Who will win the South Carolina primary? Donald Trump vs. Nikki Haley at home

Columbia, South Carolina - A strong woman who might be able to bring the United States together, Nikki Haley, Donald Trump's only remaining opponent, is indeed popular among many Republican women voting in South Carolina's presidential primary this weekend. But will it be enough to win?

Nikki Haley (l.) will faceoff against Donald Trump at the polls in her home state of South Carolina on Saturday.
Nikki Haley (l.) will faceoff against Donald Trump at the polls in her home state of South Carolina on Saturday.  © Collage: BRANDON BELL / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / GETTY IMAGES & TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP

Trump, the runaway favorite who has already won the contests in Iowa and New Hampshire easily, remains the top choice among many women voters even though he faces four criminal indictments and raises eyebrows with his unseemly, even outrageous comments.

Haley is well known in the state capital Columbia. She served as governor of the Palmetto State and hopes to do better in the primary Saturday than predicted in the polls, which put her a full 30 points behind Trump.

Haley continued her vow on Friday not to drop out of the race, regardless of Saturday's outcome.

Melania Trump calls for Americans to "unite" as Donald fights for re-election
Melania Trump Melania Trump calls for Americans to "unite" as Donald fights for re-election

"Tomorrow, South Carolina votes," she wrote on X. "On Sunday, I’ll still be running for president because when the stakes are this high, you don’t quit. You fight harder.

Connie Gilliam (54), who voted early for Haley in the primary, thinks she can bounce back, gushing praise for Trump's rival.

"She was a wonderful governor in our state. She did great things for South Carolina. And so we just feel like she would be a great president," said Gilliam, a retired teacher, calling Haley a fighter.

She said she likes the fact that, after long opposing such a move, Haley removed the Confederate flag from the legislature building, erasing a Civil War-era symbol of the state's pro-slavery past.

In comparison to Trump, Haley is a "kinder person" and "she will just be better at bringing the country back together," Gilliam said.

Will Trump or Haley win the South Carolina Republican primary?

Trump supporters gathered and railed against his opponent, former UN Ambassador and US Republican presidential hopeful Nikki Haley, earlier this week.
Trump supporters gathered and railed against his opponent, former UN Ambassador and US Republican presidential hopeful Nikki Haley, earlier this week.  © SUZANNE CORDEIRO / AFP

Elaine Billie (72) said the fact that Haley is a woman is not the main reason she supports her. Rather, she likes her age – 52 as opposed to Trump's 77 years, something Haley has slammed the former president about.

Billie also said a Haley campaign ad recalling the "chaos" of Trump's time in power really hit home.

"I voted for him the last time, I'll say that. It was in 2020. But there's just too much chaos going." She also said the four indictments Trump faces – two of them for trying to overturn the election results – "That's at the forefront."

Trump blasted by top European official: "Get the facts straight!"
Donald Trump Trump blasted by top European official: "Get the facts straight!"

Mallory Macon, a 28-year-old nurse, also likes the fact that Haley does not have the legal baggage that Trump is saddled with.

"She's a candidate who does not have much drama surrounding her overall as a person," said Macon. "I feel like she's trying to take somewhat of an approach to be a little bit less far right than Trump has."

She said Trump has a potentially dictatorial style and expressed fear that under him the US might not be able to hold free elections and instead start looking like Russia. And it was "completely inappropriate" that Trump has compared himself to the late Russian opposition hero Alexei Navalny and called himself a victim of political persecution, Macon added.

Yet, some many are still in Trump's corner. Sandie Ellis (66) said she voted for Trump last time despite his outbursts. She called Haley young, qualified and brilliant, and even considered voting for her, but lined up behind Trump after his easy wins in Iowa and New Hampshire.

"I feel with Trump's leadership that we actually experienced in the previous administration, that he is perhaps the better qualified person," said Ellis. "He has a mouth, but I was certainly pleased with his business sense."

Ellis said she distinguished between Trump the person – who insults his rivals and comments on women's physical appearance – and Trump the leader.

"Let Melania deal," she said with a laugh, referring to former first lady Melania Trump.

Cover photo: Collage: BRANDON BELL / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / GETTY IMAGES & TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP

More on Donald Trump: