A new poll shows Florida Republicans favor former President Donald Trump over Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, especially regarding loyalty.
According to a Mainstreet PolCom Lab poll by Florida Atlantic University, DeSantis and Trump are both popular among Floridians, but Trump maintains a 20 percent lead over DeSantis among statewide GOP primary voters.
According to the data released by FAU, Trump raked in the support of 50 percent of GOP primary voters compared to DeSantis’ 30 percent.
Asked if the GOP Presidential Primary were held today, which candidate would you vote for, 54 percent of GOP registered voters in the state chose Trump compared to 37 percent for DeSantis.
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“The poll highlights Donald Trump’s quite durable support. He does especially well with white working-class voters, who have consistently formed a steadfast base for the former president,” said Kevin Wagner, Ph.D., professor of political science at FAU, to report Lisa Metcalf at FAU. “This persistent support continues to bolster Trump’s strong and steady position within the party.”
According to FAU, 1 in 5 Florida Republicans see “supporting a candidate” other than Trump in the primaries as disloyal, “posing a challenging environment for any contender” seeking to challenge the former president’s dominance.
However, according to the FAU data, DeSantis has gained 7 points since the April poll results, tightening the race in the GOP primary among Florida Republican voters.
The poll shows that DeSantis would defeat Biden by 13 percent (49 percent vs. 36 percent) among Floridians, which is 3 points higher than the 10 percent lead Trump has over the president.
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The survey also found that 54 percent of Floridians “strongly” or “somewhat” approve of DeSantis’ job as governor.
“These poll results could be an important motivator for DeSantis to promote his bid for the Republican primary, as he may be a stronger candidate against the incumbent,” Dukhong Kim, Ph.D., associate professor of political science at FAU, told reporter Lisa Metcalf. “The poll indicates that the margin held by Trump or DeSantis at this time is larger than the 3.3 percent vote difference observed in the 2020 presidential election, suggesting that Florida is shifting toward becoming a safe state for Republicans.”
In late June, Fox News host Martha MacCallum asked DeSantis about his chances in the upcoming 2024 primaries, with Trump holding a significant lead in the national polls.
DeSantis trails Trump in New Hampshire by 28 percentage points at 19% to the former president’s 47%, according to a Saint Anselm College Survey Center poll. MacCallum pressed DeSantis about his declining poll numbers after he held an event in the state.
“You were just in New Hampshire,” MacCallum said. “New polling shows the former president at 47%. You’re at 19%, which is a little lower than prior to this. Christie, Haley, and Scott picked up a point. Are you frustrated by the polling you’re seeing so far?”
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DeSantis responded that his campaign planned on focusing on Biden, saying that “Republicans need to win elections again” and that voters should “stay tuned.” MacCallum tried to direct the conversation back to New Hampshire, saying, “I understand, sir. But you have to –” before DeSantis cut her off.
“What I’m saying, Martha, when we were in New Hampshire, New Hampshire voters want to meet you,” DeSantis said. “They want to see you. They’re not going to say ‘I’m pulling for this person’ without doing it. We’re building support. People are appreciative of my story and philosophy. We’ll get it done, this is a long road and Rome wasn’t built in a day.”
MacCallum continued to press DeSantis on how he planned to overcome such a gap, saying that Trump is “dominant right now, and a lot of people would like to knock him off.” She also pointed to Trump’s comments criticizing the Florida governor for hosting an event in New Hampshire on the same day that he did.
“He didn’t appreciate that,” MacCallum noted. “What do you say to him about that?”
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DeSantis said Trump’s reaction was “bizarre” and that “it’s a big state,” before pointing out that the primaries were still a long way off.
“A lot of voters will pay more attention in the fall and the winter,” DeSantis said. “That’s just the reality. Our goal is to build the type of operation we need, introduce ourselves to as many people as we can when it goes to crunch time, be able to turn on the juice and get the job done. We’re doing that in all the early states and we have a better presence on the ground than any candidate has and we’ll continue to build that.”
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