Emerson College has conducted a new poll that indicates Trump is the frontrunner to win the GOP’s 2024 nomination.
The poll, which established a hypothetical 10-person Republican primary, found Trump was 30 points ahead of the second-place finisher, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis; Trump scored 55 percent of the total vote, whereas DeSantis scored 25 percent of the vote.
None of the other eight candidates broke the double-digit threshold.
Former Vice President Mike Pence finished in third with just 8 percent of the vote. Nikki Haley, the former UN Ambassador who made headlines earlier this month with her campaign commencement, managed just 5 percent of the vote.
The results suggest Trump is very much still in the race for the nomination. And that DeSantis may have a more difficult path to the nomination than earlier polls suggested.
So, the question is: will DeSantis run?
Ron DeSantis Surveys the Field
“DeSantis hasn’t formally announced a presidential bid yet, though he’s actively preparing for a likely campaign,” The Hill reported. “Recent polls show him leading Trump in hypothetical head-to-head matchups, though Trump remains the frontrunner when other candidates are included.”
Especially considering that the GOP field is expected to be crowded. Haley has already declared her candidacy. Pence, Mike Pompeo, Tim Scott, and several others are expected to run, too.
So, Ron DeSantis will not be running in the format that most favors his candidacy: head-to-head with Trump.
Trump has stubbornly clung to relevance – mostly through his lingering popularity amongst voters without college degrees. According to the Emerson College poll, 72 percent of voters “whose highest level of education is high school or less” said they would vote for Trump.
DeSantis, on the other hand, tracks better than Trump amongst college-degree-holding voters. DeSantis also edges out Trump amongst voters over the age of 65, where DeSantis receives 43 percent of voters to Trump’s 39 percent.
DeSantis Will Need to Consider Biden
Even if DeSantis can wrestle the GOP nomination from Trump, he will need to be wary of the likely Democratic nominee, incumbent President Joe Biden. In hypothetical general election matchup, DeSantis loses to Biden by 4 points.
Nothing is certain of course but the general election polls, and the mere fact that DeSantis would need to dislodge an incumbent president from the White House, could give the ascendant DeSantis pause.
He’s a young guy who has become a GOP darling. He’s going to get a shot at the presidency.
But not many people get a second shot. Richard Nixon got a second shot, after losing to John F. Kennedy in 1960. And Trump may get another shot after losing to Joe Biden in 2020.
But typically, when a candidate loses a presidential general election, they are set out to pasture. Michael Dukakis, Bob Dole, John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, George H. Bush. It’s uncommon for general election losers to get another kick at the can.
DeSantis knows this and may not want to expend his opportunity against an entrenched incumbent.
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 listens to Dokken.