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Crushing it: Donald Trump leads Republican presidential nominee race

Trump led DeSantis 54 percent to 17 per cent. No other candidate topped 3 per cent support in the poll

Donald Trump

Donald Trump (Photo: Bloomberg)


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Former President Donald J Trump is dominating his rivals for the Republican presidential nomination, leading his nearest challenger, Gov ernor Ron DeSantis of Florida, by a landslide 37 percentage points nationally among the likely Republican primary electorate, according to the first New York Times/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 Republican voters 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, and in cities, suburbs and rural areas.

The poll shows that some of DeSantis’s 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 fueled DeSantis’s rise, such as fighting “radical woke ideology,” favored the former president.

Overall, Trump led DeSantis 54 percent to 17 per cent. No other candidate topped 3 per cent support in the poll.

Below those lopsided top-line figures were other ominous signs for DeSantis. He performed his weakest among some of the Republican Party’s biggest and most influential constituencies. He earned only 9 per cent support among voters at least 65 years old and 13 per cent of those without a college degree. Republicans who described themselves as “very conservative” favored Trump by a 50-point margin, 65 per
cent to 15 per cent.

Still, no other serious Trump challenger has emerged besides DeSantis. Former Vice President Mike Pence, the former United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley, and Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina each scored 3 per cent support. Chris Christie, the former New Jersey governor, and Vivek Ramaswamy, an entrepreneur, each received support from just 2 per cent of those polled.

Yet even if all those candidates disappeared and DeSantis got a hypothetical one-on-one race against Trump, he would still lose by a two-to-one margin, 62 per cent to 31 per cent, 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. 

Both Trump and DeSantis maintain strong overall favorable ratings from Republicans, 76 per cent and 66 per cent. But the intensity of the former president’s support is a key difference as 43 per cent of Republicans have a “very favorable” opinion of Trump.

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First Published: Jul 31 2023 | 11:28 PM IST

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