Nikki Haley Odds Wobble As Trump Leads Republican Nomination

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Nikki Haley Odds Wobble As Trump Leads Republican Nomination
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Betting sites have backed away from Nikki Haley becoming the Republican candidate for this year’s US presidential election following a disastrous Iowa primary this January.

Haley is considered the main challenger to Donald Trump in the battle for power in the Republican party. 

The former UN ambassador had been polling well ahead of Florida governor Ron DeSantis heading into the primaries.

So optimistic were her supporters that she could beat Trump to the GOP pick that UK bookmakers had made a habit of shortening her odds week-on-week in the lead-up to Iowa.

But her third-place finish in the Hawkeye State has caused bookies to flee, with one almost doubling their odds on Haley in the days since the result.

Haley scraped just 19.1% of the votes in Iowa, two percent fewer than DeSantis. Trump crushed the completion with 51%. 

The former president has called on his rivals to pull out of the race, and Vivek Ramaswamy has duly done so.

New Hampshire is next on the primary schedule and Haley is tipped to fare better here. Yet the bookies aren’t expecting a full-blown transformation in the race just yet.

Nikki Haley Odds

According to political betting sites, Haley now has just a 7.7% chance of beating Trump to the Republican nomination. 

The former governor had been priced as short as 6/1 before Iowa, but Unibet now have her out at 16/1.

Trump, meanwhile, has seen his GOP odds come in to 1/14 with some bookmakers - a price that carries a 93.3% probability.

Iowa could not have gone better for Trump. Not only did he secure more than half of all votes, but his main rival Haley placed third behind DeSantis.

Trump’s concerns over DeSantis evaporated long ago. The Florida governor has tried to out-Trump the ex-president in this campaign but isn’t getting the support needed to overcome Trump. 

Haley is a far more threatening figure because she has the potential to unify centrist members of the GOP.

That’s why we have seen more attacks on Haley from MAGA Republicans in recent weeks.

Trump himself has stepped up his campaign against Haley, claiming “A vote for Nikki Haley this Tuesday is a vote for Joe Biden”. 

CNN accused Trump of dog whistling ahead of the New Hampshire primary by deliberately misspelling Haley’s first name (Nimarata) to highlight her Indian immigrant parents.

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Can Haley Beat Trump?

The attacks will keep on coming but Haley is not out of the race just yet. 

The reason she has not dropped out, and the reason betting apps still give her a 16/1 price of being president, is because of New Hampshire.

Haley is expected to beat DeSantis in New Hampshire - a more college-educated, less evangelical state - and threaten Trump’s supremacy.

There is speculation that a Haley win in the Granite State could trigger a surge in support. 

The withdrawal of Ramaswamy and Chris Christie means many voters are seeking a new horse to back. Trump is not the default option here.

Haley is refusing to debate anyone but Trump heading into the second primary. The plan is to effectively ignore DeSantis and target the big name on the ballot.

It’s a strategy that needs to work in New Hampshire if she is to continue in this race. Billionaire donor Ken Langone is withholding a “major gift” until he sees proof she can truly rival Donald Trump.

Haley cannot rely on Trump being imprisoned to secure the GOP nomination. We’ve already seen how the former president has used his multiple court appearances as stump speech opportunities to attract more support and drive campaign funds.

Instead, Haley needs support from other figures around her. Non-populists within the GOP will be secretly hoping she beats Trump, but few are willing to step out of line and go against the former president.

If Haley can deliver a chink to the armour during New Hampshire then there is a slight chance Trump’s opponents rally around her. 

Remarkably, the Democrats fear Haley more than Trump, knowing the 51-year-old would likely crush Joe Biden in an election.

For now, the bookies can do nothing but wait for New Hampshire. The decision to rapidly inflate Haley’s odds hasn’t been made yet. 

After all, her price to win the 2024 US presidential election could tumble if New Hampshire goes her way.

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Joe Short

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