June 23, 2024

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Can Haley beat Trump? A New Hampshire VFW hall spotlights her stark enthusiasm gap

2 min read

Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley takes the stage at a Get Out the Vote campaign rally ahead of the New Hampshire primary election in Exeter, New Hampshire, U.S., January 21, 2024.

Brian Snyder | Reuters

FRANKLIN, N.H. — Nikki Haley is throwing harder punches, hosting more events and appearing alongside the popular Republican governor, John Sununu. But with just hours left before 2024’s first Republican presidential primary, Haley is falling behind on a crucial metric: enthusiasm.

“Every single thing that Donald Trump has said, or put on TV, has been a lie,” Haley said at a get out the vote event here Monday morning at a small VFW hall.

The close-packed crowd of between 100-200 people listened intently and nodded at the right moments. But they offered few of the boisterous cheers and extended applause that have come to define Trump’s carnival-like live events.

On the contrary, several of Haley’s applause lines were met with silence.

This may have been be due to the fact that it was early in the morning on a freezing cold Monday, in a state that is saturated every four years with politicians making promises. But it could also have been because not everyone in the crowd was planning to vote for Haley.

As the former South Carolina governor races to make up for Trump’s lead in the polls, experts said higher-than-expected turnout on Tuesday will be crucial. The problem for Haley is that enthusiasm drives turnout, and as Haley’s morning in Franklin illustrated, attendance is not the same as enthusiasm.

Bonnie, a retired teacher from Laconia, New Hampshire, said she supported Haley “as far as she can go.” But that did not extend as far as voting for Haley in the Republican primary, said Bonnie, who declined to give her last name.

Read more CNBC politics coverage

A registered Democrat, Bonnie said she missed the deadline to switch her registration over to the independent column. Registered Democrats are barred…

2024-01-22 17:09:00

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