In a hypothetical GOP primary contest, former President Trump leads Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) by a margin of 17 points. Trump received 48 percent of the possible Republican primary voters’ support, followed by DeSantis with 31 percent, according to a Morning Consult poll released on Wednesday. Trump’s status as the front-runner diverges from some surveys conducted since the midterm elections in November, which showed DeSantis reducing the gap with Trump or even seizing the lead in some instances.
Former Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) was second with 3%, followed by former Vice President Mike Pence with 8%. Nikki Haley, a former American ambassador to the UN, and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) both earned 2% of the vote.
In recent Morning Consult polls, Trump’s support has remained between 45 and 50 percent, while DeSantis’ support has been centered around 30 percent.
DeSantis is by far the second choice among Trump supporters in the most recent survey, with 44% of their support. Pence would receive almost 20% of the vote, while Cruz would receive 7%.
A little more than a third of DeSantis backers would select Trump as their second option, followed by 14% for Pence and 13% for Haley.
With 77 percent of possible Republican primary voters viewing him favorably, pollsters discovered that Trump’s favorability rating has increased over the previous month. For the first time in almost a month, Trump’s net favorability rating—calculated by subtracting the percentage of people who think favorably of him from the number who think poorly of him—passed 50% in the Morning Consult poll. Nearly 7 out of 10 prospective voters think favorably of DeSantis.
Potential voters who have a negative opinion of each of them favor DeSantis. Only 11% of respondents indicated they had a negative opinion of DeSantis, compared to 23% who had a negative opinion of Trump.
The poll did indicate that, in a fictitious general election contest, DeSantis would fare somewhat better than Trump versus President Biden. Biden topped Trump by 3 points, 43 percent to 40 percent, while DeSantis led both candidates by 3 points, 44 to 41 percent.
A majority of respondents—more than two thirds—said they had not heard anything recently about any of the other potential candidates, according to pollsters.
In November, Trump entered the race as the first significant Republican contender, but a number of other well-known Republicans have said they’re thinking about it. DeSantis has not publicly declared his intentions to run for president, but he has been the focus of extensive rumors.
Between January 13 and January 15, a survey of 829 prospective Republican primary voters was performed. There was a 4 percentage point error margin.
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