Trump’s Strength Shines: Defeating Republican Rivals in Their Home States…

Trump's Strength Shines: Defeating Republican Rivals in Their Home States

Who is the third-placed Republican candidate for president in the year 2024? Given that just two candidates, former President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, are polling above 5% nationally, that may seem like a strange question to ask.

The two candidates with the fewest votes are former Vice President Mike Pence and former Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley.

The seeming nationalisation of the GOP primary process this year is more concerning for Haley and other candidates polling outside the top two. Haley is scheduled to participate in an AWN town hall on Sunday evening. In states where early voting has taken place or where candidates have launched their candidatures, Trump has a clear lead in the polls.

In contrast to regular elections, presidential primaries are not held simultaneously. The states that vote first have a disproportionate amount of influence. This explains why Republican candidates swarm to early voting states like Iowa (for the caucuses) and New Hampshire (for the first primary).

Losing the Iowa caucuses has been a significant factor for national poll leaders at this time in the primary season who go on to lose their party nominations in recent years. In 2008, both Republican Rudy Giuliani and Democratic Hillary Clinton saw their national advantages evaporate.

At this stage in the cycle, both candidates had serious problems in Iowa. Neither one of them was ahead in the polls for their respective parties in the Des Moines Register in May of 2007.
Nationalised Election of 2024

There has not been the same gap between national and early state polls this year. Trump and DeSantis have topped publicly available polls in both Iowa and New Hampshire. In mid-April, for instance, a poll conducted by the University of New Hampshire showed that Trump had 42% support and DeSantis had 28%. Third place, at 12%, was New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu, who is widely expected to announce his intentions for 2024 this week.

This Sununu statistic deserves our undivided attention. A few years back, I made the observation that a candidate’s standing in their home state is a good indicator of whether or not they may pull off an upset while being behind in national and early state surveys.

Despite Hillary Clinton’s large lead nationally, Vermont’s Democratic primary had already been won by Sen. Bernie Sanders by this stage in the 2016 campaign. However, I didn’t give former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley much of a chance because he wasn’t doing well in the polls in his own state.

An early barometer of a candidate’s viability is how well they perform in polls in their home state. Locals are most familiar with these candidates. How do you expect to win over new votes in states where you’re already well-known to the electorate?

Sununu doesn’t have to stress over his lack of renown in New Hampshire. It’s the same in South Carolina, where Haley was governor before. It just so happens that South Carolina follows Iowa and New Hampshire on the 2024 Republican primary calendar.

Trump leads by a large margin in the most recent South Carolina poll that passes AWN’s publication guidelines. According to a poll conducted by Winthrop University in early April, Trump received 41% of the vote, while DeSantis received 20% and Haley received 18%. Senator Tim Scott, also from South Carolina, polled at 7%. Newer polling suggests the opposite, with Haley falling and Scott rising in the weeks since, but Trump remains far ahead.

Trump could easily maintain his advantage and eliminate Haley from contention with a victory in the South Carolina primary. Keep in mind that he terminated Sen. Marco Rubio’s 2016 presidential bid by defeating him in Florida, so he can do it again.
Flaws in his defences?

Trump’s weaknesses are easy to see if you look for them.

For instance, this year in Florida, polling has shown DeSantis and Trump trading places at the top.

One may argue that the aggregate of these early state surveys indicates Trump’s support is lower than the national figures would suggest. His average polling position is lower than 50% in the early states, but higher than 50% nationally. In other words, unlike nationally, a majority of voters in the early states are choosing not to support Trump.

I mean, just think how bad it would be for Trump if he lost in New Hampshire or South Carolina or both! The notion that his nomination is secure would take a major hit.

That scenario, though, appears to be pure imagination at the present time. Even though Trump is struggling more than previous national frontrunners who were defeated in early voting states, he is still doing better than they were.

The United States does not need to elect Trump. Just know that it will be really challenging.

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