A new poll conducted after the midterm election shows GOP support for former President Donald Trump to be the Republican Party’s 2024 presidential nominee dropping as the percentage backing Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis has increased substantially.
Many Republicans and conservative media have blamed Trump for their party’s relatively poor showing in the November 8 election. A number of the most prominent gubernatorial and Senate candidates endorsed by the former president failed to win their elections.
As a result, the GOP’s chances of taking control of the Senate remains in doubt in a year where analysts, public polling, and historical precedent all suggested Republicans should see a “red wave” propelling them into control of Congress. Even if the party manages to flip the House—with results still pending in multiple races—Republicans’ margin may be even smaller than what Democrats currently have, according to some analysts.
Meanwhile, DeSantis and Republicans performed extremely well in Florida. The GOP governor won reelection by nearly 20 points against Democratic challenger Charlie Crist. DeSantis was already seen by most analysts as the Republican frontrunner for the party’s 2024 nomination if Trump chooses not to run. Now, with Trump-backed candidate’s poor performance in the midterm and DeSantis’ success, many conservatives view the Florida governor as a superior option.
The first polling conducted after the midterm shows that GOP voters may be moving in that direction as well. Results from a survey conducted by Big Village Public Opinion Polling from November 9 to 11 show support for Trump to be the 2024 GOP nominee dipped from 56 percent before the midterm to 50 percent directly afterward—a decline of 6 points.
Meanwhile, Republican support for DeSantis to be the party’s next presidential nominee jumped from 27 to 34 percent—an increase of 7 points. While the former president is still GOP voters’ top choice, the decline in support for him and DeSantis’ surge is notable given the midterm results.
Support for Trump has fallen off even more dramatically when looking back to where he stood in Big Village’s polling in August. In a survey carried out from August 8 to 10, 68 percent of respondents said they wanted Trump to be the GOP nominee. That means support for the former president dropped off by 18 points in just three months.
Looking at DeSantis, his support stood at just 16 percent in early August. That means he has surged in the polling data by 18 points in the same period of time. However, the survey has a small sample size of just 384 respondents. Generally, up until the midterm, polls have shown Trump leading DeSantis by double-digits for the 2024 nomination.
The current RealClearPolitics average of polls show Trump with nearly 52 percent support and DeSantis with just 20.5 percent. That average includes polls conducted from September 7 to October 31—meaning it was last updated about a week before the midterm was held.
Neither Trump nor DeSantis have officially declared an intention to seek their party’s presidential nomination in 2024. Trump is expected to announce a presidential bid next week, and has long hinted that he plans to run again.
Jason Miller, a former senior adviser to Trump who remains a close ally, told former Trump administration official Steve Bannon on his War Room podcast on Friday that the former president will announce his intentions on Tuesday. Some had speculated that Trump may postpone such an announcement, or forego it altogether due to the poor showing for Republicans in the midterm.
“President Trump is going to announce on Tuesday that he’s running for president, and it’s going to be a very professional, very buttoned-up announcement,” Miller told Bannon. “He said, ‘There doesn’t need to be any question. Of course I’m running. I’m gonna do this and I want to make sure that people know that I’m fired up.'”
On Thursday night, Trump issued a press statement: “President Donald J. Trump, 45th President of the United States of America, will hold a special announcement at the Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida on Tuesday, November 15, 2022, at 9:00PM EST.”
The former president has also doubled-down on attacks targeting DeSantis. Over the past few months, Trump had increasingly appeared to diss DeSantis as speculation grew over the Florida governor’s 2024 ambitions. In the wake of the election, Trump has openly attacked his Republican rival, even claiming without evidence that he interfered in the 2018 election to ensure he’d win his bid to become governor.
Trump took credit for DeSantis beating Democrat Andrew Gillum in 2018 by holding “two massive rallies” in support of DeSantis and fixing his campaign, which the former president said “had completely fallen apart.”
“The Fake News asks him if he’s going to run if President Trump runs, and he says, ‘I’m only focused on the Governor’s race, I’m not looking into the future.’ Well, in terms of loyalty and class, that’s really not the right answer,” the former president wrote in a Thursday Truth Social post.
Newsweek reached out to press representatives for Trump and DeSantis for comment.