For Republicans hoping to see Florida Governor Ron DeSantis enter the 2024 Republican Presidential Primary, two new polls from Monmouth and Yahoo News indicate that DeSantis and former President Trump are the main focus of GOP voters.
An excerpt from Monmouth’s poll results summary reads: “While Trump has gained some ground over the past two months, he trails DeSantis in a head-to-head contest. At the same time, either candidate is preferred to other popular Republican officeholders, suggesting that the race is a two-person contest in most GOP voters’ minds right now. When asked who they would like to see as the Republican nominee for president in 2024, GOP voters come up with two names as top-of-mind preferences – DeSantis (33 percent) and Trump (33 percent).”
Other potential contenders failed to surpass two percent of voter interest in Monmoth’s poll. Former Vice President Mike Pence was the choice of 2 percent of voters polled. Former South Carolina Gov. and U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, expected to announce her 2024 bid on Feb. 15, received 1 percent of voter support, and that same percentage was shared by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul , and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
A Yahoo News/YouGov poll released this week posted results showing that in a head-to-head matchup between DeSantis and Trump, DeSantis earned 45 percent of the vote to 41 percent for Trump (45 percent) than for former President Donald Trump (41 percent) if the party’s 2024 presidential primary were held today.
Yahoo’s poll data also showed that 48 percent of registered Republicans and “Lean Republican” voters approve Haley’s decision to run by a more than 2-to-1 margin, while nearly a third (30 percent) say they are unsure. Haley’s support in a hypothetical nine-candidate field has risen significantly since January — from 1 percent to 5 percent, but in a scenario where Haley faces Trump one-on-one, Trump would double-her support with 54 percent of voter support to 27 percent for Haley.
Haley plays the spoiler role against DeSantis in a three-way primary race between Trump, DeSantis . In that scenario in Yahoo’s poll, Haley attracts 11 percent of Republicans and Republican leaners — while DeSantis’s support falls by roughly the same amount, down to 35 percent, leaving Trump with more votes than either of them, at 38 percent. Considering these figures, some may be lead to believe that Trump encouraged Haley’s campaign in order to siphon voters from DeSantis.
It’s easy for Republican voters to forget the fact that in 2016, Trump didn’t win the majority of voters in the primaries and only needed a plurality against a fragmented field of opposition. In fact, Trump had the lowest percentage of the popular primary vote for a major party nominee since the 1988 Democratic Party presidential primaries, at 44.95 percent.
In 2024, any expansion of the field of candidates could decrease DeSantis’ chances of winning, based on the poll data. In Yahoo’s wider, nine-candidate field, the results are nearly identical, with Trump (37 percent) again losing far less support than DeSantis (36 percent) and narrowly maintaining his lead.
The Yahoo News survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 1,585 U.S. adults interviewed online from Feb. 2 to 6, 2023. The sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, education, 2020 election turnout and presidential vote, baseline party identification and current voter registration status. Demographic weighting targets come from the 2019 American Community Survey. Baseline party identification is the respondent’s most recent answer given prior to March 15, 2022, and is weighted to the estimated distribution at that time (32% Democratic, 27% Republican). Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel to be representative of all U.S. adults. The margin of error is approximately 2.8%.