Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley has emerged nationally in a new USA TODAY/Suffolk University poll, challenging faltering Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis as the leading alternative to Donald Trump for the GOP presidential nomination. .
Support for Haley has increased to 11% of registered voters who plan to vote in the GOP primary or caucus, up from 4% in the USA TODAY/Suffolk poll conducted in June and only one percentage point below DeSantis. His 12% support was a sharp drop from his 23% support four months ago.
Trump continues to dominate the field, backed by 58%, up 10 points.
The survey A survey of 309 Republican and Republican-leaning voters, taken Tuesday through Friday by landline and cell phone, has a margin of error of plus or minus 5.6 percentage points.
The two contenders have been aiming at each other, combat publicly on Middle East policy and competing privately with appeals to major Republican donors.
Last week, Florida’s governor suggested that Haley, as president, would admit refugees from war-torn Gaza and a political action committee allied with DeSantis to the United States. purchased ads making the accusation. Haley said she did not support the idea and accused DeSantis of distorting her previous comments.
Tarek Ellaicy, 35, of Dunlap, Illinois, a Republican who was called to the poll, said he was leaning toward Haley. “She’s experienced; she’s moderate; she’s in the middle,” he said in a follow-up interview. “At the end of the day, she could unite the country.”
None of the other Republican candidates scored higher than 3% in the new poll, and all of them have lost modest ground since June. South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott and tech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy had 3%. Former Vice President Mike Pence, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum and talk show host Larry Elder were in the 1%.
In the survey, Haley performed better among men than women, and showed particular strength in the Midwest and Northeast. She garnered more support than DeSantis among college graduates and political independents. She was strongest among Republicans.