Ms. Haley’s performance on Tuesday is likely to determine the future of her campaign — and possibly her political career. Anything short of a victory or narrow defeat would put pressure on her to drop out rather than face three weeks of punishing ads from the Trump campaign in her home state, where she is already behind.
Her best shot at survival is high turnout from New Hampshire’s independent voters, who make up 40 percent of the state’s electorate, while Republicans account for about 30 percent.
The New Hampshire secretary of state has been predicting record high turnout on Tuesday, a scenario that both campaigns were claiming would bolster their chances of success.
Ms. Haley’s team believes a turnout surge would mean more participation from independent and moderate voters who are more likely to support her. They looked to Senator John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign as a model. Mr. McCain won the state’s primary by dominating independent voters and battling to a draw among Republicans, according to exit polls.
Ms. Haley, however, appears to be trailing by a large margin among Republicans, according to public polls. In the tracking poll, Ms. Haley led independents, 49 percent to 41, but was nearly 20 points behind Mr. Trump overall largely owing to his wide margin from Republicans, 65 percent to 25 percent.