The latest indicator that the 2024 GOP presidential candidature is shaping up to be a two-horse race is a poll conducted by New Emerson College Florida showing that former President Donald Trump has a slim 3-point advantage over Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in their home state.
If there were a nine-way Republican primary in Florida, Trump would win with the support of 47% of GOP voters. But, DeSantis, who has not yet declared a run for president in 2024, is not far behind, with support at around 44%. There isn’t even a single declared or probable candidate who can muster ten percent of the vote.
Nikki Haley, one of the few Republicans who have launched a White House campaign, receives just under 1 percent of the vote, and former Vice President Mike Pence finishes in a distant third with just 3.5 percent of the vote. Though the survey suggests a close race between Trump and DeSantis in a state where voters know DeSantis best, it is excellent news for Trump since it suggests that he still has an edge over his potential primary competitor.
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According to Spencer Kimball, the head of polling at Emerson College, “DeSantis and Trump are in a two-way battle for the Republican nomination, statistically even with each other.” This is about a year before the Florida Presidential Primary. Even though DeSantis enjoys the backing of 90% of Republican voters, this does not guarantee him the nomination in Florida over the sitting President.
Naturally, DeSantis hasn’t officially entered the 2024 contest and has consistently sidestepped queries about his presidential ambitions. He is still planning for a run for president and is likely to make a decision once the Florida legislature’s annual session ends in May. Republican primary voters may be torn between Trump and DeSantis, but it’s evident that DeSantis has a stronger standing in Florida than former Vice President Joe Biden does.
As reported by Emerson College, 51% of Florida voters support Governor DeSantis in his current role, while 42% have expressed their disapproval. Meanwhile, Biden’s approval is at 40%, with over 53% of Floridians disapproving of his work in the Oval Office. Trump, meantime, has ramped up his attacks on DeSantis in preparation for a possible 2020 presidential run.
This week, a super PAC supporting Obama’s former administration filed a complaint with the Florida Commission on Ethics, claiming that DeSantis was conducting a “shadow presidential campaign” in defiance of state and federal law. If DeSantis finally decides not to run for president in 2024, Trump would be the overwhelming favorite to be the Republican nominee.
With Trump, Haley, and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy as the three declared GOP presidential contenders, the former president receives an astounding 79 percent support in the Emerson poll. The 16 percent who back Haley are a long way behind the 6 percent who back Ramaswamy. From March 13-15, 1,153 Florida voters were questioned in a poll conducted by Emerson College. The survey’s error range is +/- 2.8%.
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