2024 polls show Trump and DeSantis leading the way

February 4, 2023
Robert Ayers

Polling for the 2024 presidential election has Republican candidates in a strong position. 

The top Republican candidates are former President Donald Trump, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), U.S. Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, and former Vice President Mike Pence.

Top Democratic candidates include President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), and others.

There are three questions to consider here: Who's favored to win the 2024 Republican primary? Who's favored to win the 2024 Democratic primary? And, who's favored to win it all?

Let's start with the Republicans:

Trump and DeSantis have consistently been at the top of hypothetical 2024 Republican primary polls for many, many months now. This continues to be the case.

But, now, there is a difference: whereas, before the 2022 midterm elections, Trump dominated the matchup, now some polls actually have DeSantis beating Trump.

A recent national poll from Marquette University, for example, has 64% of voters choosing DeSantis over Trump. And, a recent poll from the University of New Hampshire - an important early state - has DeSantis leading the Republican field with a 42% plurality.

One could just as easily, however, find recent national and local polls where Trump is beating DeSantis. In fact, according to Real Clear Politics, Trump, on average, is ahead of DeSantis by 15.6 percentage points with regard to 2024 Republican primary polls.

What about the Democrats?

Whereas the Republican field clearly appears to be a two-horse race between Trump and DeSantis, the Democratic field is, by and large, led by Biden. Real Clear Politics has Biden up, on average, by 26.3 percentage points over potential Democratic rivals.

A difference between Republican and Democratic 2024 primary polls is that, in the Democratic polls, "other" tends to receive a lot of votes. For example, a December poll from NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist had Biden receiving 35% of the vote, while 27% chose someone other than Biden and the listed candidates.

Accordingly, the perception one gets from the polls is that the voters aren't particularly sold on any of the listed Democratic candidates.

Who's favored to win it all?

Many polls have either DeSantis or Trump or both beating Biden in a head-to-head matchup. A recent poll from Harvard-Harris, for example, has Trump beating Biden by five percentage points and DeSantis beating Biden by three percentage points.

There are still some polls, however, where Biden comes out ahead of Trump or DeSantis or both. In a recent Emerson poll, for example, Biden beat DeSantis by one percentage point, and, in a recent Economist-YouGov poll, Biden beat Trump by four percentage points.

There is still a lot of time between now and the 2024 primaries, and a lot could still change. But, so far, the conclusions that could safely be drawn from the current polls are: Trump or DeSantis is the Republican favorite. Biden is the Democrat favorite. And, any of the three could win it all.

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