Trump holds commanding lead over DeSantis, other Republican rivals despite legal woes: Poll – Times of India


Former President Donald Trump is dominating his rivals for the Republican presidential nomination, leading his nearest challenger, Florida governor Ron DeSantis, by a landslide 37 percentage points nationally among the likely Republican primary electorate, according to the first NYT/Siena College poll of the 2024 campaign. Trump held decisive advantages across almost every demographic group and region and in every ideological wing of the party, the survey found, as Republicans waved away concerns about his escalating legal jeopardy. He led by wide margins among men and women, younger and older voters, moderates and conservatives, those who went to college and those who didn’t, in cities, suburbs and rural areas.

The poll shows that some of DeSantis’ central campaign arguments – that he is more electable than Trump and that he would govern more effectively – have so far failed to break through. Even Republicans motivated by the type of issues that have fuelled DeSantis’ rise, such as fighting “radical woke ideology,” favoured Trump. Overall, Trump led DeSantis 54% to 17%. No other candidate topped 3% support.
DeSantis performed his weakest among some of the Republican Party’s biggest and most influential constituencies. He earned only 9% support among voters at least 65 years old and 13% of those without a college degree. Republicans who described themselves as “very conservative” favoured Trump by a 50-point margin, 65% to 15%. Still, no other serious Trump challenger has emerged besides DeSantis. Former vice-president Mike Pence, former UN ambassador Nikki Haley and Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina each scored 3% support. Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Vivek Ramaswamy, an entrepreneur, each received support from just 2%.

Yet, even if all those candidates disappeared and DeSantis got a hypothetical one-on-one race against Trump, he would still lose by a 2-to-1 margin, 62% to 31%, the poll found. That is a stark reminder that, for all the fretting among anti-Trump forces that the party would divide itself in a repeat of 2016, Trump is poised to trounce even a unified opposition.
The survey comes less than six months before the first 2024 primary contest and before a single debate. In an era of American politics defined by its volatility, Trump’s legal troubles – his trials threaten to overlap with primary season – pose an especially unpredictable wild card. For now, though, Trump appears to match both the surly mood of the Republican electorate, 89% of whom see the nation as headed in the wrong direction, and Republicans’ desire to take the fight to the Democrats.


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