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Florida Poll Reveals Trump’s Commanding Lead Over DeSantis in 2024 GOP Primary, Raises Questions for DeSantis’ Campaign

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Last updated on July 19th, 2023 at 02:35 am

A recent poll conducted by the Florida Atlantic University Mainstreet PolCom Lab has revealed some intriguing dynamics in the 2024 Republican primary race in Florida. The poll indicates that former President Donald Trump enjoys a commanding lead over Governor Ron DeSantis, even in DeSantis’ home state.

According to the poll, if the GOP primary were held today, DeSantis would receive 30.2 percent of the vote from Floridians, placing him ahead of most other rival candidates. However, Trump emerges as the clear frontrunner with 50.3 percent support, holding a substantial 20 percent lead over the nearest competitor.

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In a scenario where all other candidates are excluded, DeSantis polled 37 percent, while Trump maintained a decisive lead with 54 percent, leaving little room for doubt about his enduring popularity within the party.

FAU political science professor Kevin Wagner commented on the poll results, highlighting Trump’s durable support base among white working-class voters, which continues to bolster his strong position within the party. Wagner noted that this consistent backing contributes to Trump’s solid and steady standing in the Republican landscape.

The poll also assessed potential matchups between Trump, DeSantis, and President Joe Biden in Florida. It indicated that Trump would defeat Biden with a 10-point lead of 49 percent versus 39 percent, while DeSantis would fare slightly better, leading Biden with 49 percent to 36 percent.

While these poll results come as a demoralizing revelation for Team Ron, it raises important questions about the challenges DeSantis faces in eroding Trump’s steadfast support. DeSantis, as a rising star in the Republican Party, needs to secure roughly half of Trump’s backing to have a fighting chance. On the other hand, Trump seems to maintain a solid hold on his support base without relying on DeSantis’ endorsement.

DeSantis, when asked about the difficulties he has encountered, attributed them to media narratives that work against his nomination due to fear. He believes the media recognizes his potential to defeat Biden and deliver on critical issues such as border security, tackling drug cartels, curbing the administrative state, and controlling spending.

FAU political scientist Dukhong Kim emphasized the significance of these poll results, suggesting they could serve as a motivator for DeSantis to promote his bid for the Republican primary, as he may emerge as a stronger candidate against the incumbent. Kim also noted that the margin held by either Trump or DeSantis in the poll is larger than the 3.3 percent vote difference observed in the 2020 presidential election, indicating a potential shift towards Florida becoming a safe state for Republicans.

It is crucial for DeSantis to carry his home state in the 2024 GOP primary to gain momentum for the broader race. As the shiny new toy in the room, DeSantis faces the challenge of breaking through Trump’s enduring popularity. The media’s role in shaping narratives surrounding both candidates adds another layer of complexity to DeSantis’ campaign.

The poll, conducted from June 27 to July 1, included a sample of 933 Florida voters. With a margin of error of +/- 3.2 percentage points at the 95-percent confidence level, the survey utilized automated telephone interviews (Smart IVR) for data collection.

The implications of Trump’s lead over DeSantis in Florida extend beyond the state’s borders, raising questions about DeSantis’ ability to compete on a national level in the Republican primary race.