Following a dismal Super Tuesday performance, former South Carolina Governor and U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley suspended her campaign for the Republican nomination.

Liberal commentators, pundits, and Biden surrogates are using Haley’s showing in states that allow open primaries, meaning anyone can vote in either party’s primary, to suggest that Donald Trump has weaknesses that will carry into the general election.

Evidence suggests that Haley’s voters may well vote for Biden in November.

Whether it matters depends on whether Haley’s voters ever were or could be Trump voters. 

Still, as I wrote in a previous column, “Donald Trump’s political weakness is that he keeps appealing to a smaller but more loyal group of people. Trump’s us-against-them mentality will only shrink his popularity — and his vote totals.” Insulting Haley’s voters and, worse, “banning” her donors from the MAGA movement may backfire in November.

Some point to states like New Hampshire, where Haley received over 40 percent of the vote in the open Republican primary.

While Super Tuesday was disappointing for Haley, she won in Vermont with 50 percent to Trump’s 46 percent. She lost elsewhere but received respectable totals, such as In Utah 42 percent, she reached 35 percent in Virginia, Colorado – 34 percent, and Massachusetts 37 percent. Haley’s showing in these places doesn’t reveal much about the general election. Except for Utah, each of these states will vote for the Democrat candidate anyhow.

Haley didn’t fare as well in redder states, and those where only registered Republicans could participate in the primary. In Arkansas, she received eighteen percent, Alaska twelve percent, Alabama thirteen percent, Oklahoma sixteen percent, Texas seventeen percent, and California eighteen percent — all of which, except for California, will vote for the Republican candidate.

The theory propagated by Democrat talking heads is that there’s a fracture in the Republican Party, or Trump can’t win independents, and this spells trouble for him in November.

Are they right? Are there enough Haley voters in enough places to cost Trump the election?

Probably not – but Trump should be trying to win over her voters. He shouldn’t believe he doesn’t need them.

A slew of recent polls shows Trump with a slight national lead. The New York Times/Siena Poll shows Trump up 48 percent to 43 percent for Biden among registered voters. Among independents, the two are tied at 42 percent. That may be the brightest spot for Biden in the Times poll.

Three other polls released about the same time as the Times poll show Trump leading overall and with independents. 

An Economist/YouGov poll shows Trump up 44 to 42 and, more importantly, 39 to 33 percent among independents. 

The CBS/YouGov poll has Trump leading 52 to 48 percent and crushing Biden among independents 57 to 42 percent. 

A Forbes HarrisX poll also shows Trump leading 46 to 42 percent and 40-36 percent with independents.

However, the results suggest enough independents are still undecided, planning on a third-party vote, or even staying home, or could be persuadable and change the dynamics of the Fall election.

The New York Times poll offers insight into Haley’s past and future behavior.

The New York Times identified voters who did or are planning to vote in the Democrat or Republican primary or caucus.

Among those participating in the Republican primaries and caucuses, which does not necessarily mean they are Republicans, 77 percent said they support Trump, while 20 percent said Haley.

About 35 percent of all participants said they have or will participate in the Republican primary process. The number supporting Haley represents about six percent of all voters. In a close election, which the national polls suggest this will be, that’s enough to impact the outcome.

The Times poll shows how Haley’s primary voters voted in the 2020 election: 64 percent voted for Biden, nine percent for Trump, and 26 percent did not vote. Therefore, it’s not as if Trump will lose many of his 2020 voters who supported Haley in this year’s primary. 

On the other hand, Trump needs to do better than he did in 2020. He needs to build on the 74 million votes he had last time, and it appears he won’t be getting many from Haley supporters. 

Although the poll doesn’t show 2024 presidential preference based on the Republican primary vote, we can see who those saying they will vote for Trump or Biden in 2024 voted for in the primary. Among Trump 24 voters, only ten percent voted for Haley in the primaries. Among those planning to vote for Biden, 89 percent voted for Haley in the primaries compared to six percent for Trump.

There is information based on party identification. The number of self-identified Democrats participating in the Republican primaries is so minute that the data doesn’t mean much. For what it’s worth, the Democrats who voted for Haley in the primaries will almost exclusively vote for Biden. 

The Republicans who voted for Haley will largely come home. By an 83 to 16 percent margin, they say they will vote for Trump. 

Whatever the numbers say now, historically, Parties patch up grievances stemming from the primaries. We need to look no further than Biden and his VP, Kamala Harris, who gave it to him pretty good during their first debate encounter in 2020. Trump can hold a grudge. He needs to persuade most of those sixteen percent to come home.

The number of independents participating in the Republican primaries is less than half the size of the Republicans. In the Times poll, Trump won them by a 65 – 29 percent margin. 

Whether or not the pundits are right in predicting doom for Trump depends on several factors. If they are primarily blue-state voters, they won’t matter. They could be right if these voters play a role in swing states, where there’s little information. If Haley voters were 2020 Biden voters, Trump must win some of them along with other voters to win. Usually healing happens after a Party’s convention, but in any case, it would behoove Trump to speak kindly to Haley’s voters and bring them into his fold now. Whether Trump can do that is yet to be determined. 

The pundits pointing out that Haley voters are disaffected Trump voters may have a point, but they weren’t with him to begin with. Trump must expand his 2020 vote. The polls suggest that he has, but it’s still close, and nothing should be taken for granted.

Andy Bloom is President of Andy Bloom Communications. He specializes in media training and political communications. He has programmed legendary stations including WIP, WPHT, WYSP/Philadelphia, KLSX, Los Angeles, and WCCO Minneapolis. He was Vice President of Programming for Emmis International, Greater Media Inc., and Coleman Research. Andy also served as communications director for Rep. Michael R. Turner (R-Ohio). He can be reached by email at or you can follow him on Twitter at @AndyBloomCom.

One thought on “Andy Bloom: What becomes of the Haley voters?”

  1. The election is just over seven months away. Polls are interesting now but have little to do with what will transpire in the electorate between Labor Day and the election. If the Republican party is serious about actually winning it will embrace early and mail-in voting instead of sitting on the sidelines like it has done in 2020 and 2022. And before anyone starts getting upset because early and mail-in voting exist, get over it. These are the new rules to the game. Ignoring the rules results in losing.

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