In a recent poll, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) and conservative entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy are both tied for the second spot in the Republican presidential race. According to the Emerson College poll, DeSantis and Ramaswamy each received 10 percent of the support, trailing behind former President Trump, who holds the lead with 56 percent. While DeSantis has maintained his second-place position from earlier polls, he has experienced a significant drop from his June rating of 21 percent. On the other hand, Ramaswamy’s standing has risen from a mere 2 percent during that time.
The poll’s release coincides with the emergence of a leaked memo from the super PAC backing DeSantis’ campaign, Never Back Down. The memo encourages DeSantis to aggressively challenge Ramaswamy’s position, given that some polls suggest Ramaswamy is gaining ground and several other candidates are also gaining momentum behind DeSantis.
Ramaswamy took to X (formerly known as Twitter) to respond to the memo, dismissing it as a routine and uninspiring attack from the super PAC. He referred to it as a “Robot Ron” move, employing pre-programmed attack lines for the upcoming debate.
Spencer Kimball, the Executive Director of Emerson College Polling, highlighted that Ramaswamy has garnered more support from voters with postgraduate degrees, securing 17 percent of this demographic, and among younger voters below the age of 35, where he has secured 16 percent. Meanwhile, DeSantis’ support among postgraduate voters has decreased from 38 percent in June to 14 percent, and he only commands 15 percent of the under-35 voter group.
The poll release indicates that DeSantis’ decline is comparable to the results of Emerson’s New Hampshire poll, which showed former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R) surpassing DeSantis by a slight margin, essentially creating a statistical tie for second place in the state.
The poll also revealed a more stable level of support among Ramaswamy’s backers compared to those supporting DeSantis. Nearly half of Ramaswamy’s supporters expressed unwavering commitment to vote for him, whereas only a third of DeSantis’ backers shared the same certainty. In contrast, over 80 percent of Trump’s supporters confirmed their intention to vote for him.
The upcoming first Republican primary debate presents a significant opportunity for DeSantis, Ramaswamy, and other GOP presidential contenders to distinguish themselves on a national platform, particularly in light of Trump’s apparent decision to skip the event. An overwhelming majority—more than 80 percent—of Republican primary voters have expressed their intent to watch the debate.
The poll, which was conducted from August 16 to 17, encompassed 1,000 registered voters, including 465 individuals who stated their intention to participate in their state’s Republican primary or caucus. The credibility interval for the poll results was 3 points.