(Patriot.Buzz) – In a huge bet to guarantee herself a spot in subsequent caucuses for the GOP nomination, Nikki Haley faces significant pressure to deliver a strong performance in the upcoming New Hampshire primary.
Former President Donald Trump emerged as the clear winner in Iowa, with Haley finishing third despite earlier polls indicating fierce competition against Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
As The Hill’s Julia Mueller reported, political analysts are divided regarding Haley’s performance in Iowa. While some see it as better than expected, others view it as an indication of challenges she may face in New Hampshire.
Dante Scala, a political science professor at the University of New Hampshire, talked to Mueller about the critical nature of post-Iowa momentum, stating, “You don’t get that many opportunities to deliver a clear message to New Hampshire voters, and one of those opportunities is the day after Iowa, if you can credibly say, ‘I have momentum.’ And I think that opportunity was lost.”
Looking ahead, some analysts believe that Haley needs to either surpass Trump or closely trail him in New Hampshire to be perceived as a viable candidate. Current polls compiled by Decision Desk HQ and The Hill indicate Trump leading with 44%, Haley at nearly 35%, and DeSantis at around 6%.
Republican strategist Matthew Bartlett emphasized the critical nature of the New Hampshire primary, telling Mueller, “I think right now we’re at the beginning. It could very well be the end. If Nikki, or Ron for that matter, can make it competitive in New Hampshire, then you have a chance at a race.”
In turn, DeSantis faces challenges following his second-place finish in Iowa, where his campaign and super PAC heavily invested resources. Speaking to Mueller and Caroline Vakil of The Hill, New Hampshire-based GOP strategist Mike Dennehy criticized DeSantis’s position post-Iowa.
Dennehy said, “He cannot make an argument that he’s in a stronger position because he lost to Donald Trump by 30 points,” and humorously added, “He can say that his ticket was punched out of Iowa, but it’s a bus ticket going to Antarctica. I mean, it’s not — his campaign is going nowhere.”