Photo by Gage Skidmore

Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley’s South Carolina roots don’t matter to an overwhelming majority of the state’s likely Republican primary voters when considering whether to support her in the nominating contest next week, a Monday poll found.

Only 20% of the South Carolinians said Haley being from the state makes them more likely to vote for her, compared to 5% who said the opposite and 75% who said it makes no difference, according to a CBS News/YouGov poll. The same survey found that 89% of the likely GOP primary voters were concerned more about national issues rather than local ones ahead of the Feb. 24 contest.

Former President Donald Trump held a 35-point lead over Haley in her home state, where she was elected twice as governor, according to the poll. Overwhelming majorities of both Trump and Haley supporters said they have “firmly decided” on their candidate.

Among likely Trump voters, 34% believe Haley’s record as the state’s executive would be a potential reason to consider backing her, the survey found. Additionally, only 5% said preferring a female president could be a factor in making such a decision.

“Nikki Haley knows South Carolina, she won it twice. Donald Trump, on the other hand, drops into the state for the first time after 77 days, insults military families, and leaves,” AnnMarie Graham-Barnes, spokesperson for the Haley campaign, told the Daily Caller News Foundation in a statement. “70 percent of Americans don’t want a Trump-Biden rematch, and Donald Trump is proving their point every time he goes off the teleprompter.”

The RealClearPolitics average for a South Carolina primary, based on polls conducted between Jan. 2 and Feb. 4, indicates Trump is leading Haley 60% to 29.3%.

Trump has the backing from nearly all of the state’s top Republicans, including Gov. Henry McMaster, Sen. Lindsey Graham and Sen. Tim Scott. Reps. Nancy Mace, Russell Fry, Jeff Duncan, Joe Wilson and William Timmons are also supporting Trump, while Ralph Norman endorsed Haley.

The CBS News/YouGov survey polled 1,004 likely Republican primary voters in South Carolina between Feb. 5 and Feb. 10 with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4%.

Mary Lou Masters on February 12, 2024

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