Donald Trump’s Lead Surges in Polls Despite Legal Woes and Ditching Debate – Former President Donald Trump has widened his lead over Republican nomination rivals in recent polls, even after his surrender on charges related to the 2020 election in Georgia and his absence from the first GOP primary debate.
Ron DeSantis In The Dust
Donald Trump’s commanding advantage is evident across various surveys, leaving his closest competitor, Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida, trailing in the dust.
This surge in support for Trump follows a consistent trend where he has seen increased polling numbers and fundraising success with each legal indictment this year. From the hush-money case in New York to the classified documents case in Florida and the federal 2020 election subversion case in Washington, Trump’s popularity appears undiminished.
This development suggests that DeSantis’s primary campaign arguments, particularly his claim of being more electable than Trump, have not resonated strongly with likely Republican voters, despite his opportunity to make a mark during the recent debate in Trump’s absence.
According to a recent Coefficient survey, Trump maintains a significant lead over his rivals, polling at 58% among approximately 2,700 likely Republican primary voters, compared to DeSantis at 13%. This represents a three-point increase in Trump’s lead since the beginning of the month, with no other candidate surpassing the 10% mark.
Voters’ Changing Perceptions of Trump’s Legal Troubles
The Coefficient findings align with a Morning Consult poll, which also shows Trump at 58%, DeSantis at 14%, and no other candidate breaking the 10% threshold.
Even if all other candidates were to withdraw, leaving a unified opposition against Trump, the former president would still secure victory in a hypothetical head-to-head race against DeSantis by nearly a two-to-one margin, at 62% to 23%.
Interestingly, in the days following Trump’s surrender in Fulton County, the number of voters who believed in his guilt regarding the charges decreased by 11%. Nonetheless, the majority, 74%, continued to believe that Trump’s indictment was part of an effort to prevent his presidential run.
These results arrive less than six months before the first 2024 primary contest, with Trump’s political future still subject to change as he deals with legal battles nationwide, potentially diverting him from the campaign trail.
Monday brought news that the federal judge overseeing Trump’s special counsel prosecution, related to his efforts to overturn the 2020 election, scheduled the trial to begin on March 4, 2024, just one day before Super Tuesday, which includes Republican primaries or caucuses in 15 states.
Both Trump and DeSantis enjoy favorable ratings among likely Republican primary voters, with 75% and 62%, respectively. However, the intensity of Trump’s approval stands out, with 54% holding a “very favorable” opinion of the former president, compared to 19% for DeSantis.
Georgia Gilholy is a journalist based in the United Kingdom who has been published in Newsweek, The Times of Israel, and the Spectator. Gilholy writes about international politics, culture, and education.
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