Trump trounces DeSantis in potential GOP primary match-up, new poll finds

18 January 2023

(The Hill) — Former President Donald Trump holds a 17-point lead over Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) in a hypothetical GOP primary match-up, according to a new poll. 

A Morning Consult poll released Wednesday showed Trump with 48 percent support among potential Republican primary voters, followed by DeSantis with 31 percent. Trump’s front-runner position differs from some polls since the November midterm elections, which have shown DeSantis closing the gap with Trump or taking a lead in some cases. 

Former Vice President Mike Pence came in third with 8 percent, followed by former Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) with 3 percent. Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) both received 2 percent. 

Trump’s support in Morning Consult polls over the past month has stayed between 45 and 50 percent, while DeSantis has hovered around 30 percent.

Among Trump voters in the most recent poll, DeSantis is comfortably the second choice, with 44 percent backing the Florida governor. About 20 percent would support Pence, and 7 percent would back Cruz. 

Just over a third of DeSantis supporters would vote for Trump as their second choice, while 14 percent would support Pence and 13 percent would back Haley. 

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Pollsters found Trump’s favorability rating among potential Republican primary voters to be improving over the past month, with 77 percent having a favorable view of him. Trump’s net favorability rating, taken from subtracting the percentage who view him unfavorably from the percentage who view him favorably, passed 50 percent in the Morning Consult polling for the first time in almost a month.

Almost 7 in 10 potential voters have a favorable view of DeSantis. 

DeSantis has an advantage among potential voters who view each of them unfavorably. Only 11 percent said they view DeSantis unfavorably, while 23 percent said they view Trump unfavorably.

The poll did show that DeSantis would perform somewhat better against President Joe Biden in a hypothetical general election match-up than Trump would. DeSantis led Biden by 3 points, 44 percent to 41 percent, while Biden led Trump by 3 points, 43 percent to 40 percent. 

Pollsters found two-thirds or more of respondents said they have not heard anything recently about any of the other potential candidates. 

Trump became the first major Republican candidate to jump in the race in November, but several other prominent Republicans have indicated they are considering running. DeSantis has not made a public announcement but has been the subject of heavy speculation surrounding presidential ambitions. 

The poll was conducted from Jan. 13 to 15 among 829 potential Republican primary voters. The margin of error was 4 percentage points.

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