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Donald Trump Should Fear Ron DeSantis

Donald Trump
Donald Trump speaking with supporters at a campaign rally at the Phoenix Convention Center in Phoenix, Arizona.

According to a new Club For Growth poll, Donald Trump would lead a multi-candidate presidential race on the Republican side. But the bad news: Ron Desantis is beating him in a one-on-one matchup. 

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Donald Trump: The Good News and Bad News 

The polls, at least so far in the Republican contest for president in 2024, are all over the place, at least according to an analysis published last week by the New York Times’s Nate Cohn. Those polls, Cohn said, are “exceptionally divided,” placing former President Donald Trump with anywhere between 25 and 55 percent support, depending on how questions are asked and the methodologies of the individual polls. 

Now, a new poll, conducted by a prominent conservative group, has Trump in the lead in a multi-candidate race – but behind in a two-person race. 

According to CBS News, the poll was conducted by Club for Growth Action, placing Trump in the lead with 37 percent support in a multi-candidate race. But Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is not far behind, in second place with 33 percent. No other candidate is above single digits, per the poll. 

Former Vice President Mike Pence is in third place with 7 percent, and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley is in fourth with 5 percent. Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) has 2 percent, while former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin each have 1 percent. The “undecided” number for the poll is 14 percent. 

However, in a head-to-head race between Trump and DeSantis, the Florida governor leads the ex-president by 9 points. 

Among respondents describing themselves as “very conservative,” Trump leads DeSantis in the poll by 16 percent. Among those self-identifying as “somewhat conservative,” DeSantis leads Trump by 6. 

Of those mentioned, only Trump has formally entered the race, although Haley is expected to announce her candidacy later this month. 

Trump Still King of the GOP? 

“Trump still has a very strong pull,” Club for Growth Action president and former Congressman Dave McIntosh told the press upon release of the poll. “If you have a diverse field against him, DeSantis lags behind him.”

Club For Growth Action is the Super PAC associated with the Club For Growth. The latter group, per CBS, has had an “icy” relationship with Trump of late. The group has not made an endorsement in the 2024 race, although its leader did directly praise DeSantis in the CBS story. 

“We haven’t decided to endorse anybody… what the Club believes the Republican Party should do is make sure whoever we nominate will actually win [in the general election],” McIntosh told CBS. “I think that means the party should be open to looking at a different candidate. DeSantis is in the strongest position.” 

Meanwhile, per CNN, another popular conservative institution has gone all-in against Trump for 2024. 

The Americans for Prosperity Action, which is affiliated with the Koch network, wrote in a memo this week that it plans to back a single Republican candidate in the primaries- and per CNN, the group has confirmed that it will not be backing Trump in 2024. 

“To write a new chapter for our country, we need to turn the page on the past. So the best thing for the country would be to have a president in 2025 who represents a new chapter,” Emily Seidel, CEO of Americans for Prosperity, wrote in the memo. “The American people have shown that they’re ready to move on, and so AFP will help them do that.”

The memo was also critical of Republican decisions in the recent past. 

“Here’s the hard truth as I see it,” Seidel wrote. “The Republican Party is nominating bad candidates who are advocating for things that go against core American principles. And the American people are rejecting them. The Democratic Party increasingly sees this as a political opportunity. And they’re responding with more and more extreme policies – policies that also go against our core American principles.”

AFP, therefore, plans to “get involved in elections earlier and in more primaries.”

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Expertise and Experience: 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.

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