Republicans are increasingly favoring Florida Governor Ron DeSantis over the former president as their top 2024 candidate
Polls suggest that former US President Donald Trump has lost so much voter support in recent weeks that in one state, he has fallen behind not only Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, his top potential rival for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, but also trails a congresswoman who was just voted out of office.
Just 14.6% of Utah voters said they would vote for Trump if the state's presidential primary election were held today, according to a Desert News/Hinkley Institute of Politics poll conducted November 18-23. DeSantis was the leading candidate, with support from 24.2% of voters, while 16.4% of respondents chose Representative Liz Cheney, who was so unpopular in her home state of Wyoming that she lost by 37 percentage points in her congressional primary. Among Utah Republican voters, Trump trailed DeSantis by an even larger margin, at 33.1% to 21.1%.
DeSantis, who hasn't yet declared his 2024 candidacy, also leads Trump by large margins in four key primary states - Iowa, New Hampshire, Florida and Georgia - according to November 14 polling by the Club for Growth conservative policy group.
Trump was the Republican frontrunner for 2024 at least as recently as August, but his political support has weakened since several of the candidates he backed in last month's midterm congressional elections fared worse than expected. Republicans managed to secure a nine-seat majority in the House, but they failed to regain control of the Senate, and Trump-backed gubernatorial candidates lost their elections in 10 states.
In Iowa, Trump led DeSantis by a margin of 52-37 in August. On the heels of the midterms, polling last month showed that DeSantis took a 48-37 lead. The top two contenders were tied at 45-45 as of August in New Hampshire. One week after the midterms, DeSantis had a 52-37 lead.
Similarly, a Republican Party poll in Texas showed that DeSantis was the top GOP candidate, leading Trump by a 43-32 margin. Asked how they would vote if Trump dropped out of the race, 66% of respondents favored DeSantis, trouncing a field in which the nearest contender, former Vice President Mike Pence, stood at 8%. Pennsylvania Republicans favor DeSantis over Trump by a 45-40 margin, a separate poll showed.
Polling by Marquette University Law School showed DeSantis faring better than Trump in a hypothetical 2024 matchup with President Joe Biden. DeSantis and Biden were tied at 42-42, the poll found, while the incumbent led Trump by a 44-34 margin.