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(COLUMBIA, S.C.) — New Hampshire has spoken — and with South Carolina’s primary approaching next month, voters are sharing their thoughts about the race between the state’s former governor Nikki Haley and former President Donald Trump — with one voter saying Haley would only get his vote if she is the last Republican standing.

Trump is polling nearly 40 points ahead of Haley, yet the former U.N. ambassador is committing to stay in the race with her sights set on what she calls her “sweet state of South Carolina.”

So why does Haley think she can take on the former president in South Carolina’s GOP primary, set for Feb. 24?

Haley’s history, Trump’s popularity

South Carolina is Haley’s home turf — she served as a fairly popular governor for two terms from 2011 to 2017 — however, polls show that Trump is dominating in the ruby-red state. The former president is polling at 62% compared to Haley’s 25%, according to 538’s polling averages.

Also, Trump benefits from endorsements from the majority of the state’s GOP leaders including Sens. Linsey Graham and Tim Scott, Rep. Nancy Mace and Gov. Henry McMaster. Haley has a history with several of these endorsers who backed Trump: McMaster is her former lieutenant governor; Haley appointed Scott to senator; and she campaigned for Mace in the 2022 midterm elections.

Trump has shown he appeals to South Carolina voters, too. In 2020, he won the state by 55% and in 2016 by 54%, according to the state’s election board.

Labeling herself a “fighter” and “scrappy,” Haley has vowed to stay in the race until at least Super Tuesday. With a month left to go until the South Carolina primary, Haley faces a steep uphill climb to the coveted nomination — but she said the fight is not over.

“New Hampshire is first in the nation … it is not last in the nation … this race is far from over,” Haley said in her concession speech in New Hampshire.

She has attacked Trump, and pledges to show why South Carolinians should vote for her.

“The people of South Carolina don’t want a coronation, they want an election. And we are gonna give them one,” Haley said Tuesday night.

Republican leadership doesn’t seem to have confidence in Haley’s ability to beat Trump.

“I’m looking at the math and the path going forward, and I don’t see it for Nikki Haley,” Republican Party Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said on Fox News Wednesday. “I think she’s run a great campaign, but I do think there’s a message that is coming out from the voters that is very clear– we need to unite around our eventual nominee, which is going to be Donald Trump.”

What are South Carolina voters saying?

South Carolina is known for picking presidents. Since 1980, it has reliably picked the GOP’s nominee with one exception: in 2012 with Newt Gringrich (Mitt Romney went on to become the GOP nominee that year).

Trump, with his large swath of South Carolina endorsements, is expected to win the state, and he said he plans to ramp up attacks on Haley.

After winning New Hampshire’s primary he told audience members, “I don’t get too angry, I get even.”

Haley, who has said she is the only thing standing in the way of a Biden-Trump rematch, announced a $4 million ad blitz in her home state and is using campaign supporters to help in grassroots efforts to target undecided voters in the state. Americans For Prosperity Action, which endorsed Haley in November, raised more than $70 million, according to its latest public filing. The group told ABC News they’ve knocked on 315,000 in South Carolina and will continue knocking until primary day.

Still — it may not help the state’s former governor. Chad Connelly, who served as South Carolina’s GOP chairman while Haley was governor, told ABC News that although people like Haley, they love Trump.

“People really believe Trump is the guy that can halt and repair the problems they see across the country,” Connelly said. “I really don’t think it’s a dislike for Nikki as much as a deep love and appreciation for what President Trump did.”

Ann Byess from Lexington, South Carolina, said she sees Haley’s track record as governor as a sign of what she can accomplish as president. When Haley was governor, she encouraged South Carolina businesses to expand and saw employment swell by 400,000 people.

“I’m heavily considering Nikki Haley,” said Byess. “I just think she’s the best candidate right now. The economy hits really close to home.”

But Frank Spaniel from Columbia, South Carolina, said he still considers her a part of the “Republican establishment.”

“If she’s the last Republican standing, she’ll get my vote,” Spaniel said. “The only thing that I like that’s positive is her stance — the way she approached the abortion topic. But there’s a lot of other policies — I consider her part of the Republican establishment that I’m not happy with.”

ABC News spoke with Byess and Spaniel in November — before other major GOP candidates — such as former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and tech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy — dropped out of the race.

Eric Voyer, a voter from Columbia, South Carolina, said Trump’s legal woes wouldn’t deter him from voting for the former president.

“If Trump gets convicted, every American — I don’t care if you are liberal, conservative, white, black, red, green or purple — we should be deeply concerned with the way they are using the justice system to attack their political enemies,” Voyer said in December.

Connelly said he believes it’s only a matter of time before Haley bows out, but Trump still has a long road to Election Day and he will need all the help he can get.

“I think we’re just in a very different place where I believe you’ll see all conservatives and Republicans come together and try to win this thing,” he said.

How does South Carolina’s primary work?

South Carolina has an open primary, which means registered voters can cast a ballot in either the Democratic or Republican primary. Unlike Iowa and New Hampshire, South Carolina does not require voters to register by party, however residents are allowed to vote in only one of the primaries. The last day to register is Jan. 25.

The primary is traditionally held on a Saturday and, unlike New Hampshire, allows for early voting beginning mid February. Over the summer, South Carolina’s Republican Party moved its primary to so that it’s 18 days after Nevada’s caucus allowing candidates nearly three weeks to saturate the state.

Debbie Epling, who lives in South Carolina’s Aiken County, told ABC News in December that she’ll be “disappointed” if the candidates don’t come to her county.

“That says every one of the candidates is taking our vote for granted,” she said.

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