(Laconia) Less than a year from the start of the primaries for the November 2024 presidential election, Nikki Haley, former United States ambassador to the UN, is increasing her field trips for, like other candidates Republicans, trying to eat away at Donald Trump’s huge lead in the polls.

The recent indictment – ​​historic – of the former American president, surrounded by court cases, opens the door to candidates who will not fail to present themselves as more moderate and less unpredictable than Donald Trump, 76 years old.

Nikki Haley, 51, daughter of Indian immigrants and former governor of South Carolina, thus chained her third public meeting in three days on Friday, in the modest town hall of Laconia, a small town in New Hampshire (northeast) of approximately 16,000 inhabitants.

“I have always been underestimated, in everything I have undertaken. And that’s a blessing because it makes me combative and it makes me a hard worker,” Haley harangues in front of 150 people, sporting a “She Who Dares To Win” jersey.

However, like most of the declared Republican candidates (Tim Scott, Asa Hutchinson, Vivek Ramaswamy, Perry Johnson), Haley does not take off in the polls, credited with 1% to 5% according to the surveys.

Nothing surprising for Sandra LaRose, an office worker met by AFP in a cafeteria in Manchester (New Hampshire).

Supporters of Haley and other Republican candidates “see things through rose-tinted glasses,” said the 58-year-old Trump voter. “But if you take those glasses off, does she really have what it takes to run the country?” »

As it stands, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, 44, seems best placed to challenge Donald Trump in the race for the Grand Old Party nomination.

Although he is not an official candidate for the White House, this figure of the hard right manages to exist in the public debate, thanks to his proclaimed fight against “wokism” – the “right-thinking” hated by the Conservatives – or his tussle with entertainment giant Disney.

The fact remains that Trump prances far ahead of his Republican competitors (from 20 to 46 percentage points according to the polls), to the point that Thursday, during a rally in New Hampshire, he questioned the relevance of debating with them.

“Why would we do that? “, he amused.

While all Republican candidates say they are running to go all the way, some voters like Sara Mack, 75, believe they are primarily candidates for vice president.

Their only advantage is to be a little less chaotic than Trump, explains Sara Mack, met by AFP during Trump’s public meeting.

While also crediting Nikki Haley with international relations skills, she “isn’t tough enough to travel to Iran, North Korea, China” and to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to the report. septuagenarian. “Trump is. »

Haley, who she says represents “a new generation” of leaders, assures Laconia residents that the United States was “respected” at the UN when she represented the United States there.

Erica, a 27-year-old military man, donned a Nikki Haley campaign T-shirt and wants to believe that there “are better alternatives” than Trump and “I don’t think it’s impossible” to beat him.

But for Brendan Florio, a Laconia car salesman, “it’s going to be tough on whoever gets in his way,” in reference to Trump.

“And, he continues, it is probably one of the reasons why DeSantis is holding back from entering the campaign. Why would he want to get into this if he’s got no luck? »