Gov. Ron DeSantis, Ambassador Nikki Haley Seen as GOP Debate Winners

Posted on: November 9, 2023, 12:34h. 

Last updated on: November 10, 2023, 11:47h.

The Republican Party held its third presidential debate Wednesday night. Political bettors wagering on who will secure the party’s nomination suggested that former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis were the night’s winners.

DeSantis Haley 2024 odds Donald Trump
Former U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Halley, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy square off during the third Republican Party presidential debate on Nov. 8, 2023. Haley and DeSantis are receiving a slight boost in their odds of securing the party’s presidential ticket. (Image: Getty)

The two-hour spectacle was highlighted by two confrontational exchanges between Haley, also previously the governor of South Carolina, and Vivek Ramaswamy, an entrepreneur who founded Roivant, a tech firm focused on health care.

Ramaswamy called Haley “Cheney in three-inch heels,” a critical reference to her foreign policy views aligning with former Vice President Dick Cheney. Tensions escalated further when Ramaswamy suggested Haley was a hypocrite for supporting a TikTok ban while her 25-year-old daughter used the social media app that’s been deemed a potential spy mechanism for China.

Her own daughter was using the app for a long time, so you might want to take care of your daughter first,” Ramaswamy said on the debate stage Wednesday night in Miami.

“Leave my daughter out of your voice,” Haley scoffed back. As he continued, she added, “You’re just scum.”

Haley, DeSantis Bounce

Though much of the post-debate conversation was focused on the Haley-Ramaswamy feud, political pundits found the night moderated by NBC News to be the most substantive of the three GOP dates this primary season.

Much of the evening was centered on foreign policy, something in Haley’s wheelhouse. Paired with a strong answer on abortion, many observers deemed Haley one of the night’s best performers.

Political bettors on the PredictIt exchange snagged up some Haley shares on the market, “Who will win the 2024 Republican presidential nomination?” In the debate aftermath, Haley’s stock climbed two pennies to 15 cents.

DeSantis, who appeared more confident in his third national debate with a smaller field and in his home state, was also deemed to have had a good night. The governor’s stock in the same market climbed a penny to 11 cents.

Ramaswamy’s shares went unchanged at a nickel. Tim Scott, South Carolina’s junior Republican Senator, and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie were also on the stage last night. But political bettors give them less than a 1% chance of securing the GOP presidential ticket.

Trump Maintains Momentum

Along with Haley and DeSantis, political analysts said another person had a good debate night, although he didn’t even show up. Former President Donald Trump has refused to participate in the three debates this year, as he has a commanding lead in both the polls and odds.

Trump remains the betting front-runner for the GOP ticket, with his PredictIt shares trading at 71 cents. He’s also the heavy favorite at overseas sportsbooks, where political wagering is allowed. At William Hill, he’s a 1/5 (implied odds of 83%) favorite to represent the Republican Party for the third consecutive presidential election cycle.

DeSantis suggested Wednesday night during a post-debate interview that the numerous charges Trump is facing are likely helping his campaign because he’s back in the news.

When I got reelected, I was dominating the news,” DeSantis said. “Trump was not getting a lot of the news. What changed was the Alvin Bragg indictment where he started to dominate the news again.”

DeSantis explained that the Bragg indictment, which he says is not a valid case, helped rile up Trump’s base. But DeSantis believes he’s the best option for the 75% of Republican voters who would be willing to move on from the former president.

“With the Republican electorate, 25% are going Trump no matter what, 25% have moved on, and then 50% in the middle are conservative voters who would vote for Trump, but they’d also vote for someone else. I think I’m the only guy who can really play in that space.”