Recent survey data indicates a strong preference for ex-President Donald Trump over Governor Ron DeSantis in the upcoming 2024 Republican primaries, even within DeSantis’ home state of Florida.
The Florida Atlantic University Mainstreet PolCom Lab carried out the survey, which revealed that in a hypothetical GOP presidential primary conducted today, DeSantis would secure 30.2% of the vote from Florida residents, a sizeable lead over most other potential candidates. Trump, though, secures 50.3% of the votes from state primary voters, a lead of just over 20% over DeSantis, the closest contender.
To give further context, the survey also asked respondents who their choice would be if the primary were limited to Trump and DeSantis. DeSantis secured 37% in this scenario, while Trump sustained a clear lead of 54%, with an undecided vote of 8%.
“The survey underscores the enduring support for Donald Trump,” comments Kevin Wagner, a political science professor at FAU. “He particularly resonates with white, working-class voters, who have unwaveringly served as a loyal base for the former President. This unwavering support continues to sustain Trump’s firm position within the party.”
The survey further reinforced Trump’s strong hold over a segment of the GOP, with about one-fifth of Republicans indicating that backing any other candidate would be “disloyal.” This response comes amidst ongoing speculations about DeSantis’ capacity to compete against Trump, as his campaign struggles to make significant strides.
On a positive note for DeSantis, the survey shows a seven-percent decrease in the gap between him and Trump since the last FAU and Mainstreet poll results from April. Given this narrowing gap and DeSantis’ current approval rating of 54% among Floridians, it remains possible that the competition between him and Trump may become more intense over time.
The survey also compared the potential performance of Trump and DeSantis against current President Joe Biden in Florida. According to the results, Trump would win against Biden with 49% to Biden’s 39%. DeSantis, however, would outperform this, defeating Biden by a margin of 49% to 36%.