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Has Ron DeSantis Already Lost to Donald Trump?

Donald Trump. Image Credit: Creative Commons.
Donald Trump.

Donald Trump, in the latest polls of the Republican contest in 2024, has widened his lead over Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has not yet announced whether he is running

The 2024 Republican nomination contest hasn’t really gotten going yet, with only two major candidates — former President Donald Trump and former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley — in the race so far. But more candidates are expected to enter the race in the coming months, and the polls have continued to be released with both declared candidates as well as those yet to be announced among the polling data. The most recent polls provide good news for former president Donald Trump. 

The Emerson College poll found that Trump has over 50 percent support in the Republican primary. The February poll, released on the last day of the month, had Trump with 55 percent Republican support, followed by 25 percent for DeSantis, 8 percent for former Vice President Mike Pence, 5 percent for Haley, and 1 percent each for South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan. “Someone else” got 4 percent. 

“Trump’s base consists of voters whose highest degree of education is high school or less, among whom 72% support, decreasing to 45% among those with a college degree, and 42% of those with a postgraduate degree, among which he trails DeSantis by two points,” Spencer Kimball, Executive Director of Emerson College Polling, said in the release of the poll. DeSantis, in that poll, is stronger with more educated voters, as well as with voters over 65. 

Trump also leads DeSantis in several other recently released polls, including a new Yahoo News/YouGov poll, where Trump leads 47 percent to 39 percent against the Florida governor. Echelon Insights, a Republican-affiliated firm, has Trump leading DeSantis 46 percent to 31 percent, while the Fox News poll released earlier in the week had Trump leading 48 percent to 21 percent. 

Axios argued that recent news events, such as Trump’s visit to East Palestine, Ohio, have helped his poll standing. The analysis added that Trump’s current and future opponents have been reluctant to criticize him so far, although that is likely to change once the race gets going in earnest. 

“The beginning of the 2024 campaign is feeling similar to the 2016 race when Trump’s GOP rivals assumed he would automatically fade without them doing anything to stunt his momentum,” Axios wrote. 

The Emerson poll also found that 71 percent of Democratic voters think that President Biden should be the Democratic nominee, an increase from 58 percent in the January version of the poll. 

“Biden’s support is highest among Democratic voters under 35: 85% of whom think he should be the nominee. This sentiment decreases to 72% of those between 35 and 49, 61% of those between 50 and 64, and increases to 67% of those over 65,” Kimball said in the release. 

In terms of general election matchups, per Emerson, Trump would lead Biden 46 percent to 42 percent, while Biden leads DeSantis in a potential matchup 44 to 40, and leads Haley 40-37. 

But of course, the caveat applies that it is still very early, most of the potential Republican candidates have not yet entered the race, and the dynamics will likely shift, probably multiple times, before the voting starts. 

Trump, however, bragged on Truth Social about the polling numbers. 

“Our Country is under attack by the Fake News Media, CRIME, and an INVASION at our Southern Border. WE MUST TAKE BACK THE WHITE HOUSE IN 2024, AND MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!,” Trump posted while attaching a screenshot of the Emerson poll. 

The version of the poll on Emerson’s site, for some reason, omits Sen. Tim Scott’s 2 percent, which is included in Trump’s screenshot. 

Also, the Emerson release says 35 percent of respondents believe the U.S. has given the “right amount of aid” to Ukraine, 31 percent say too much aid, and 21 percent say not enough. And for some reason, the poll also found that the “majority of adults under 35 consider professional wrestling to be a ‘real sport.’”

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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.