Will the Real #2 Please Stand Up?

The buzz about the viability of Trump as the GOP nominee for president continues to grow. The former president is facing court hearingsseveral states have begun processes that may disqualify him from being on the ballot—while at the same time, new polls show him gaining ground on Biden in key swing states.

This growing uncertainty over Trump’s ability to run and win the election is offering a significant opportunity for alternative GOP candidates to capture the nomination. In fact, implicit emotion toward Trump is highly unfavorable among Democrats and Independents, indicating that passion against him might turnout the Democrat vote, just as it did in 2020.

So, who is the real #2? Among the final five contenders, who will take the stage and captivate voters with an emotionally resonate hook to turn the GOP nomination in their favor?

Our Findings

The implicit presidential appeal tracker has revealed that Haley and Ramaswamy have been trending up since this summer among Republicans and Independents.The latest round of the tracker assessed how voters perceive each GOP contender on key traits, such: Effective, Intelligent and Trustworthy, or Phony, Selfish or Too Old.

Nikki Haley

Republican voters with high Appeal for Haley positively associate her with being Effective (114.6), Strong (114.3), Intelligent (121.1), Trustworthy (110.0), and a Leader (117.9). 

Haley-Independents-Results-2023Even Independents who don’t have strong Appeal toward any politician, agreed with this characterization. They associate Haley with Effective (115.6), Strong (115.6), Intelligent (121.1), Trustworthy (112.6), and with being a Leader (112.9).

Vivek Ramaswamy

Turning to Ramaswamy, the data reveals that he has risen to be the top contender for male Independent voters. Independent voters implicitly believe Ramaswamy to be Effective (117.4), Strong (122.2), Intelligent (124.8), Trustworthy (119.4), and a Leader (124.1). Importantly, these attributes are positive among Republicans and Independents as a whole (114+ on all positive traits).

Ramaswamy-Male-Independents-Results-2023Securing the Vote

These favorable perceptions of Trump’s opponents are telling. Independent voters account for over 40% of U.S. voters, carrying almost half of the decision-making power. If Haley or Ramaswamy lean into the characteristics that help drive their Appeal up for these voters, they may stand a chance on Election Day.

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