South Carolina voters say Trump tops Haley in physical and mental fitness – Washington Examiner

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CHARLESTON, South Carolina — Republican primary voters in South Carolina said former President Donald Trump, 77, is more physically and mentally fit to be president than former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, 52.

After winning the Iowa caucuses, New Hampshire primary, and Nevada caucuses, Trump’s swift victory in South Carolina was not surprising. He was declared the winner immediately after polls closed at 7 p.m. and led 60% to Haley’s 39% with about three-fourths of the vote counted.

Exit polls from CBS News, ABC News, NBC News, and the Washington Post painted a picture of the coalitions both candidates had behind them in the election, yielding both expected and unexpected results.

Physical and mental health have become more significant topics going into the 2024 election, as the two likely candidates for the Democratic and Republican parties are 81 and 77, respectively. President Joe Biden’s age, in particular, has faced severe scrutiny.

Despite Trump’s 25 years on Haley, South Carolina GOP primary voters were more confident in Trump’s physical and mental fitness than hers. In CBS News’s exit polls, 72% believed Trump was healthy enough in both aspects to be president, with just 27% disagreeing. Haley fell short of Trump, with 60% saying she has the physical and mental faculties to be commander in chief.

Per ABC News, 71% said that Trump’s physical and mental health were satisfactory for a president, but just 59% said the same of Haley.

Nikki Haley and Donald Trump (AP Photos)

Part of Haley’s argument during her campaign has been the necessity of ushering in a new generation of leadership, referencing the difference between her age and that of many lawmakers and the two most popular presidential candidates. She has even called for mental competency tests to be mandated for any politician over age 75.

And while her argument apparently did not resonate with many, Lewis Tabb, 74, of Beaufort, South Carolina, said Haley is “the only person of the three left that could speak in complete sentences,” comparing her to both Biden and Trump.

Some of Trump’s strongest demographic groups were those who identified as “very conservative,” white evangelical Christians, voters without college degrees, and self-proclaimed Republicans.

Rusty Howe, 60, of Hanahan, South Carolina, said he voted for Trump “because that’s what Christians want.”

Haley’s coalition was made up of independents, centrists, and Democrats, exit polls revealed. According to NBC News, Haley won independents 54% to 43%. She also defeated Trump among “moderates,” winning 67% to Trump’s 32%.

But even Gregory Mooshagian, a 64-year-old independent who came out to support Haley at Memminger Elementary School, was not expecting Haley to pull it off.

“I think that Nikki Haley will not win in South Carolina … most likely, given all of the rhetoric that you hear, Donald Trump is going to win,” Mooshagian said.

Haley was more often the choice of voters who cited abortion as their top concern, garnering 51% support, per the Washington Post.

But the biggest topics of concern for most South Carolina GOP voters were immigration and the economy, and Trump beat Haley among those who chose either.

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Proving to be another ineffective argument for Haley, more voters indicated that Trump would have a better chance of beating Biden in an election than she would. Her campaign has often touted positive poll numbers against the president as evidence that she would be able to draw a stronger coalition than Trump in a general election.

Despite Haley’s loss in her home state, she maintained her intent to stay in the race, claiming voters want an alternative to Biden and Trump.

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