When Nikki Haley eventually ends her YOLO bid for the Republican presidential nomination, she will be leaving behind a trail of breadcrumbs to gettable voters for President Joe Biden. And that’s not just in the amorphous sense that her voters generally despise Donald Trump, but also in the more specific sense of zip codes where the Biden campaign should deploy an army of door-knockers.
A new NBC News analysis of Haley and Trump online donors for the second half of 2023 found that while the number of Trump's digital donors outpaced Haley's in 24,545 zip codes, Haley amassed more online donors in a concentrated set of 1,183 zip codes.
Within these zip codes, NBC noted "a gaping demographic difference" that tells a bigger story about the primary contest. But it could just as easily foretell a larger narrative about the general election, depending on the extent to which Biden can mine votes from the demographic of Haley voters who have been shoveling cash her way.
Homing in on South Carolina, for instance, Haley's donations hail from areas where there's a higher saturation of residents 25 and older who have bachelor's degrees.
And just to be clear, Haley has become somewhat of a fundraising anomaly this cycle: She continues to bank enough cash to stay in the race despite that she hasn't come close to winning a single contest. Haley also trails Trump by double digits in the next state in the Republican primary, South Carolina, Haley’s home state and where she served as governor for six years.
In other words, if there's a path forward for Haley, no one can see it. Yet her small army of college-educated voters remains deeply committed to watching her rip into Trump just for the sport of it all. It's an impressive show of contempt for Trump, and it's exactly the profile of voter Team Biden will need to peel off in the general election.
And Haley's donor hotspots should serve as ground zero in the Biden campaign's effort to win over persuadable Republicans and independents.
Republicans demanded border security, worked on a compromise deal with Democrats, and now want to blow the whole thing up. Biden is promising to remind Americans every day that the Republican Party is at fault for the lack of solutions to the problems they claim are most important.