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Is Donald Trump Unstoppable in the GOP?

Donald Trump speaking at CPAC 2011 in Washington, D.C.
Donald Trump speaking at CPAC 2011 in Washington, D.C.

Is Donald Trump cruising toward the GOP nomination? When it comes to considering the 2024 presidential contest, it’s early.

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But it’s not quite that early. 

The first voting in the 2024 primaries and caucuses is just over a year away. One candidate, former President Donald Trump, has already announced that he’s in, and we’re at the point in the cycle where politicians who appear on Sunday talk shows usually must answer lines of questioning about whether they are running for president. This happened most recently with South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem’s appearance on Fox News last weekend. 

Morning Consult has now released a poll of the Republican presidential field in 2024, and it shows that Trump continues to lead the field with 46 percent. 

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is second, with 33 percent, and no other candidate is in double digits. Former Vice President Mike Pence is third with 9 percent, followed by former Congresswoman Liz Cheney with 3 percent, and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) tied for fifth with 2 percent each.

 Three other candidates — Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) — are polling at 1 percent each, while Noem and Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin are polling at zero percent. “Someone else” got 1 percent. 

Of those listed in the poll, only Trump has officially announced his candidacy, although several others in the field have hinted subtly, and sometimes not so subtly, that they are looking at getting into the race. 

“Just over a year out from the Republican Party’s first presidential nominating contest, Trump remains the front-runner in a hypothetical crowded field, backed by 46% of potential Republican primary voters. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is expected to launch a campaign later this year, is backed by 33% of the potential GOP electorate,” the Morning Consult said in the release of the poll. 

Morning Consult added that Trump’s favorability rating is worsening among the GOP base. 

Donald Trump and DeSantis’ percentages of the vote have mostly held steady over the course of the last month since the tracking poll launched at the start of December, although Trump has lost a couple of percentage points and DeSantis has gained a couple. None of the other candidates have gained much traction thus far. 

Of course, the race hasn’t really started yet. The candidates are, for the most part, not yet campaigning, there are no TV commercials or debates, and most voters aren’t really paying attention to the race yet. 

Morning Consult also has a “Second Choices” poll, in which respondents are asked who their second choice is. Among those whose first choice is Trump, DeSantis got 44 percent, followed by Pence with 20 percent, Cruz with 8 percent, and Haley with 3 percent. Among those with DeSantis as their first choice, 35 percent had Trump as their second, followed by Pence with 15 percent, Haley with 11 percent, and Cruz with 9 percent. 

As for a hypothetical race against President Biden in 2024?

Morning Consult found that Trump trails in a potential head-to-head 44 percent to 41 percent, while DeSantis would tie with Biden at 43 percent each. In both scenarios, a significant number of respondents answered either “don’t know” or “someone else.” 

“With just under two years until Election Day, this metric may be best considered as a test of electability — a key issue in party primaries that carries all the more significance this time around given concerns about Trump’s baggage,” Morning Consult said. 

Once again, the first voting is over a year away, and the general election is nearly two years away. A lot could happen, from a Trump indictment to other candidates surprisingly opting out to some out-of-nowhere candidate emerging and catching fire.

And this is, of course, only one poll. But as of now, it looks like Trump is clearly in the lead in his quest to become the Republican presidential nominee for the third cycle in a row. 

Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.

Written By

Stephen Silver is a journalist, essayist, and film critic, who is also a contributor to Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review, and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.