Former US President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally with supporters in Davenport, Iowa, US on March 13, 2023.
Jonathan Ernst | Reuters
Donald Trump widening his lead over Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who will likely start as the former president’s top challenger in the 2024 Republican presidential primary if he runs. vote of the potential GOP field released Wednesday.
The latest Quinnipiac University poll of Republican-to-Republican voters found Trump with 46% support in a hypothetical GOP primary field, with DeSantis at 32%.
That’s a welcome change for Trump, who had just a 6 percent lead over DeSantis in Quinnipiac’s. February poll future primary field. The ex-president led his potential rival at the time by a margin of 42% to 36%.
When asked who they would support in a head-to-head battle between Trump and DeSantis in the new poll, 51% of respondents chose the former president, compared to 40% who chose the governor.
“DeSantis might be the buzzword of the GOP conversation, but Trump is seeing no erosion yet and is actually enjoying an increase in his lead in the Republican primaries,” Quinnipiac University poll analyst Tim Malloy said in a statement.
Quinnipiac’s results from 677 Republican and GOP voters had a margin of error of 3.8 percentage points.
The new poll comes as DeSantis faces increasing fire from Trump and other presidential candidates as his national profile rises. Florida’s governor has yet to announce his widely-anticipated presidential campaign, but he has taken some early steps to indicate he may soon launch a bid.
At a rally in Iowa on Monday, Trump criticized DeSantis over his record on ethanol, an angle that he seemed to be fiddling among a crowd of his supporters in the nation’s largest corn-producing state.
Earlier Wednesday, the pro-Trump super PAC announced it had made the request to a Florida ethics panel explore DeSantis and possibly disqualify him from voting if he is found to have violated state laws.
Meanwhile, former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, another GOP presidential candidate, accused DeSantis of “copying“Trump after saying this week that Ukraine’s defense against Russian invasion was not”vital“U.S. interest. DeSantis’ notes were even picking up.” criticism from many Republican senators.
Haley, the former South Carolina governor who launched her presidential bid last month, had 5 percent support in the latest Quinnipiac poll. Former Vice President Mike Pence, who is considering a run for the White House, received 3% of respondents’ support.
None of the 11 other candidates in the hypothetical GOP primary field polled more than 2% of remaining support.
Of the total 1,635 registered voters polled in the latest poll, 49% said they would vote for the president Joe Biden over Trump if the 2024 election were held today. Another 45% said they would support the former president over a Democrat incumbent.
However, respondents split their support almost perfectly in a hypothetical matchup between Biden and DeSantis. In this possible race, 47% supported the president, while 46% supported the governor.
Questions for self-identified registered voters had a margin of error of 2.4 percentage points.
Biden is expected to run for re-election, potentially setting him up for a rematch with Trump, who he lost in 2020. Quinnipiac found that larger shares of registered voters have negative than positive views of Biden, Trump, DeSantis, Pence and Haley .