Trump extends his lead over DeSantis and reinforces his leadership among Republicans

The former president has pulled ahead of the governor of Florida, his main rival in the party primaries, by 37 points according to an average of polls

María Antonia Sánchez-Vallejo
Donald Trump takes the podium to address his supporters at a campaign rally this Saturday in Erie, Pennsylvania.
Donald Trump takes the podium to address his supporters at a campaign rally this Saturday in Erie, Pennsylvania.JEFF SWENSEN (Getty Images / AFP)

Donald Trump as a Republican candidate is like those top athletes who accumulate victories without knowing defeat. Despite the series of legal setbacks he is facing, polls consistently show that the former U.S. president has a big lead over the rest of the candidates who will contest the party’s primaries for the 2024 presidential election. The latest poll by Siena College/The New York Times confirmed his lead on Monday: with 54% support among the likely Republican primary electorate, he is 37 points ahead of second-placed Ron DeSantis, who gets 17% backing.

A long way behind, three other candidates registered a meager 3% support (Mike Pence, who was Trump’s vice president; Senator Tim Scott, and former Trump-appointed United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley). Respondents showed 2% support for former New Jersey governor Chris Christie and the entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy. The poll does not reflect the six other candidates who scored even lower.

One conclusion can be inferred from the data: not even by adding the votes for the rest of the candidates, if they decided to withdraw from the race, could DeSantis prevail over Trump in the primaries. Support for the former president also increased considerably among the party’s most conservative voters, giving him a 50-point advantage, or 65% compared to 15% for DeSantis. The governor of Florida scored poorly in decisive segments of the party, electorally speaking: he only obtained 9% support among voters over 65 years of age and 13% among those without a university degree. Blue-collar workers continue to be loyal to Trump, as they were in 2016.

Other recent polls, such as the one by Morning Consult — updated on July 25 — give Trump an even greater lead: 59% support compared to 16% for DeSantis. As the Florida governor’s campaign forcibly undergoes a reboot to regain ground, each judicial setback (and Trump has had several so far this year) only seems to advance his candidacy. In the Morning Consult poll, Ramaswamy is in third place, with 8% of potential Republican primary voters backing him. Potential voters in the Republican Party primaries are 32% more likely to have recently heard something positive about the businessman, which is, according to this pollster, the highest level of expectation in the sector, a figure that some other surveys confirm but not so the Siena College/New York Times poll.

In the average number of polls projected by FiveThirtyEight, an opinion poll analysis website, Trump obtained 52.6% on Monday, ahead of DeSantis (15.6%) and Ramaswamy (6.3%). Trailing in fourth place was Pence (third in the Siena/New York Times poll), with a slightly higher percentage: 4.3%. The YouGov poll for The Economist magazine roughly shows the same lead for Trump as the Siena/New York Times survey. Another reliable projection by IPSOS/Reuters gave Trump 47% support at the beginning of July compared to 19% for DeSantis, a bigger lead than the 44%-29% registered before the first indictment of the former president in New York in late March.

According to the charts, Trump’s popularity among voters has soared since a Manhattan grand jury voted to indict him in the Stormy Daniels case. His campaign registered a record number of donations after the news broke, while voting intention surged.

Although 61% of Americans are in favor of renewing their political class — Congress has a significant amount of lawmakers in their eighties — Trump, 77, is aiming to be the challenger to President Joe Biden, who is 80. The charges that he faces, and those that might be added in the near future in connection with alleged attempts to overturn election results in Georgia in 2020, are no impediment to his running for office. Not even a conviction would disqualify him.

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