Club for Growth, who conducted the poll, found that DeSantis earned 49 percent of total support.
Not invited? Donald Trump.
“What the club believes the Republican Party should do is make sure whoever we nominate will actually win,” Dave McIntosh, Club for Growth president, said. “The party should be open to looking at a different candidate. DeSantis is in the strongest position.”
Donald Trump Raises Electability Questions
Donald Trump’s fall has, in part, facilitated Ron DeSantis’s rise.
The former president is embroiled in several scandals, investigations, and lawsuits – all of which seem to be fatiguing conservative voters, as the Club for Growth poll suggests.
Another poll, from ABC and The Washington Post, corroborated the idea that Trump’s hold on the GOP is fading; the poll showed that Republican voters were “split between wanting to move on from Trump and believe he should be the nominee in 2024.”
Trump remains popular with voters who identify as very conservative. But more mainstream Republicans are growing tired of the scandal-plagued, compulsively brash real estate mogul. Trump fatigue and revulsion aside, more practical concerns are troubling conservative voters – namely, the simple fact that Trump has trouble winning elections. Trump lost the 2020 election (by 7 million votes) and more recently, was demolished in the 2022 midterms, when all but one of his battleground endorsees were defeated. The string of election losses leaves conservative voters with a pressing question: can Trump win another presidential election?
McIntosh doesn’t think so. “The last three elections show that he’s lost.”
DeSantis Emerging as the Frontrunner
DeSantis does not raise the electability questions that Trump raises. DeSantis just won his gubernatorial campaign – over Charlie Crist, a former Republican governor of Florida running as a Democrat – with a 20-point margin. (Note: Trump, also a Floridian, won Florida in 2020 with about a three-point margin.)
DeSantis is quickly emerging as a conservative darling, thanks to a string of high-profile political stunts that conservatives have eaten up. Specifically, DeSantis flouted CDC COVID guidelines in the early days of the pandemic; DeSantis signed the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill into law; DeSantis confronted Disney; and most unusually, DeSantis chartered a plane, filled the plane with migrants, and flew the plane to liberal elite’s favorite vacation spot, Martha’s Vineyard.
DeSantis and Trump Will Have Competition
The 2024 GOP primary is shaping up to be a crowded field. Several prominent figures are posturing to run. And while Trump remains the only figure who has actually announced his candidacy, more will follow. Nikki Haley, former South Carolina governor and former UN Ambassador, is expected to declare any day. Mike Pence, former vice president, is also expected to run – which will put him at odds with his former boss, President Trump. Mike Pompeo, former director of the CIA, will run. So will Tim Scott, South Carolina Senator.
Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Glenn Youngkin, Josh Hawley – they all could run, too.
Harrison Kass is the Senior Editor at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, Harrison joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison holds a BA from Lake Forest College, a JD from the University of Oregon, and an MA from New York University. Harrison lives in Oregon and listens to Dokken.