Nikki Haley Surges as the Middle East Simmers

In the 2024 GOP primary, Ron DeSantis and Nikki Haley are battling for second place.

What’s happening: Ron DeSantis, once seen as the biggest challenge to Trump in the GOP primary, is slipping in the polls. As conflict flares up in Israel, more people are talking about Nikki Haley. Her foreign policy experience is a big part of her campaign.

  • Remember: Haley made a name for herself as the ambassador to the United Nations under former President Trump, where she took a hardline approach against the global community’s harsh stance on Israel and supported Trump’s unprecedented diplomacy in the Middle East.

  • The buzz:Bloombergreports that “rising international tensions are giving new life to Republican Nikki Haley’s presidential campaign.” The New York Timeswrites that “Nikki Haley’s past stance on Israel could be key to her campaign’s future.” In National Review, AEI’s Michael Strain makes the case for Haley.

Why it matters: There are 11 weeks to go until the Iowa caucuses and Trump’s two top challengers are in desperate need of a breakout moment. With Israel in the headlines, Haley is well-positioned with credibility and experience in the Middle East to rise.

Weighing the odds: It’s worth noting that most national polls still show DeSantis beating Haley in the race for second place. But,

  • Haley enjoyed a fundraising surge in the last quarter, and her cash on hand far surpasses that of DeSantis. She now holds nearly double the amount of cash on hand as the DeSantis campaign.

  • In Iowa, the gold-standard Des Moines Register poll shows Haley jumping from 6 to 16 percent since August — putting her at a dead-heat tie with DeSantis.

  • The RCP average suggests that Haley has a better shot at beating Biden than either DeSantis or Trump.

Still, Donald Trump’s victory over his rivals in the 2024 Republican primary remains all but certain, with him polling at nearly 59 percent for the primaries.