- Republican support for another Trump effort has dropped significantly.
- Biden now leads Trump 47% – 40% in a reverse race.
- Two-thirds of GOP and GOP-leaning voters want DeSantis to run.
Republican support for Donald Trump’s presidential bid in 2024 is on the rise, an exclusive USA TODAY/Suffolk University poll finds, as the former president is plagued by midterm losses and courtroom setbacks.
By 2-1, GOP and GOP-leaning voters now say they like Trump’s policies but hold them to a different standard. While 31% want the former president to run, 61% prefer some other Republican candidate who continues the policies Trump has pursued.
They have one name in mind: Two-thirds of Republicans and Republican-leaning voters want Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to run for president. By double digits, 56% to 33%, they prefer DeSantis over Trump.
“Republicans and conservative independents increasingly want a Trumpism without Trump,” said David Paleologos, director of Suffolk University’s Center for Political Research.
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The findings are a red flag for Trump, whose core support has been remarkably solidified by his personal demeanor, his provocative rhetoric and his highly controversial actions in the White House. But his role is increasingly fueled by the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol, the mishandling of sensitive documents when he left the White House, and investigations into efforts to alter the results of the 2020 election.
Some Republican strategists blame Trump and his influence for the GOP’s failure to win control of the Senate in November. Candidates with recruiting and support lost races in Arizona, Georgia and Pennsylvania that independent analysts thought might have been won by more traditional candidates.
The poll of a record 1,000 voters, taken by landline and cellphone from Wednesday through Sunday, has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points. A sample of 374 Republicans and independents who lean Republican has a margin of error of 5.1 points.
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Biden’s lead over Trump widens in head-to-head race
A USA TODAY/Suffolk poll found that enthusiasm for Trump’s third bid for the White House within the GOP has declined significantly in recent months.
In July, 60% of Republicans wanted Trump to run again. By October, that number had dropped to 56%. Now that’s down to 47%, nearly split with the 45% who don’t want him to run for a third term.
Votes held in July and December are registered voters. October’s ballot may include interim voters.
Trump is also viewed less favorably by his own partisans. The percentage of Republicans who view him favorably fell from 75% in October to 64% in December. His unfavorable rating rose from 18% to 23%.
Among all voters, Trump is further behind President Joe Biden in a hypothetical head-to-head rematch. Now, Biden will win the general election race 47% to 40%. (Due to the effects of rounding, Biden’s margin is slightly wider than it was at 7.8 points.) In October, Biden also led, but by a narrower margin, 46%-42%.
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Biden finds himself slipping among Democrats as DeSantis rises in the GOP
Biden doesn’t see his political situation getting much worse, but it isn’t getting better either.
Since October, his favorable rating has increased one percentage point to 46% and his unfavorable rating to 50%. But support for a second term among Democrats fell from 45% to 40%. Among all voters, 23% want him to run again.
While Biden now leads Trump, he trails DeSantis in a head-to-head race, with DeSantis at 47% and Biden at 43%.
The Florida governor, who made his second trip to the Sunshine State last month, has gained significant traction across the country. Two-thirds of Republican and Republican-leaning voters, 65%, want him to run for president in 2024. Just 24% believe he won’t.
DeSantis’ success depends on going head-to-head with Trump, Paleologos warned. “Add in multiple Republican presidential candidates who are splitting the anti-Trump vote, and you have a recipe for a repeat of the 2016 Republican caucuses and primaries,” he said, “when Trump was more divided than the rest of the field.”
“Lifelong social media lover. Falls down a lot. Creator. Devoted food aficionado. Explorer. Typical troublemaker.”