South Carolina 2024 Republican Primary: Everything you need to know as the first polls open and Donald Trump looks to crush Nikki Haley in her home state

South Carolina is the fourth and final early contest state in the 2024 Republican presidential primary, and voters in the state will get a chance to assess their preferred candidate on Saturday.

Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley was hoping for a boost in her home state as she remains the last serious contender to thwart former President Donald Trump’s chances for a third consecutive GOP nomination.

But polls ahead of Election Day show Haley trailing the former president by an average of 30 points.

DailyMail.com explains what to watch on South Carolina primary election day.

Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley

THE BATTLE FOR SOUTH CAROLINA: Former President Donald Trump (left) and Nikki Haley (right) are the two final primary candidates for the Republican Party. He held a rally in Rock Hill on Friday, while she appeared in Mount Pleasant at the Patriot’s Point Naval & Maritime Museum

Signs for former President Donald Trump and Republican rival Nikki Haley are seen at an intersection in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, a day before the Palmetto State's primary

Signs for former President Donald Trump and Republican rival Nikki Haley are seen at an intersection in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, a day before the Palmetto State’s primary

INFORMATION FOR VOTING DAY

South Carolina had several days of early voting, where voters could go to their polling place before Saturday to cast their ballots from February 12 to 22.

Polling stations on Election Day on Saturday, February 23, will open at 7am and close at 7pm – although voters in line at the time of closing will be allowed to cast their ballots.

Primary results usually start coming in shortly after polls close, depending on ballot processing time.

Trump will hold an election night event in Columbia, South Carolina, the state capital, while Haley will address supporters from Charleston after voting at her polling place on Kiawah Island mid-morning.

WHO CAN VOTE?

South Carolina is holding an open primary, meaning motivated Democrats and independent voters can come out on Election Day to cast their favorite vote.

This also opens up the possibility for protest votes.

Some Trump supporters think Haley could get a boost from support from moderate and left-leaning residents, including registered Democrats.

Registered voters in South Carolina can vote in either the Democratic or Republican primaries, but not both.

South Carolina held early voting from February 12 to 22.  A woman in Columbia, South Carolina participates in early voting on Thursday, the last day to vote before the polls open at 7 a.m. Saturday for Election Day

South Carolina held early voting from February 12 to 22. A woman in Columbia, South Carolina participates in early voting on Thursday, the last day to vote before the polls open at 7 a.m. Saturday for Election Day

The Trump faithful gathered in Rock Hill, South Carolina, on Friday afternoon for the ex-president's final Palmetto State rally before the polls kick off on Election Day

The Trump faithful gathered in Rock Hill, South Carolina, on Friday afternoon for the ex-president’s final Palmetto State rally before the polls kick off on Election Day

SOUTH CAROLINA DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL PRE-SALE

The South Carolina primaries looked a little different for Democrats this year.

Although the state allows Democrats and Republicans to choose the date of their respective presidential elections, it is typically the fourth voting contest for both major U.S. political parties.

But this year, Democrats decided they wanted the Palmetto State to hold its first primary — opting for a more diverse primary state than Iowa or New Hampshire.

Biden easily won the Democratic primary in South Carolina on February 3 with 96 percent of the vote.

WHAT SOUTH CAROLINA VOTERS SAY BEFORE PRE-SALE

Even in Haley’s hometown of Bamberg, DailyMail.com found that a majority of voters heading to the polls support Trump.

“I voted for the winner,” Mike, 79, of Bamberg County, said Thursday as he left an early voting location. When he asked who that was, he offered, “Mr. Trump.”

The Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge connecting Charleston to Mount Pleasant can be seen in the background from Nikki Haley's final campaign stop in her home state of South Carolina before voting kicked off on Election Day Saturday

The Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge connecting Charleston to Mount Pleasant can be seen in the background from Nikki Haley’s final campaign stop in her home state of South Carolina before voting kicked off on Election Day Saturday

A South Carolina voter participates in early voting in Columbia, South Carolina on Thursday

A South Carolina voter participates in early voting in Columbia, South Carolina on Thursday

One issue that has resonated is Trump’s recent comment that Haley’s husband — who is in the U.S. military and deployed — is avoiding her by being in Africa.

‘What happened to her husband? What happened to her husband?’ the former president asked earlier this month at a rally in Conway, South Carolina. ‘Where is he? He is gone. He knew. He knew.’

Suzanne Zimmermann, a 54-year-old retired teacher from Fripp Island, told DailyMail.com that she hopes such comments will change things for Haley.

“I know she has a long way to go,” admitted Zimmermann, who attended Haley’s Wednesday night meeting in Beaufort.

I hope that people will – especially when he says things like, you know, asking where her husband is – I hope that he will continue to shoot himself in the foot so many times that people will say… why would we want that? ‘ Zimmermann added.

Mimbee Ray, the 71-year-old retired office manager from Denmark who knows Haley personally, also brought up the insult to Trump’s husband.

She called Trump “too loud,” adding “mainly as a criticism of where her husband is.”

A female supporter of Nikki Haley attends the former governor's final rally in South Carolina in Mount Pleasant on Friday evening

A female supporter of Nikki Haley attends the former governor’s final rally in South Carolina in Mount Pleasant on Friday evening

A drone shot shows the scene of Nikki Haley's last meeting in South Carolina - at the Patriot's Point Naval & Maritime Museum, located in Mount Pleasant, across from the city of Charleston

A drone shot shows the scene of Nikki Haley’s last meeting in South Carolina – at the Patriot’s Point Naval & Maritime Museum, located in Mount Pleasant, across from the city of Charleston

‘He fights in our army. And then to say that our military people are stupid or whatever, that just wasn’t right,” Ray added.

But for the Trump faithful, questioning Michael Haley’s whereabouts was completely off the table.

‘And here’s a question. Where is her husband? That is a good question. Why be offended,” said Kathy, a 76-year-old Trump supporter from Bamberg County.

WHAT’S NEXT?

If Trump wins South Carolina on Saturday, which is the most likely outcome, the primaries will continue if Haley decides to stay in the race.

Ultimately, any candidate who wants to earn the nomination must collect 1,215 delegates — and in South Carolina, 50 are up for grabs.

Haley has earned 17 delegates so far, compared to Trump’s 63, after Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and the US Virginia Islands joined in this year.

During a “state of the race” address on Tuesday, Haley insisted she is “a long way from dropping out.”

She has repeatedly said she plans to stay in the race until Super Tuesday on March 5, when 15 different states will hold simultaneous primaries.

If the polls come out Saturday and Haley loses her home state, her chances of remaining a viable candidate decrease even further.