Trump closes gap, tied with DeSantis in new poll of GOP voters

AP Photo/MarAlex Brandon/Marta Lavandier
Former President Donald Trump (left) listens during a campaign event at the South Carolina Statehouse, Saturday, Jan. 28, 2023, in Columbia, S.C. He also criticized Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (right) for potentially launching a 2024 bid for president.

Former President Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) are tied among GOP voters as the leading choice for the Republican Party’s 2024 presidential nominee, according to a new poll.

A Monmouth University poll found a third of Republican voters saw Trump, who kicked off his campaign in November, as their top presidential pick, and another third favored DeSantis, who has yet to formally announce he’s running.

Former Vice President Mike Pence scored just 2 percent support and former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley — who is set to become the only other big-name Republican officially in the ring with Trump — earned just 1 percent.

Trump closed the gap with DeSantis from a similar poll back in December that put the Florida governor ahead by 13 points, with 39 percent support compared to 26 percent for the former president. Trump has since climbed 7 points, and DeSantis has fallen 6 points.

But despite the uptick in voters backing Trump for the GOP nomination, DeSantis takes the win in a hypothetical primary match-up between the two, earning 53 percent to Trump’s 40 percent.

“Both Trump and DeSantis are well-liked by the party’s rank and file, but it’s likely that voter opinion of Trump is more firmly set than it is for DeSantis right now. The unknown factor is whether DeSantis can maintain this early edge if and when he gets on the campaign trail,” Monmouth University Polling Institute Director Patrick Murray said in a report.

An Economist-YouGov poll released earlier this week found that although more than half of Republicans support a Trump reelection run (54 percent), less than half actually prefer the former president as the GOP’s nominee come the primary (41 percent). 

DeSantis was close on Trump’s heels in the poll, with 35 percent of the party saying he’s their first choice for the Republican pick. 

The Florida governor is said to be close to a final call on whether he’ll run in 2024 and is widely expected to jump in the ring.

Taken Jan. 26 to Feb. 2, the Monmouth poll surveyed 566 voters who identify with or lean toward the Republican Party. The margin of error was plus or minus 6.1 percentage points.

Tags 2024 GOP presidential primary 2024 presidential election Donald Trump Nikki Haley Ron DeSantis Ron DeSantis

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