What the polls say about Nikki Haley’s campaign

David MontgomerySenior data journalist
March 06, 2024, 11:02 PM GMT+0

Most Republicans support Donald Trump as the party's presidential nominee and were ready for Nikki Haley to drop out, even before she suspended her campaign Wednesday.

Haley had the support of 15% of registered voters who are Republicans or Independents who lean Republican according to the March 3 - 5 Economist / YouGov Poll, conducted before Haley withdrew. She never received more than 17% support since the Economist / YouGov began polling the Republican primary in June 2023. Trump's support never fell below 48% and was at 76% in the latest poll.

Overall, 63% of Republicans and Republican-leaning Independents were ready for Haley to leave the race, even before she suspended her campaign. While Americans as a whole were split on whether Haley should drop out, this was driven by the 65% of Democratic-leaning Americans who were rooting her on.

Most of these Democrats cheering Haley on weren't genuine Haley supporters. Only 32% of Democratic-leaning Americans who wanted Haley to stay in the race have a very or somewhat favorable opinion of her, while 60% have an unfavorable opinion.

Among Americans who lean Republican, more had an unfavorable opinion of Haley than a favorable one. Haley was most popular among Republican-leaning Americans who say their ideology is moderate, liberal, or very liberal, and among those who say they're not a "MAGA Republican." She was very unpopular among those who say they're very conservative and among MAGA Republicans.

This dislike for Haley among many of Trump's strongest supporters carried over into a hypothetical general election between Haley and President Joe Biden. While Biden trailed Trump by 44% to 42% in the most recent Economist / YouGov Poll, Biden led Haley by 37% to 34%.

That's because 40% of registered voters who say they'd vote for Trump over Biden do not say they would vote for Haley in a Biden-Haley matchup — either they would not vote at all, they would vote for Biden or a third-party candidate, or they aren't sure how they would vote. Only 60% of Trump voters say they would vote for Haley. In contrast, in the hypothetical matchup against Haley, Biden had the support of 85% of registered voters who would back him against Trump.

Kathy Frankovic and Carl Bialik contributed to this article

See the toplines and crosstabs from the Economist/YouGov poll conducted on March 3 - 5, 2024 among 1,556 U.S. adult citizens.

Methodology: Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel using sample matching. A random sample (stratified by gender, age, race, education, geographic region, and voter registration) was selected from the 2019 American Community Survey. The sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, education, 2020 election turnout and presidential vote, baseline party identification, and current voter registration status. Demographic weighting targets come from the 2019 American Community Survey. Baseline party identification is the respondent’s most recent answer given prior to November 1, 2022, and is weighted to the estimated distribution at that time (33% Democratic, 31% Republican). The margin of error for the overall sample is approximately 4%.

Image: Getty