Recent polls show that former President Donald Trump is the early favorite to receive the GOP nomination in the 2024 presidential race with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis trailing him in the top tier of prospective candidates
While Trump appears positioned to outperform President Joe Biden in a hypothetical match-up, however, a new survey suggests DeSantis might not fare so well.
Many voters remain undecided
According to the Harvard/Harris poll conducted between Nov. 30 and Dec. 2, the Florida governor not only trails Biden but also historically unpopular Vice President Kamala Harris.
Pollsters asked 1,989 respondents which candidate they would support in various head-to-head races if the election were held that day.
When pitted against Biden, the president received 43% of the vote and DeSantis received 36%. The results were similar in a mock match-up between DeSantis and Harris with the GOP contender trailing by a margin of 42-37.
Of course, the response “don’t know/unsure” also received a large percentage of the vote.
The same poll bolstered early indicators that Trump remains the overwhelming favorite to win the next GOP presidential primary. He received 67% of the support in that mock race, followed by former Vice President Mike Pence at 9% and DeSantis in third with 8%.
“It’s policy and it’s partly stylistic”
When Trump is removed from the equation, DeSantis moved to first place with 30% of the vote, followed by Pence who received support from 1 in 4 respondents.
Unlike the Florida governor, pollsters determined that Trump would defeat both Biden and Harris in a hypothetical race.
Against Biden, the former president dominated with a 48-37 lead with 15% unsure. Against Harris, he led 50-41 with 9% unsure.
Thus far, it is unclear exactly why support for DeSantis is polling so much lower than Trump. It could be as simple as the fact that the governor is not as familiar to voters on a national scale as the other names. DeSantis has seen his profile within the GOP rise throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, however.
As Josh Holmes, a top aide to Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), explained in February, “Ron DeSantis is having a moment with conservatives. Part of this is liberals tried to cast this in the yin and yang comparisons with [Former Democratic New York Gov. Andrew] Cuomo. … It’s policy and it’s partly stylistic, the way he handles the news media and his blue-collar appeal.”