Photo of Nikki Haley

Haley Campaign Press Release - Donald Trump Has a Big Problem

February 27, 2024

CHARLESTON, S.C. — Donald Trump has a problem, whether he wants to admit it or not: 40 percent of the Republican primary electorate wants nothing to do with him, and he is doing absolutely nothing to bring them into his increasingly shrinking tent. In fact, Trump seems to be doing everything he can to repel them.

Here's what people are saying…

Wall Street Journal: Donald Trump's Divided Republican Party
Yet Ms. Haley won nearly 40% of the vote, which as she said in remarks Saturday evening "is not some tiny group." That's especially true running against a quasi-incumbent who was endorsed by nearly every GOP official in the state. None of them want to risk getting a primary challenge if they fail to bend the knee to Mr. Trump. Yet as in New Hampshire, the size of her vote shows that millions in the party don't want Mr. Trump back in the White House.

Politico: Hidden in Trump's big South Carolina win: A not-so-small problem for him in November
With about three-quarters of the expected vote in, some 40 percent of voters rejected Trump. That number itself isn't a problem in a primary. But it includes some serious reasons for concern in a general election. Trump lost moderate and liberal voters to Haley by a wide margin, according to exit polls. And, according to AP VoteCast, a bit over 1 in 5 GOP primary voters said they would not vote for Trump in November if he was the party's nominee.

The Hill: Farah Griffin: Haley's South Carolina results should be a 'five-alarm fire' for the GOP
"Somebody who's running as virtually an incumbent — Donald Trump — getting 60 percent, and 40 percent being against him? That's not a mandate," she said. "Especially with the entire Republican party apparatus behind him, with most elected Republicans behind him."

George Will: Despite anticipation of a Trump nomination, Super Tuesday demands to be heard
In the state that has the nation's most rapidly growing population, the two places where the electorate most resembles the nation's are Charleston and Columbia. There, Haley received 62 percent and 58 percent, respectively. It is likely that a significant number of Trumpkins value the prospective satisfaction of defeating Joe Biden more than the immediate fun of being tribal together. They might yet recognize that Trump vs. Biden would be a close call, whereas Haley vs. Biden would be a landslide for the former, with down-ballot consequences that might produce Republican control of Congress.

Henry Olson: There's a number of people even in the Republican Party who do not want Donald Trump. And many of them will vote for him against Joe Biden reluctantly, and many will not. And that is something that the Trump campaign should consider, but knowing the personality of the candidate, probably won't consider.

Nate Silver: She's demonstrating that the non-Trump coalition within the GOP is a little more robust than commonly assumed.

ABC News: Final thought: If Biden was winning only 60 percent, people would be freaking out.

The Spectator's Ben Domenach: Nikki Haley winning and Trump losing Beaufort, Richland, and Charleston is a bright red klaxon for the GOP.

New York Time's Katherine Miller: In New Hampshire and in polling of South Carolina and some other states, Ms. Haley is performing about commensurate with how Pat Buchanan did in 1992 against George H.W. Bush — which as my colleague Jamelle Bouie noted last month, many people treated like an embarrassing crisis for Mr. Bush at the time. That also previewed future problems in the general election.

Fox News' Marc Thiessen: So if you think about this, this is a unique election in the sense that we have basically two incumbents. You have Joe Biden who's running for a second term and Donald Trump is running for a second term. Right. And so how did Joe Biden do in South Carolina? 96.2% percent of the vote. Donald Trump got 60% and four in 10 voters in the Republican Party said no. Even though they know that the race is pretty much over, that he's going to be the nominee, they still voted against him. That is a problem because when he says this is the most united Republican Party he's ever seen, it is not the most united Republican Party and 59% of those Haley voters say they're not voting for him.

CNN's Alice Stewart: When four in 10 people in South Carolina are looking for a choice, that sends a stark message, and that's why she is continuing to stay in this race.

Nikki Haley, Haley Campaign Press Release - Donald Trump Has a Big Problem Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

Simple Search of Our Archives