Biden and Trump.”
The former president won the Iowa caucus with 51% support on Jan. 15, while Haley came in third at 19.1%. Trump proceeded to secure New Hampshire’s primary the following week, beating Haley 54.3% to 43.2%.
In the Granite State, Trump overwhelmingly secured the support from Republicans and conservatives, and also won over demographics that are crucial in a general election — suburban women, minorities and youth voters.
The former ambassador frequently touts her 17-point lead over Biden on the campaign trail, but she has only secured this margin once — in a Wall Street Journal poll conducted from Nov. 29 to Dec. 4.
“You look at all those general election polls, he does not beat Biden. You look at those same general election polls I’m in, I defeat Biden by up to 17 points. Do you know what that means? That’s not just the presidency, that’s the House, that’s the Senate, that’s governorships,” Haley told Hewitt.
McKenna called the WSJ poll a “ridiculous outlier.” Haley hasn’t seen a double-digit lead against Biden since, according to the RCP’s survey compilation.
“It’s Haley’s job to make the very unlikely seem possible,” Mark Weaver, veteran Republican strategist, told the DCNF. “She has to keep a straight face while doing it, which is the hard part.”
Haley received three other double-digit margins against Biden prior to the WSJ survey, and has since led by anywhere from 1 to 8 points, according to the RCP’s compilation. The most recent survey, conducted by Emerson College and released Tuesday, found both Haley and Trump leading Biden by 1 point.
“Nikki Haley trounces Joe Biden in the vast majority of general election polls while Donald Trump barely squeaks by,” AnnMarie Graham-Barnes, spokesperson for the Haley campaign, told the DCNF in a statement. “That’s why Joe Biden is so eager to declare Trump the nominee and why so many Democrats say they’re terrified of running against Nikki Haley. Donald Trump is Joe Biden’s best shot at winning reelection.”
Out of the 29 surveys that have polled a Haley-Biden matchup, the president has led in 12 polls, according to the RCP’s compilation. Haley and Biden have been tied in two.
Trump is also leading Biden by several points in crucial battleground states he won in 2016 but lost in 2020, including Arizona, Georgia and Michigan. The former president is also ahead in Nevada and North Carolina, is tied with Biden in Wisconsin and is behind by only 0.6 points in Pennsylvania.
“Nikki Haley’s argument that she is ‘more electable’ in a general election is FALSE,” Karoline Leavitt, national spokeswoman for the Trump campaign, wrote on X Thursday. “President Trump is beating Joe Biden in far more polls, winning Independents by double digits, and trusted most on the top issues – economy and immigration.”
Mary Lou Masters on January 30, 2024