A new national poll of Republican primary voters is the second in two days to suggest that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis would top former President Donald Trump by double digits in a hypothetical 2024 GOP presidential nomination showdown between the two most popular politicians in the party.
The Wall Street Journal poll released on Wednesday also indicates that Republican primary voters hold a slightly more favorable opinion of DeSantis than Trump, who launched this third White House campaign a month ago.
Eighty-six percent of likely GOP primary voters said they held a favorable view of DeSantis, who last month overwhelmingly won re-election to a second term steering the nation’s third most populated state, compared to 74% who viewed Trump favorably.
In a hypothetical DeSantis-Trump face-off for the nomination, the poll suggests the Florida governor ahead of the former president 52%-38%, more than 13 months ahead of the first contests in the 2024 Republican presidential primary and caucus calendar.
The release of the Wall Street Journal poll comes a day after a new survey from USA Today/Suffolk University indicated DeSantis topping Trump 56%-33% among Republican voters when asked whom they prefer as the 2024 standard-bearer.
For over a year, DeSantis has routinely discounted talk of a 2024 White House run as he stayed focused on his 2022 gubernatorial re-election. However, he has become a major force in the GOP as he has built a political brand that stretches from coast to coast, and political prognosticators view him as a potential presidential contender. Sources in the governor’s wider political orbit tell Fox News any potential presidential announcement wouldn’t likely come until after Florida’s legislative session ends in the spring.
But the governor appeared to drop some 2024 hints during his election night victory speech last month.
‘We have rewritten the political map,’ DeSantis declared. ‘While our country flounders due to failed leadership in Washington, Florida is on the right track.’
He took in the scene as a chant of ‘Two more years! Two more years!’ broke out among supporters urging the governor to consider a national run in 2024.
Two weeks later, he delivered a keynote address that received multiple standing ovations at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s annual leadership meeting, seen as the first major GOP 2024 presidential cattle call. There, the governor repeated his well-used pledge that ‘we’ve got a lot more to do, and I have only begun to fight.’
As Fox News first reported recently, DeSantis will chronicle his life in public service in a new book that will be released in late February in what will be seen by political pundits as another step by the conservative champion toward a possible 2024 presidential run. The autobiography by DeSantis is titled ‘The Courage to Be Free: Florida’s Blueprint for America’s Revival.’
Writing a book is a traditional prelude by potential White House hopefuls ahead of launching a presidential campaign.
Support for Trump and DeSantis — if he eventually launches a campaign — will obviously look different in what’s expected to be a multi-candidate field. Among the other likely White House contenders is former Vice President Mike Pence, who said in a Fox News Digital interview on Monday during a book tour stop in New Hampshire for his new autobiography that the positive response to his memoir as been ‘a great source of encouragement’ as he mulls a 2024 run.
According to the Wall Street Journal poll, Trump tops Pence 63%-28% among likely GOP primary voters in a hypothetical 2024 match up.
Two years after his 2020 election defeat at the hands of Biden, Trump remains the most influential politician in the Republican Party and until recently was the clear polling front-runner in the burgeoning 2024 GOP nomination race.
However, his latest campaign launch was anything but spectacular. Trump’s candidacy kick-off event last month at his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida was widely criticized not only by Democrats but also by fellow Republicans.
Some in Trump’s political orbit told Fox News the early announcement was intended in part to clear the field of potential rivals and help the former president avoid the growing net of legal entanglements, but it appears to have failed on both accounts.
Trump also appears to be the victim of self-inflicted wounds, from his heavily criticized dinner at Mar-a-Lago with the antisemitic rapper Ye — formerly known as Kanye West — and White nationalist and Holocaust denier Nick Fuentes to a widely panned social media post which appeared to suggest the ‘termination’ of the U.S. Constitution in order to overturn the 2020 presidential election results.
Additionally, the defeat of Trump-endorsed Herschel Walker to Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock in Georgia’s crucial Senate runoff election one week ago was the latest setback of a Republican nominee handpicked and supported by the former president in the midterm elections. Walker’s loss followed high-profiles defeats by Pennsylvania’s Mehmet Oz, Arizona’s Kari Lake and Blake Masters, Wisconsin’s Tim Michels, Nevada’s Adam Laxalt and Michigan’s Tudor Dixon.
The former president the past month has faced a growing chorus of GOP criticism partially blaming Trump for the party’s lackluster showing in what was supposed to be a red wave election.
Trump has yet to hold any campaign rallies — unlike during the launch of his successful 2016 presidential campaign. However, aides tell Fox News that is by design and that the former president will increasingly hold public events starting in January.
‘President Trump entered the race three weeks ago ready to win and he is going to do exactly that — no amount of wishful thinking from the media or consultant class will change it,’ Taylor Budowich, spokesman for the Trump-aligned MAGA Inc. super PAC recently told Fox News.
Budowich touted that Trump is ‘building one of the most ruthless and talented teams in American politics, and he is the only person in the country who is ready and capable of reversing America’s decline.’