Former President Donald Trump is leading Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in their home state primary by nearly 40 points, according to a Tuesday poll.
Trump is beating DeSantis 60% to 21% among a crowded Republican primary field in Florida’s primary, according to a University of North Florida Public Opinion Research Lab survey. Several Republican state officials in Florida recently flipped their endorsements from DeSantis to Trump over the weekend, Republican Sen. Rick Scott of Florida threw his support behind the former president and the state party did away with its loyalty pledge, backed by the governor, to support the eventual nominee to participate in its primary.
“Despite historically high approval in the polls, Governor DeSantis losing steam in his home state doesn’t bode well for his national campaign,” Dr. Michael Binder, Public Opinion Research Lab faculty director and professor of political science, said in a statement. “Even if you wipe out the rest of the competition in a head-to-head, Trump leads DeSantis by 20 points.”
Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley trailed the governor with 6%, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie received 2% and conservative businessman Vivek Ramaswamy clocked in at 1%, according to the survey. For a hypothetical head-to-head matchup, Trump led DeSantis 59% to 29%, with 12% either being undecided or not responsive.
📊 2024 Florida Republican Primary
• Trump — 60% (+39)
• DeSantis — 21%
• Haley — 6%
• Christie — 2%
• Ramaswamy — 1%
• Trump — 59% (+30)
• DeSantis — 29%
— InteractivePolls (@IAPolls2022) November 7, 2023
DeSantis responded to the state’s Republican elected officials endorsing Trump over him in an interview with Fox News on Friday, where he pointed to the fact that voting hasn’t started, and that there’s still time to secure support for his presidential bid.
“I must have missed where those voters have actually voted yet. Isn’t it odd that we haven’t had one contest, and there’s people that are having a rush to try to sort of short circuit the people’s voice. So the people haven’t been able to speak,” said DeSantis.
The DeSantis campaign provided the Daily Caller News Foundation with a Nov. 6 donor memo that outlines its strategy following the early nominating contests in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina.
“Once we navigate these critical first four contests, we anticipate the field will tighten even further,” the memo reads. “That will bring us to the much-needed and highly-anticipated one-on-one primary battle between DeSantis and Trump as the race heads into March. With states like Florida, California, Oklahoma, Georgia, and Utah on the calendar, we very much like our chances to make the final push to claim the nomination.”
The governor had previously received the backing of 99 GOP state lawmakers, including Senate President Kathleen Passidomo and House Speaker Paul Renner. DeSantis was reelected in the 2022 midterms by a historic near 20 points against Democrat Charlie Christ, formerly Florida’s Republican governor.
Nearly all of Florida’s Republican congressional delegation has thrown its support behind Trump, including Reps. Matt Gaetz, Anna Paulina Luna, Greg Steube, Byron Donalds, Cory Mills, John Rutherford, Carlos Gimenez and Vern Buchanan, while Laurel Lee endorsed DeSantis.
The University of North Florida Public Opinion Research Lab survey polled 788 registered Republican primary voters from Oct. 23 to Nov. 4. The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.77%.
Trump did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.
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