Former US President Donald Trump is maintaining a solid lead over his closest Republican rival, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, according to a New York Times poll released on Monday. The poll shows that Trump has the support of 54% of Republican voters, while DeSantis trails behind with only 17%. Other candidates such as former Vice President Mike Pence, US Senator Tim Scott, former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, and former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie received less than 3% of the votes.
Trump’s legal troubles, including ongoing criminal charges and an impending grand jury indictment, have not seemed to diminish his popularity among GOP voters. He has described these cases as a political attack orchestrated by President Joe Biden. Despite these challenges, Trump has managed to maintain a similar level of support for several months.
Interestingly, even voters who believe that Trump has committed “serious federal crimes” still choose him over DeSantis in a head-to-head contest. This suggests a strong loyalty and unwavering support for the former president among his base. In fact, 58% of Republican voters believe that Trump is capable of beating Joe Biden, compared to only 28% who think DeSantis would be the better candidate in that regard.
The poll also reveals that Trump is leading across all demographics within the Republican party. Supporters and opponents of abortion, those in favor and against military aid to Ukraine, and individuals who support or oppose government spending cuts all prefer Trump as their presidential nominee. It is clear that Trump’s appeal extends beyond specific policy positions and resonates with a wide range of Republican voters.
Meanwhile, DeSantis has consistently polled as a distant second since he entered the race in May. Only a few outlier polls have shown him tying with or surpassing Trump. One such poll conducted by Harvard placed DeSantis at 12%, just two points ahead of Ramaswamy, who saw a surge in popularity following a well-received performance at Blaze Media’s Family Leadership Summit in Iowa. Trump, on the other hand, remains firmly in the lead with 52%.
Overall, Trump’s dominant position in the Republican primary race undoubtedly poses a significant challenge for his rivals. Despite his legal troubles and attempts by opponents to paint him as unelectable, Trump’s strong support base remains intact. As the 2024 presidential race draws nearer, it will be interesting to see if any candidate can emerge as a viable challenger to Trump’s popularity within the party.