early and often

Trump Is Losing Ground to DeSantis in Poll After Poll

Photo: John Raoux/AP/Shutterstock

The latest example of Florida governor Ron DeSantis’s burgeoning 2024 strength comes out of Michigan.

In a survey put out by WDIV and Detroit News, DeSantis trails former President Trump by a mere three points, 45-42, among likely Republican voters. While Trump still dominates among non-college-educated voters (whom he loves), DeSantis cleans up with the college-educated, making it a tight race. And only 64 percent of the state’s Republican primary voters want Trump to run again, per the poll. This is a particularly heavy blow for Trump, who has claimed repeatedly that he won a nonexistent Michigan “Man of the Year” award. It’s also part of an unmistakable trend.

Trump remains hugely popular among Republicans, and continues to beat DeSantis (and other contenders like Mike Pence and Nikki Haley) in every national head-to-head poll. But state polls have been telling a different story, and even his national standing is slipping at least somewhat.

Beyond the Michigan survey, a June Granite State Poll of New Hampshire found DeSantis with a two-point lead in the key early-primary state, after having trailed by 28 points a year ago. A recent Victory Insights poll of Florida found DeSantis ahead by 21 points in his home state, and a Blueprint Polling survey found him with a 12-point lead in Florida a few days earlier. Granted, neither of these are well-known outfits, it’s never good to overinterpret one or two polls, and, historically, it has not been a smart idea to proclaim Trump’s diminishment in the GOP.

But the numbers are reflective of both statistical and anecdotal evidence that Republican voters may want more options in 2024. A New York Times poll last week showed Trump beating DeSantis 49-25 nationally — but also found that nearly half of Republican voters want someone else in 2024. A recent Yahoo News/YouGov poll showed DeSantis down by only nine nationally, the first single-digit national result thus far.

Over the last few months, DeSantis has solidified his national image with his high-profile battles against the scientific Establishment and the supposed specter critical race theory, winning the backing of a large portion of the GOP media Establishment. Trump, on the other hand, has had his extreme behavior dissected at the blockbuster January 6 hearings, which may have damaged him in the eyes of some supporters:

For his part, Trump recently told New York that he doesn’t consider DeSantis a rival — then added that DeSantis had only won his race for governor because of Trump’s endorsement, and cited a poll in which he soundly beat the Florida governor in a 2024 matchup. Trump’s attempt at a laissez-faire attitude is belied by his apparent strategy to declare his candidacy before the midterms, in a clear attempt to clear the Republican field early. The former president may not admit it, but he knows he’s in for a tough race.

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Trump Is Losing Ground to DeSantis in Poll After Poll