Mon. Apr 22nd, 2024

Nikki Haley’s home-field disadvantage? Republican voters

By 37ci3 Feb20,2024

The story of Nikki Haley’s presidential campaign so far is simple enough. In both Iowa and New Hampshire, he fared best among independents and Democrats who crossed over to the GOP contest. But that strength was outweighed by the large deficits he faced with actual Republican voters in both states, resulting in double-digit losses.

Solving Haley’s math problem won’t be so easy as the main calendar switches to Haley’s home state of South Carolina this Saturday.

Despite her favorite daughter status, the polls put her far behind Donald Trump in the state, with no sign of her making any new inroads with key Republican voters. That means Haley’s hopes for a landslide victory — presumably to retain any credibility as a candidate — will hinge on her ability to attract and secure the support of non-Republicans at unprecedented levels in a South Carolina primary.

To put his problem into perspective, look at the distribution of South Carolina’s GOP primary electorates this century (and note that the state does not register voters by party, meaning anyone can enter the GOP race, and the numbers below reflect that. In past exit polls, voters chose their partisanship how they determined their loyalty):

As you can see, the share of self-identified Republicans has changed from 60% to 80%. By comparison, self-identified Republicans made up only 50% of voters in the New Hampshire Democratic primary last month. So, barring an unexpected surge in those voters, Haley would need that number to fall to an all-time low on Saturday, which would diminish the clout of a voting bloc that seems quite hostile to her.

That would require a corresponding increase in the share of independents and Democrats who switch to support him. As the chart above shows, their overall share of South Carolina GOP primaries typically falls in the 20-30% range. One exception came in 2000, when John McCain ran against George W. Bush and relied on a coalition like Haley. But it still wasn’t enough for McCain, who lost the state to Bush by 11 points thanks to Bush’s strong support among key Republicans:

And since 2000, there has never been a greater divide between Republicans and non-Republicans in terms of candidate support:

Note that McCain is the only candidate to win South Carolina, despite placing himself second among Republicans in his 2008 nomination. But his deficit among those voters was only one point, allowing McCain to carry his strong independent support to a statewide victory.

But with the large gaps she faces among Republican voters, Haley looks more like McCain in 2000 than in 2008. And to do what McCain failed to do in 2000 and actually carry the state, Haley must somehow widen the share of non-Republicans while getting more of them. Talk about a tall order.

The dynamic was particularly dramatic in New Hampshire, where there was a two-way contest between Haley and Donald Trump. Among independents, Haley trailed Trump by 19 points. And he fared better among Democrats, who gave him 84% of the vote. But with Republicans, he wasn’t even competitive, losing them to Trump by 49 points. All this led to Trump winning 11 points in total.

Worse for Haley, nearly half of New Hampshire’s Republican primary electorate was made up of self-identified independents and Democrats — one of the largest shares (if not the largest) to be seen in any GOP contest. In other words, New Hampshire might be as good for a candidate who relies heavily on non-Republican voters as it is for Haley.

Source link

By 37ci3

Related Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *