June 10, 2023

  • Florida Republicans would prefer DeSantis over Trump for the 2024 White House ticket.
  • This is a reversal from a similar survey in January.
  • The results are part of a USA Today/Suffolk University poll.

Republicans in Florida have a new favorite Florida man they want at the top of the next White House ticket.

According to a USA Today/Suffolk University poll published On Wednesday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis led former President Donald Trump 48% to 40% in a hypothetical 2024 presidential primary.

That’s a reversal from a similar poll in January, in which Trump led DeSantis 47% to 40%.

“Donald Trump’s back-to-back race against another Republican is a sea change,” David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center, said in a statement.

Wednesday’s results are significant given that during the 2016 primary, Trump easily defeated Sen. Marco Rubio in his home turf, landing 46% to 27%, Paleologos said.

The results are for just one state, but add extra heat to one of the most hotly debated issues in US politics: whether DeSantis will run for president against Trump, the man who topped him in Florida’s 2018 gubernatorial primary.

DeSantis has not said whether he has the White House in his sights and is seeking re-election in Florida on Nov. 8. He will face off against Democrat Charlie Crist, who recently resigned from Congress and was Florida’s governor from 2007 to 2011, when he was a Republican.

That race looks promising for DeSantis. The USA Today/Suffolk University Poll DeSantis is projected to win re-election with a 7-point lead of 48% to 41%.

The poll found a strong lead for DeSantis despite respondents’ perception of economic conditions in Florida deteriorating — just 37% of voters said Florida’s economy was “excellent” or “good,” down 10 points from January.

Half of voters said they were “worse off” than they were four years ago, although voters did not rate whether they blamed the DeSantis or Biden administrations for their economic struggles. It showed DeSantis’ approval rating was 53% to 42% higher than Biden’s in Florida.

Should DeSantis hold a large lead against Crist, it would be a huge swing for the GOP governor. Just four years ago he swept into the governor’s mansion by just half a percentage point against former Tallahassee mayoral Democratic challenger Andrew Gillum.

Donald Trump

Former President Donald Trump.

AP Photo/Joe Maiorana, File

Trump’s support is falling in his new home state

Polls show Trump’s support may be slipping, at least in the Sunshine State. Researchers conducted the survey by surveying 500 voters by phone between September 15 and 18.

Trump calls Florida his permanent home, though — as is his custom — he spends the summer at his golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey, and at Trump Tower in New York City.

The FBI raided Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, in August and uncovered classified documents that Justice Department officials said Trump was not allowed to. On Sunday evening, Trump wrote on his social media platform, Truth Social, that he arrived at Mar-a-Lago to “check out the scene.”

While Trump’s legal troubles have kept him in the news, DeSantis also frequently makes national headlines. The latest was last week when he ordered state agencies to fly migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts.

The move appears to have caught the attention of Trump, who has made immigration restrictions one of his signature issues as president. On Saturday, Trump shared an insider interview on Truth Social with GOP operative John Thomas, who said DeSantis would tank his political career if he chose to run against Trump.

DeSantis’ frequent national headlines, massive fundraising and regular run-ins with the Biden administration have many political operatives speculating that he will run for the White House. Still, the conventional wisdom is that Trump would be the nominee if he were to run another White House campaign, which he has been teasing for more than a year.

Trump had an edge among certain voters in Florida, the poll found. He led DeSantis 53% to 36% among voters making less than $50,000 a year and 57% to 27% among voters who did not attend college.

It’s unclear whether Trump can win against President Joe Biden nationally, though polls show Floridians still prefer him to the incumbent.

The USA Today/Suffolk University Poll A hypothetical matchup showed Trump would beat Biden 47% to 44% in Florida. The margin was even wider when DeSantis faced off against Biden at 52% to 44%.

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