Nikki Haley most popular U.S. politician, poll finds

The former South Carolina governor has long fought a perceived anti-Israel bias at the United Nations during her tenure.

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley addresses AIPAC, March 2018 (photo credit: AFP PHOTO)
US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley addresses AIPAC, March 2018
(photo credit: AFP PHOTO)
The numbers don’t lie. America’s favorite politician does not work in Mar-A-Lago, or even Washington.
She works in New York.
A new Quinnipiac University poll found that US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley has the approval of 63% of American voters, CNN reported on Thursday.
US President Donald Trump garnered the approval of 39%, two points down from his high of 41% on April 10. Fifty-four percent of respondents reported they disapproved of the job the president was doing, while seven percent said they did not know or had no answer.
Haley’s approval reached across the divide as 75% of Republicans, 55% of Democrats and 63% of Independents responded in support of the former South Carolina governor.
By comparison, self-identified Democrats responded to the poll in similar support of the Democratic leadership, at 56% for Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and 55% for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). Overall, Schumer polled at 34% while Pelosi received a 30% approval rating. Schumer is one of 30 Jewish members of Congress.
Haley, seen as a steadying influence in an often tumultuous Trump administration, was an immediate shift in US involvement at the UN, opining that the body unfairly singles out Israel in its criticism. “The council must end its practice of wrongly singling out Israel for criticism,” Haley wrote in a June 2nd op-ed for The Washington Post. “When the council passes more than 70 resolutions against Israel, a country with a strong human rights record, and just seven resolutions against Iran, a country with an abysmal human rights record, you know something is seriously wrong.”
In a September op-ed for The Jerusalem Post, she said it is time for UNIFIL, the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, to confront Hezbollah in Lebanon and outlined changes the US helped implement “which will help disrupt Hezbollah’s illegal activity.”
She has also taken a hard-line stance against Russia for its attempts to sabotage US elections, and the Syrian regime for its brutalities in the Syrian Civil War.
“The United States is locked and loaded,” Haley told the UN Security Council chamber after Syrian President Bashar Assad allegedly used chemical weapons against Syrian rebels in April. “When our president draws a red line, our president enforces a red line.”
Last June, she embarked on a three-day visit to Israel, where she toured Gaza border communities, Hamas terror tunnels and IDF field hospitals treating Syrian refugees as part of “Operation Good Neighbor.”
At the AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington in March, she received repeated standing ovations during her address. She spoke of the UN discouraging peace between Israelis and Palestinians by perpetuating an “illusion” that the existence of the Jewish state has caused the region’s conflicts and said she hoped to attend the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem in May.
U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley speaks at AIPAC"s Annual Conference (YouTube/AIPAC)
“Like most Americans, I knew what the capital of Israel was,” she said. “To be more clear, I knew that Jerusalem was, is and will always be the capital of Israel.”
“Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. That’s a fact,” she said. “And President Trump had the courage to recognize that fact when others would not.”
Haley has also stood firm in the face of personal attacks, both internationally and domestically, telling top Palestinian Negotiator Saeb Erekat in February “I will not shut up” and US director of the National Economic Council Larry Kudlow “with all due respect, I don’t get confused.”
In February, Erekat called Haley “impudent” and told her to “shut up” regarding her criticisms of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, while Kudlow suggested she was confused after the White House walked back comments she made in April announcing new sanctions on Russian entities.
Haley’s support stands in line with former top officials in the US, CNN found, as former president Barack Obama polled at 66% favorably and former president George W. Bush was supported by 61% of respondents in a CNN survey taken in January.
An April 17 article in The New York Times speculated sources close to the White House thought her stature was growing and a potential ticket of Haley and Vice President Mike Pence could be under consideration for the 2020 election.
Michael Wilner contributed to this report.