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NRI tops polls after Palin endorsement

world Updated: May 22, 2010 01:10 IST
Anirudh Bhattacharyya

Days after being endorsed by Sarah Palin, Indian-American Nikki Haley surged ahead in polls for the Republican primary for the post of Governor of the US State of South Carolina.

Haley, a poll on Thursday showed, had grabbed a double digit lead over her closest Republican rival while previous polls had shown her fourth in the field.

The 38-year-old Republican, born to Indian immigrants from Amritsar, led the poll conducted by Rasmussen Reports, with the backing of 30 per cent of the 900 South Carolina Republicans who were surveyed. After her were the State’s Attorney General with 19 percent and a sitting Congressman with 17 per cent.

In an earlier poll in March, Haley was last in the four-person field with just 12 per cent support.

What changed was the ringing endorsement by Sarah Palin, who was John McCain running mate for the 2008 US Presidential elections and has since emerged as an iconic figure among American conservatives.

During her endorsement speech last week, Palin described Haley as a “kindred spirit”.

Haley was born in Bamberg, South Carolina as Nimrata Randhawa, to a Sikh couple, Ajit and Raj Randhawa. She is married to Michael Haley and the couple has two children, Rena and Nalin.