DeSantis neck and neck with Trump in early primary states: Poll

Election 2024 DeSantis Trump
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis smiles as he ends his State of the State address during a joint session of the Senate and House of Representatives Tuesday, March 7, 2023, at the Capitol in Tallahassee, Fla. DeSantis’ allies are gaining confidence in his White House prospects as former President Donald Trump’s legal woes mount. (AP Photo/Phil Sears, File)

DeSantis neck and neck with Trump in early primary states: Poll

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Despite recent stumbles in national polling, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) is neck and neck with former President Donald Trump in two key early states, illustrating his potential threat to the GOP front-runner.

DeSantis tops Trump 45% to 37% in Iowa and is dead even with Trump in New Hampshire at 39% apiece in head-to-head matchups, according to polls conducted by Public Opinion Strategies between Tuesday and Thursday that were obtained by Axios.

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However, DeSantis’s fortunes dip when more candidates are added to the mix. He ties Trump in Iowa and lags behind Trump by 12 percentage points in the Granite State when other hopefuls such as Nikki Haley and Vivek Ramaswamy are considered.

Nevertheless, DeSantis enjoys some of the strongest favorability/unfavorability ratings of any of the GOP candidates, sitting at 81% to 11% in Iowa and 77% to 15% in New Hampshire. For comparison, Trump is clocking in at 74% to 24% in Iowa and 69% to 29% in New Hampshire.

Trump’s lead over DeSantis nationally appears to have expanded in recent weeks, seemingly buoyed by the specter of an indictment from the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and DeSantis stoking backlash for comments in which he described the war in Ukraine as a “territorial dispute.” Trump has a 15.1-percentage-point edge over DeSantis, per the latest RealClearPolitics aggregate.

No other hypothetical contender has cracked double digits.

Yet, there are some warning signs for DeSantis in the early polling, with some voters uneasy about the odds of him beating President Joe Biden in a general election matchup. Only 48% of New Hampshire voters and 54% of Iowa voters saw him as the strongest candidate against Biden, compared to 46% of New Hampshire and 44% of Iowa voters who picked Biden, the poll found.

Earlier this month, DeSantis stopped by Iowa, and he has plans to travel to New Hampshire next month as he tests the political waters in the early primary states. Other candidates, such as Haley and Ramaswamy, have already frequented those states.

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DeSantis has yet to declare his 2024 campaign, but he is anticipated to do so sometime after the Florida state legislature wraps up its business in May. He has embarked on a media blitz recently to promote his new book, The Courage to Be Free: Florida’s Blueprint for America’s Survival.

The margin of error and sample size were not available. The Washington Examiner contacted Public Opinion Strategies for additional information.

© 2023 Washington Examiner

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