Republican voters surging for DeSantis amid Trump drama, poll shows

by | Dec 13, 2022

  • Gov. Ron DeSantis is leading former President Donald Trump by a wide margin in a recent USA Today/Suffolk University GOP Primary poll 
  • 65 percent of conservative respondents want DeSantis to run, while 56 percent of that group preferred him to Trump 
  • In a hypothetical matchup, DeSantis leads Biden 47 percent to 43 percent among all voters

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is significantly outpacing former President Donald Trump in a new USA Today/Suffolk University GOP Primary poll that was released on Tuesday.

According to the data, more than two-thirds of Republican and independent voters who identified as conservative or extremely conservative (65 percent) said they wanted DeSantis to run for president, and 56 percent said they preferred him to Trump.

DeSantis, who has yet to officially announce a bid for the White House in 2024, defeated Democrat gubernatorial challenger Charlie Crist by more than 20 points in November, the largest victory for any incumbent Florida governor in more than two decades.

“There’s a new Republican sheriff in town,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center. “DeSantis outpolls Trump not only among the general electorate but also among these Republican-leaning voters who have been the former president’s base. Republicans and conservative independents increasingly want Trumpism without Trump.”

Supporting DeSantis’ favor, 69 percent of voters in the poll said Trump should not run in 2024, while more than 67 percent of voters did not want President Joe Biden to seek re-election.

In a hypothetical matchup, DeSantis leads Biden 47 percent to 43 percent among all voters, with 7 percent remaining undecided and a further 2 percent indicating they would vote for someone else.

Paleologos, however, cautions that the poll was conducted in a one-on-one hypothetical setting and that a series of competing candidates could act as variables.

“Add in a number of other Republican presidential candidates who would divide the anti-Trump vote and you have a recipe for a repeat of the 2016 Republican caucuses and primaries when Trump outlasted the rest of the divided field,” he said.

The nationwide survey was conducted through live interviews of cell phone and landline users. The survey of 1,000 voters was conducted December 7-11. The margin of error is +/- 3.1 percentage points. The margin of error of the subset of Republicans and conservative independents (n=374) is +/- 5.1 percentage points.


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