Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis holds a substantial lead over former President Donald Trump among likely Republican voters, according to a poll released Wednesday.
If the election were held today, 52% of likely Republican voters said they would support DeSantis, and only 38% said they would support Trump, according to The Wall Street Journal poll. Similarly, 86% reported having a favorable view of DeSantis, while only 74% said they have a favorable view of Trump.
Among all 1,500 respondents, 43% viewed DeSantis favorably, and 36% viewed Trump favorably, according to the poll. Trump received the lowest favorability rating recorded by the Wall Street Journal since favorability polling began in November 2021, according to the poll. (RELATED: ‘A Wake-Up Call For The Republican Party’: Former Trump Advisor Reacts To Walker Loss)
Another recent poll by USA Today showed that DeSantis has a large lead over Trump, as 56% of respondents chose DeSantis as their top Republican presidential nominee, compared to only 33% who chose Trump. DeSantis’s 23% lead is among the widest recorded differentials between the two candidates.
Trump’s overall Republican favorability has fallen from 85% in March to 74% now, and unfavorable views have risen from 13% to 23%, according to the poll.
DeSantis hasn’t launched an official campaign, but the two politicians have sparred over the last few months, with Trump mocking DeSantis by calling him “Ron DeSanctimonious” at a November rally. DeSantis appeared to respond to Trump’s remarks while speaking to a reporter in November, saying that you take “incoming fire” when you are getting things done.
“One of the things I’ve learned in this job is when you’re leading, when you’re getting things done, yeah, you take in incoming fire,” DeSantis said. “That’s just the nature of it. I roll out of bed in the morning, I’ve got corporate media outlets that have a spasm just the fact that I’m getting up in the morning, and it’s constantly attacking, and this is just what’s happened.”
Following Trump’s Camping announcement in November, many GOP donors, who had previously backed the candidate, began to remove their support. Republican donors Robert and daughter Rebekah Mercer, Blackstone CEO Steve Schwarzman, Citadel CEO Ken Griffin, businessman Andy Sabin and billionaire Ronald Lauder all signaled they wouldn’t support Trump in the Republican primary.
Alongside donors, many politicians have been on the fence about Trump running in 2024. South Carolina Sen. Lindsay Graham, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Republican Texas Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz have opted to wait and see how things go.
“I’m sure I’ll support the nominee of the Republican Party, but I think there’s likely to be a competitive primary election,” Cornyn said.
The poll, conducted with 1,500 respondents from Dec. 3 to Dec. 7, has a margin of error of 2.5%.
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