Washington, Sep 30 (IANS) Nikki Haley, the Indian-American former Governor of South Carolina, is the best Republican candidate to beat US President Joe Biden for the White House, especially among independent voters, a new poll has found.
Fresh out of the second Republican debate this week, Haley led the sitting president by two points — 40 per cent to 38 per cent in the latest poll by JL Partners for the Daily Mail, which surveyed 1,000 likely voters from September 15 to 20.
Biden was a point behind former President Donald Trump, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and South Carolina Senator Tim Scott, but stayed ahead of Indian-American entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy and former Vice President Mike Pence by three and eight points, respectively.
Haley’s advantage was most prominent among independent voters.
Among this group, she beat Biden by 19 points, the widest margin across the Republican pool, the Daily Mail reported.
The Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll poll released earlier this month found the former UN ambassador leading President Biden.
When asked about a hypothetical matchup between Haley and Biden in 2024, 41 per cent of respondents said they would back her, in comparison to 37 per cent who said they would support the current president.
Biden’s own campaign is reportedly worried about Haley.
In August, a senior Democratic strategist close to the team told Politico: “If they nominate Nikki Haley, we’re in trouble.”
Haley’s appeal to independents is often attributed to her more moderate policies that resonate with voters looking for an alternative to Trump, the Mail reported.
She told Fox News earlier this year: “(Democrats) know that I am the biggest threat that liberals have ever seen and they’re scared about it.”
According to the Politico newspaper, “there’s nobody else, either, running the way she’s running, attempting to walk a line that’s so vanishingly thin it might not exist”.
“She tempers tough talk on immigration with poignant pieces of her personal backstory, leaning on her identity without leaving crowds with so much as a whiff of identity politics.”
The Hill, MSNBC and The Washington Post declared Haley as winner of the second Republican debate, following which the Haley Campaign said she didn’t shy away from pointing out her opponents’ dangerous policies, including Ramaswamy’s support for TikTok, Trump’s failure to prioritise the larger Chinese threat, and DeSantis’ ban on fracking and offshore drilling.
According to the Mail, one of her most memorable moments of the night was when she took down Ramaswamy for his TikTok stance, saying: “Every time I hear you, I feel a little bit dumber for what you say.”