Florida poll finds Trump well ahead of DeSantis in state

A poll found that Florida Republicans strongly favor former President Trump over their governor, Ron DeSantis, in a hypothetical 2024 presidential primary contest. 

The new Florida Atlantic University Mainstreet PolCom Lab poll showed that Trump held a 20-point lead over DeSantis among registered GOP voters when asked whom they would support if the 2024 primary were held today. Half said Trump, while 30 percent said DeSantis and 7 percent said they were undecided.

Other candidates who trailed behind them include entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy at 4 percent; Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) at 3 percent; and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), former Vice President Mike Pence and former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) each at 2 percent. Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) followed with 1 percent. 

The poll was conducted from June 27 to July 1 — before DeSantis faced blowback for a controversial video attacking Trump for his LGBTQ record.

“The poll highlights Donald Trump’s quite durable support. He does especially well with white working-class voters, who have consistently formed a steadfast base for the former President,” FAU political science professor Kevin Wagner said in the poll’s summary. “This persistent support continues to bolster Trump’s strong and steady position within the party.” 

Still, the gap between the two candidates is narrowing. In April, a similar poll showed Trump held a 24-point lead over DeSantis, with 57 percent supporting Trump, 33 percent supporting DeSantis, 5 percent undecided, and approximately 6 percent support for other candidates. 

Among all voters surveyed in Florida — not just Republicans — respondents supported DeSantis more than Trump: 54 percent approve of DeSantis (41 percent strongly, 13 percent somewhat), and 43 percent disapprove (34 percent strongly, 9 percent somewhat). Trump’s favorability is at 50 percent (33 percent strongly, 17 percent somewhat), and his unfavorability is at 47 percent (38 percent strongly, 9 percent somewhat). 

The poll also showed DeSantis would beat President Biden in a head-to-head match-up by 13 points, if it were held today: 49 percent would support DeSantis, 36 would support Biden, 11 percent would support “other” and 4 percent were undecided.

In a match-up between Trump and Biden, on the other hand, Trump would lead by a narrower margin of 10 points: 49 percent would support Trump, 39 percent would support Biden, 10 percent would support “other” and 2 percent were undecided.

“These poll results could be an important motivator for DeSantis to promote his bid for the Republican primary, as he may be a stronger candidate against the incumbent,” FAU political scientist Dukhong Kim said in the summary report. “The poll indicates that the margin held by Trump or DeSantis at this time is larger than the 3.3 percent vote difference observed in the 2020 presidential election, suggesting that Florida is shifting towards becoming a safe state for Republicans.”

The poll included a sample of 933 Florida voters and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.2 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level.