According to a recent CBS News poll, South Carolina Republicans overwhelmingly favor Trump over Haley.

“2024 South Carolina Republican Primary: Trump Holds Strong Advantage Over Haley”

In the upcoming 2024 South Carolina Republican primary, it seems that not all politics is local. While most voters in the state have positive memories of Nikki Haley’s time as governor, her home-state advantage may not be enough to sway voters who are thinking nationally about the party’s nomination. This gives Donald Trump a significant edge, as he continues to hold a strong lead among Republicans nationwide.

One factor contributing to Trump’s advantage is the fact that nearly half of the party’s voters in South Carolina identify as “MAGA,” similar to the national trend. These voters do not see Haley as part of the movement, making it difficult for her to gain their support. Additionally, the majority of Trump’s supporters have already made up their minds and are not open to changing their vote in the coming weeks. This leaves Haley struggling to make her case on issues such as electability and chaos.

Furthermore, Trump’s approval rating for his time as president is significantly higher than Haley’s approval rating as governor, further diminishing any potential home-state advantage for her. Trump also outperforms Haley on key qualities such as being a fighter for the people, preparedness, and strong leadership. While Haley may have an edge in likability, many of her campaign arguments are not resonating with Trump’s supporters.

Despite Haley’s attempts to differentiate herself from Trump, most voters do not see his legal battles as a reason to consider her as an alternative. In fact, more voters believe Trump is fit to serve as president even if convicted of a charge, and do not see critiques of his mental fitness as fair. Additionally, voters believe Trump has a better chance of beating Joe Biden in the general election, and his policy approaches are seen as more likely to deliver results. This is especially true when it comes to issues such as border security and limiting overseas military involvement.

The evangelical composition of the South Carolina electorate also works in Trump’s favor, as he easily wins their support. This is evident in their stance on issues such as abortion, where more voters believe Trump would support a national ban compared to Haley.

Overall, this primary does not seem to be driven by views of who is closer to the party “establishment” or who is taking it on, despite some campaign rhetoric on these themes. Trump’s strong support among Republicans in South Carolina, coupled with his advantages on key issues and qualities, make it difficult for Haley to gain traction in the race. As the primary approaches, it seems that Trump’s hold on the state remains firm.  

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