As we head into the latest set of presidential primaries, the question isn’t whether Donald Trump and Joe Biden will win enough delegates to capture the party nomination. Instead, it’s how seriously to take the margin of opposition to their candidacies.

For example, although Trump is the first non-incumbent Republican to win all three of the first primary and caucus contests (Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina), he has lost 40-45% of the vote to other Republican candidates. Moreover, the kinds of voters who are supporting former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley — white, college-educated and independent voters — are crucial swing voters for the November contest.

However, Trump’s struggle to win over these voters isn’t new. In fact, we have to assume that a good number of Haley voters in South Carolina and New Hampshire haven’t recently “defected” from Trump, but have voted against him in previous general election campaigns. For example, according to South Carolina exit polls, Haley won almost 60% of the vote among voters who had never before voted in a GOP primary. Plus, we should expect

More from the Cook Political Report

First Person
Cook Politcal Logo