Trump vs Haley: What's at stake for both candidates in South Carolina primary?

The upcoming South Carolina primary on Saturday will be a crucial test for former US President Donald Trump and former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley as they face off for the Republican Party's presidential nomination. This primary is particularly important for Haley, as South Carolina is her home state and she served as its governor from 2011 to 2017. Despite opinion polls showing Trump with a significant lead over Haley, she has vowed to continue her campaign even if she loses in the state.

The open primary system in South Carolina allows any registered voter to participate in the party's primary, but voters can only choose one party's primary. The Republican primary will be held on Saturday, with polls closing statewide at 7pm local time (00:00 GMT). South Carolina will award the votes of 29 of its 50 Republican delegates to the winner of the primary, with three delegates going to the winner in each of the state's seven congressional districts.

Trump is a formidable candidate and has already swept the previous three state contests, including victories in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada. He holds a substantial lead over Haley in opinion polls, earning endorsements from Governor Henry McMaster and US Senator Tim Scott. However, Trump faces multiple criminal cases and lawsuits, including a recent civil fraud case in which he was ordered to pay over $350 million in damages. Despite this, his popularity among his core base has remained strong, and many supporters see him as a victim of a witch-hunt.

Losing the South Carolina primary could spell the end of Haley's presidential campaign, as losing early primaries dampens momentum and makes it difficult to win voters and donors. However, she has insisted that she will continue her campaign despite the results. In a recent Quinnipiac poll, voters ranked Biden slightly ahead of Trump in a hypothetical 2024 presidential scenario, with 49 percent support compared to 45 percent for Trump. In a runoff between Biden and Haley, Biden still holds a narrow lead with 42 percent support, slightly ahead of Haley with 47 percent.

Despite Trump's significant lead in the polls, the results of the primary could potentially force Republican leaders to throw their support behind Trump if he wins. The delegates from South Carolina will ultimately cast their votes at the party conventions in the summer to determine the Republican candidate for the presidential race.

As the primary season progresses, winners of the state contests from January to June will earn delegates, totaling over 1,200 nationwide to secure the Republican nomination. With several other cases pending against Trump in different jurisdictions, his path to the presidential nomination remains uncertain.

Additionally, the Alabama Supreme Court's ruling on frozen embryos being children has implications for fertility rights and abortion in the US and has been criticized by women's rights groups. Haley's statement regarding her belief that frozen embryos are children has been viewed as an endorsement of the ruling, potentially influencing her standing among voters ahead of the primary.

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