Republicans in key states prefer Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for president over former President Donald Trump, according to data released as Trump gears up for an anticipated 2024 run.
Likely Republican voters in four important states would rather see Trump’s top Republican rival in the Oval Office than give the former president a second term, according to a confidential polling memo released to POLITICO by Club for Growth, an organization that pushes for conservative economics.
DeSantis’ lead over Trump in Iowa and New Hampshire, the first two states in the Republican primary, has only widened since August, according to the data. Trump now trails DeSantis in those states by 11 points and 15 points respectively.
And in their mutual home state of Florida, DeSantis is preferred by 56 percent of Republicans to Trump’s 30 percent. In Georgia, where a run-off Senate election will be held Dec. 6, DeSantis is up 20 points over Trump.
That data comes as Trump is expected to announce his third presidential campaign on Tuesday, as reported by the Washington Post.
DeSantis, coming off a 19-point reelection win last week, has given little direct indication that he will run for president, but is widely considered a main contender for his party’s nomination and has earned Trump’s wrath as his star has risen.
Club for Growth president David McIntosh told POLITICO the data suggests Trump is wearing on voters and may need to change his tactics.
“Republicans need to be united behind a strong candidate and a platform that shows voters real solutions to beat Biden and the Democrats in 2024,” he said. “Our polling shows that Republican primary voters recognize Trump’s insults against Republicans as hollow and counterproductive, and it’s taking a significant toll on his support.”
He added that the polling suggested Trump “could help Republicans” if he waited until after the Georgia runoff to launch his campaign.
Taylor Budowich, head of Trump’s main super PAC, MAGA Inc., said Club for Growth’s polling is “consistently wrong” and highlighted candidates backed by the group who lost to candidates endorsed by Trump, POLITICO reported.
“When they cross Trump, they lose, and that’s not going to change,” he said.