Pollster predicts Trump will be 'forced' to pick Nikki Haley as VP

 January 27, 2024

Now that former President Donald Trump has further cemented his status as the likely GOP presidential nominee, speculation is growing as to who he will pick as his running mate.

There have been several hints and rumors in recent weeks regarding a rather long list of potential selections, but according to The Hill, one pollster believes Trump will be forced to pick former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley.

Haley, who's been beaten twice now, decisively, is largely unpopular with Trump's base. While many have pressured her to drop out, she continues to signal that she's not out of the race.

Mark Penn, the publisher of the Harvard CAPS/Harris poll, said he believes Trump will likely have to pick Haley to have a shot at the "disenfranchised" voters who like her, but not Trump.

Penn argued that such voters will be crucial in the general election as Trump attempts to oust President Joe Biden from the White House.

"Trump has a problem, which is the Nikki Haley voters," Penn recently told Politico.

He argued that Haley would bring in a crucial voting bloc that would end the election in Trump's favor -- Republican suburban women.

"A large percentage of them are ‘never Trump.’ … Does Trump have a way of consolidating them? It seems to me that Trump almost has to pick her as vice president. … He could do her, or he could do Tim Scott. … She would get that women’s Republican vote in the suburbs overwhelmingly. And that would be the end of the election," Penn said.

For his part, Trump has made clear his thoughts on choosing Haley as a vice president, saying at a New Hampshire rally that she's not "presidential timber."

"She is OK, but she is not presidential timber. And when I say that, that probably means she is not going to be chosen as the vice president," Trump said.

Trump's other issue with selecting Haley, now that he's painted her as a clear and present danger to the MAGA movement and to America, is the inevitable backlash he would receive from his own base.

Most of Trump's base wants him to select a MAGA-minded running mate like Vivek Ramaswamy, Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, or South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem.

Only time will tell who he selects, but it will undoubtedly be politically calculated, as all vice presidential picks are.