DeSantis has big lead over Trump in Florida Primary Matchup: Poll

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has a comfortable lead over former President Donald Trump in a hypothetical Republican primary in his state, according to a poll released Wednesday.

A USA TODAYA Suffolk University poll found that the GOP governor supported 48 percent of Republican respondents polled in Florida, compared to 40 percent of Trump in a potential presidential primary race.

That represents a notable shift, given that the same poll in January showed Trump leading DeSantis in a theoretical neck-and-neck race by 47 percent to the governor’s 40 percent.

The most recent poll has a significant margin of error when it comes to the Republicans polled. A total of 500 likely midterm voters were polled from Thursday through Sunday last week, and the overall margin of error was plus or minus 4 percent. The poll polled 174 Republican voters, but the margin of error among those voters was plus or minus 7.7 percent.

Ron DeSantis and Donald Trump
In this combination image, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaks in August 2022 and Donald Trump speaks in Casper, Wyoming on May 28, 2022. A new poll shows DeSantis leading Trump in a hypothetical primary game in Florida.

Nonetheless, the new numbers appear to be good news for DeSantis, who is widely considered a strong contender for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, though he hasn’t officially declared his intention to run.

“This doesn’t necessarily mean that DeSantis would be a leader in every other GOP primary state,” said David Paleologos, director of the University of Suffolk’s Policy Research Centre.

“But it’s a data point that suggests a shift in GOP voter preferences, away from Trump and towards DeSantis from Republicans, who know both potential combatants quite well,” he said.

Trump remains the favorite for the Republican nomination in a number of recent polls, and he has repeatedly indicated that he will run for another White House nomination. Like DeSantis, he has not officially stated his intentions.

A Harris poll conducted Sept. 7-8 of 667 registered voters nationally showed Trump leading the 2024 Republican primary with 59 percent versus DeSantis’ 17 percent.

That USA TODAY/Suffolk University poll also shows that both Trump and DeSantis would defeat President Joe Biden in a hypothetical match in Florida, but DeSantis enjoys a larger lead.

Trump led Biden by 47 percent to 44 percent, while DeSantis enjoyed 52 percent support, compared to the president’s 44 percent.

DeSantis, who is seeking re-election as Florida governor this year, made national headlines last week for his decision to fly two planes carrying undocumented migrants to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts.

The move drew significant criticism, including from Biden, but has pushed immigration to the top of the news agenda and could give DeSantis a boost with some conservative voters.

Florida is considered a key state in presidential elections, and Trump won there in both 2016 and 2020. Former President Barack Obama won Florida in 2008 and 2012. In a particularly tight election year, Florida could decide the outcome of the election, as it did in 2000.

Trump moved his primary residence to his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida after leaving office in January 2021. DeSantis has big lead over Trump in Florida Primary Matchup: Poll

Rick Schindler

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