Election 2024

Not even Florida Republicans support Ron DeSantis

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) Photo: YouTube screenshot

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) is trying to beat former President Donald Trump for the Republican presidential nomination. However, a new poll has found that Republican voters in DeSantis’ own state far prefer Trump to him.

The poll asked 933 registered Republican voters, “If the Republican presidential primary were held in Florida today, which candidate would you vote for?” While 50% of respondents answered Trump, only 30% answered DeSantis.

Even when respondents were asked the same question with only Trump and DeSantis as the possible candidates, 54% chose Trump and 37% chose DeSantis. The poll was conducted by Florida Atlantic University’s PolCom Lab and the Canadian public opinion firm Mainstreet Research.

Perhaps the poll’s findings shouldn’t be so surprising. RealClearPolitics’ average of national polls shows Trump leading DeSantis nationally by an average of 32.1%, as of July 10. Similarly, the statistical news site FiveThirtyEight’s national poll average shows Trump leading DeSantis in national polls by a margin of 28.9%.

DeSantis has only beaten Trump in one national CNN poll from early March, according to RealClearPolitics.

It’s also no surprise that Republicans privately loathe DeSantis. Numerous sources quoted in a September 2022 Vanity Fair article described DeSantis as combative and cold with “a mix of extreme arrogance and painful awkwardness.”

Last week, Steve Cortes, a top official for DeSantis’s political action committee (PAC), said that DeSantis faces an “uphill battle” to win the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.

“Right now, in national polling, we are way behind. I’ll be the first to admit that,” Cortes said. “I believe in being really blunt and really honest. It’s an uphill battle.”

“The former president has debated through two successive presidential cycles, so of course he possesses a lot of experience in that arena,” Cortes added. “But I am convinced that Governor DeSantis will outperform expectations and inform large audiences about his amazing life, political record, and winning agenda for the presidency.”

Despite Cortes’s rosy outlook, LGBTQ+ ally Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D) said last Sunday that DeSantis “has made some very large, critical errors” in trying to prove that he’s more of a warrior than Trump when it comes to his fighting against “woke” social issues like LGBTQ+- and racial-inclusion.

“Well, you can’t out-Trump Trump, right? And that’s what he’s really been trying to do. His attacks on teachers, on schools, on LGBT Americans I think go way too far in the State of Florida,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “And I think that they are a profound political miscalculation and an overcompensation.”

She pointed out DeSantis’s rabidly anti-LGBTQ+ ad which featured oiled-up bodybuilders while praising DeSantis’s numerous attacks on queer people. In response to the ad, gay Republicans have been abandoning DeSantis in droves, and The New Republic published a piece calling it “the weirdest ad in American political history.”

Ocasio-Cortez continued, “[DeSantis] may be trying to win a base, but that base belongs to Donald Trump. And he has sacrificed, I think, the one thing that others may have thought would make him competitive, which is this idea that he would somehow be more rational than Donald Trump, which he isn’t.”

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