Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis has a clear lead over former President Donald Trump in the event of a two-man race for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, according to a new survey. 

The Yahoo News/YouGov poll released Thursday found that 47% of registered Republican or Republican-leaning independent voters say they would vote for DeSantis, 44, if their state primary or caucus were held today. Just 42% of the same cohort said they would support the 76-year-old Trump.

The poll shows a 14-percentage point swing toward DeSantis since mid-October, when 45% of registered Republicans or GOP-leaning independents supported Trump, while 36% said they would back DeSantis.

The Florida governor, who was re-elected in a landslide on Nov. 8, also leads by 11 percentage points over Trump (51% to 40%) among Americans who voted in a 2016 GOP primary or caucus in their state.

Many see DeSantis as a less contentious alternative to the former president.
Donald Trump was five points behind Ron DeSantis in the latest GOP 2024 primary poll.
The Washington Post via Getty Images
DeSantis has reportedly tried to distance himself from Trump and his attacks.
DeSantis cruised to an easy victory in his re-election campaign.
AFP via Getty Images

In a head-to-head matchup against President Biden, the poll also found DeSantis to be a more formidable opponent for the 80-year-old commander in chief. 

Registered voters were split 44% apiece when asked who they would back in a hypothetical 2024 contest between Biden and DeSantis. However, in a Trump-Biden rematch of the 2020 election, 45% of registered voters chose Biden while 42% supported Trump. 

No other potential 2024 Republican presidential candidate came close in the poll to either DeSantis or Trump in terms of support. Former Vice President Mike Pence and former US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley were each favored by 5% of Republicans and GOP-leaning independents.

That pair were followed by Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and outgoing Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney — all with 2% support,

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan brought up the rear of the potential GOP field with 1% support, while 12% said they were not sure of their choice and another 4% said they would note vote.

In that splintered field, Trump had 35% support and DeSantis had 30%.

The poll was conducted between Dec. 1-5, after several Trump-backed candidates failed to pull off expected wins in the midterm elections and after the former commander-in-chief’s Nov. 22 Mar-a-Lago dinner with anti-semitic rapper Kanye West and white supremacist Nicholas Fuentes

Most of the candidates Trump endorsed lost in their elections.
Many GOPers have blamed Trump for the party’s failures in the midterm elections.
Getty Images

The dinner took place a week after Trump announced his third consecutive presidential run, making him the only Republican so far to throw his hat in the ring for 2024.

While the poll was in the field, several high-profile Republicans ripped Trump for a social media post where he claimed supposed election fraud from 2020 allows for the “termination of all rules, regulations, and articles, even those found in the Constitution.” 

The former president was also blamed by many in the party for Georgia Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker’s Dec. 6 runoff loss in the Peach State, which gave Democrats the outright majority in the upper chamber of Congress.

Meanwhile, DeSantis was named a finalist for Time magazine’s Person of the Year this week, losing out to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.


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