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Haley Overtakes DeSantis In Latest Polling Average

Chris Agee
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While former President Donald Trump maintains a massive lead over his 2024 Republican primary rivals, there is nevertheless a battle for second place playing out between Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley.

Although DeSantis, who sailed to re-election in the Sunshine State in 2022, was widely considered the most logical alternative to Trump when he entered the White House race last year, he has failed to gain traction with the GOP on a national level. Over the past several months, Haley’s fortunes have improved somewhat as a number of establishment groups and big-money anti-Trump donors have put their support behind her campaign.

These shifts have led to a close competition between the two candidates as the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses draw near. In the most recent RealClearPolitics polling averages, Haley’s momentum has translated into a very narrow lead over DeSantis, who was relegated to third place.

Of course, their share of the polls — 11% and 10.9%, respectively — is a far cry from the nearly 63% of respondents who expressed support for Trump. 

Nevertheless, both Haley and DeSantis are betting big on strong performances in early voting states as a long-shot strategy to snatch the nomination away from Trump. DeSantis believes he has a good shot in Iowa after receiving some key endorsements and traveling to each of the state’s 99 counties.

At a New Year’s Eve event in Des Moines, the governor asked attendees: “Are you ready to work hard over these next two weeks and win the Iowa caucuses?”

For her part, Haley is focused on the next state to vote, New Hampshire, where she has secured the endorsement of Gov. Chris Sununu and is polling in second place, less than 20 points behind Trump on average. If she performs well in that primary, it could propel her to another big night in the next state on the list, her home state of South Carolina.


DeSantis and Haley will square off at the center of the stage on Wednesday for the fifth GOP presidential primary debate, which will be held in Iowa just five days before the caucuses.