Former President Donald Trump trails Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis as the favored Republican presidential nominee by a huge 23% margin among GOP voters — and would lose to President Biden in a 2024 general election, a new poll finds.
Burdened by flagging support after the midterm elections, Trump has the backing of just 33% of GOP voters compared to 56% for DeSantis in the Suffolk University/USA Today poll released Tuesday.
Trump would get just 40% compared to 47% for Biden in the poll of all registered 2024 voters. DeSantis, on the other hand, leads Biden by 47% to 43% in the same poll.
“Republicans … increasingly want Trumpism without Trump,” David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center, told USA Today.
Only 31% of Republicans want Trump to run for president again, while 60% say he should not, the poll said.
Trump’s poor performance, coupled with DeSantis’ rising popularity, reflects the widespread perception on both sides of the partisan divide that the former president is largely responsible for the GOP’s disastrous underperformance in the just-completed midterms.
[ Divided Republicans point fingers over midterms disaster at one another — and Trump ]
Republicans believed they were on track to score a landslide “red wave” win over Biden’s Democrats in the midterms. Instead, they barely retook control of the House of Representatives and lost a seat in the Senate.
Most analysts blame Trump’s hand-picked Republican candidates for flopping in battleground states like Pennsylvania, Arizona and Georgia, where Republican Herschel Walker lost in a run off to Sen. Raphael Warnock.
While Republicans struggled nationwide, DeSantis engineered a remarkable GOP landslide in Florida up and down the ticket. He swept to a nearly 20% victory to win reelection and tipped the scales in Congress with an audacious and successful gerrymander.
Trump’s poor polling numbers are all the more eye-popping because he is the only announced candidate in the 2024 presidential election.
His campaign launch speech last month drew poor reviews and Trump has raised eyebrows by failing to follow up with any rallies or other active campaigning.
But some warn that DeSantis and other possible Republican presidential candidates remain relatively untested and may find it difficult to topple Trump once any campaign begins in earnest.
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