Trump leads Nikki Haley by 26 points in rare poll of her home state of South Carolina as 60 percent of Republicans say it doesn’t matter if former president is convicted over 2020 election

Former President Donald Trump is leading challenger Nikki Haley by 26 points in a poll released Thursday of South Carolina’s Republican voters.

Haley served as the state’s governor from 2011 to 2017 before becoming Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations.

If she is upset by the former president in the February 24 Republican primary in South Carolina, it could destroy her already struggling campaign.

The Monmouth University/Washington Post survey found that 58 percent of South Carolina Republican primary voters said they would support Trump, while 32 percent said they would choose Haley.

A full 60 percent of respondents said the Republican Party should keep Trump on the ticket even if he is convicted of a crime related to trying to overturn the 2020 election.

Former President Donald Trump

Former UN Amb.  Nikki Haley

Former President Donald Trump (left) is leading challenger Nikki Haley (right) by 26 points in a poll released Thursday of South Carolina’s Republican voters. Haley previously served as governor of South Carolina

Former President Donald Trump still has a big lead over rival Nikki Haley in her home state of South Carolina.  She has seen a 14-point bump since September, while he increased his share of the vote by 12 points

Former President Donald Trump still has a big lead over rival Nikki Haley in her home state of South Carolina. She has seen a 14-point bump since September, while he increased his share of the vote by 12 points

Both candidates benefited from a slimmed-down primary field, instead of just Haley, which is why Trump remains so far ahead.

In September, the last time Monmouth polled South Carolina Republicans, Trump had the support of 46 percent of GOP primary voters, while Haley stood at 18 percent.

At the time, another 32 percent of South Carolina Republicans supported another candidate.

In January, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, then-entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy and then-Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis dropped out of the race, making it a two-person face-off two days before the New Hampshire primary between Trump and Haley.

Trump beat Haley there by 11.1 points.

Next week, Nevada voters will make their choice — but due to a tussle between the state legislature and the Trump-aligned Republican Party, only the former president will be eligible to pick up delegates due to his participation in the Feb. 8 caucus .

That makes South Carolina — with its late February primary — the next true battleground state.

Palmetto State Republicans are unfazed by Trump’s legal woes, with three in five indicating they believe the former president should be kept on the ticket even if he is convicted of 2020 election meddling crimes.

A similar 62 percent said they would still run a general election letter for the former president if he were convicted, with just 17 percent saying they would drift away and vote for Democratic President Joe Biden.

Among just Trump supporters in South Carolina, 88 percent said he should remain on the ticket if convicted, with 90 percent saying they would still vote for him.

Trump supporters believed he was a stronger candidate than Haley to run against Biden in the fall, despite Haley’s ability to attract independents and conservative Democrats.

Among Trump supporters in South Carolina, 42 percent said they believed he would “definitely” beat Biden in November, while another 29 percent said they believed Trump would “probably” beat Biden.

The poll indicated that Trump-supporting South Carolinians were more dubious about Haley’s ability to beat Biden — with just 21 percent saying she would definitely beat the Democrat and another 42 percent saying she would probably beat him.

Only about a third, 32 percent, of Republicans who support Haley believed Trump could beat Biden in November’s general election.

“Trump’s electability is a concern for some primary voters. It’s just that this group isn’t nearly big enough to put Haley within striking distance of the front-runner,’ Patrick Murray, the director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, said in a statement Thursday.

There is also more enthusiasm among Trump’s base.

Seventy-three percent of South Carolina Republicans who support Trump said they were extremely motivated to cast a vote for the former commander in chief versus 45 percent who said the same to support Haley.

Haley’s saving grace — which didn’t materialize in New Hampshire — is the fact that Democrats can technically cross party lines and cast a vote for her in the Palmetto State, as long as they don’t vote in the Feb. 3 Democratic primary.

‘Haley’s hope seems to be drawing in Democratic-leaning voters who would never support her in a general election, but only want to stop Trump. Our sampling frame for this poll did not include voters who only participated in Democratic primaries,” Murray explained. “If a significant number of those voters decide to skip this week’s primary and show up for the Republican contest instead, she could close the gap.”

“However, it will remain a difficult challenge for her to actually close it,” he added.

South Carolinians who voted exclusively in Republican primaries favored Trump over Haley 67 percent to 24 percent, while South Carolinians who voted in both Republican and Democratic primaries favored Haley over Trump 55 percent to 27 percent.