DeSantis Beats Trump Even In A Crowded Field, Poll Finds

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Michael Ginsberg Congressional Correspondent
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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis would beat former President Donald Trump in a head-to-head matchup, and would even lead a crowded GOP primary field, according to a new national poll.

DeSantis would garner 57 percent in a head-to-head matchup with Trump, compared to 33 percent for the former president, the poll found. In a hypothetical field of nine candidates, DeSantis led with 40 percent, followed by Trump at 31 percent. Former Vice President Mike Pence and former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley tied for third at eight percent each, and no other candidate received more than five percent.

WPA Intelligence surveyed 1,000 Republican primary voters nationally from Feb. 13-16. The poll has a margin of error of 3.1 percent.

The poll contradicts the analysis of many pundits and Trump campaign officials, who believe a crowded field would help the former president by splitting his opposition. (RELATED: ‘Wish Her Luck!’: Trump Slams Nikki Haley For Flip-Flopping On 2024, Then Offers Encouragement)

“It’s hard to see Trump losing with even four semi-serious candidates in the race. Even three, I would bet Trump,” a former Trump aide reportedly told ABC News. “You start getting beyond three to four candidates running, it’s basically impossible for him to lose.”

Several polls have shown Trump leading a hypothetical GOP field nationally. An Emerson College poll conducted in January found Trump with 55 percent support and DeSantis with 29 percent. Trump garnered 46 percent support in a February Harvard-Harris poll, and DeSantis received 23 percent. A January poll conducted by WPA Intelligence found DeSantis up nine in a head-to-head matchup with Trump, but Trump leading by four in a larger field.

Despite Trump’s likely nationwide lead, DeSantis leads the former president in key primary states, other polls have shown. DeSantis led in New Hampshire, Florida, Iowa and Georgia in a November poll from WPA Intelligence, and a University of New Hampshire poll conducted in January found DeSantis up twelve points in the state.

DeSantis has not declared his candidacy, although he is expected to do so after Florida’s legislative session ends in May. So far, Trump, Haley and venture capitalist Vivek Ramaswamy are the only Republicans to formally declare their candidacy.