Why Is DeSantis 'Electability' Argument Over Trump Not Reflected in Polls?

AP Photo/Chris O'Meara, File

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis may have a case to make for being president. But one of his major selling points — that he’s more “electable” in the 2024 general election than Donald Trump — isn’t being reflected in the polls.


Despite facing four indictments, Donald Trump is still the heavy favorite to win the Republican nomination for president.  That’s not surprising when a majority of Republicans believe that the indictments are politically motivated.

But a recent Fox News poll on the 2024 general election found Trump performing better than any other GOP candidate. Clearly, at this point in the campaign, Trump is the choice of Republican voters regardless of his legal predicaments. And it’s difficult to see how any more revelations about the four cases will fundamentally change the fact that Trump is the clear and unqualified choice of Republican voters.

The New York Sun:

In the general election survey, the poll found that Mr. Trump is the strongest candidate for Republicans, enjoying 41 percent support in a matchup against President Biden, who garnered 44 percent support. The poll suggests that Mr. Trump would lose against the incumbent.

Mr. DeSantis was the next best-performing Republican, carrying 39 percent support to Mr. Biden’s 44 percent. In a matchup between businessman Vivek Ramaswamy and Mr. Biden, Mr. Ramaswamy would carry 38 percent support, to Mr. Biden’s 42 percent.

The former ambassador to the United Nations and governor of South Carolina, Nikki Haley, and Senator Scott both would carry 36 percent support against Mr. Biden, while Mr. Biden would carry 42 percent support in both matchups, according to the poll. The survey of 1,002 registered voters was conducted for Fox News alongside Beacon Research and Shaw and Company Research. The general election results had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 points.


DeSantis’s much-ballyhooed campaign “reboot” hasn’t come to much — at least, not yet. And there are indications that other candidates are in a better position to become the alternative to Donald Trump among those Republicans looking to derail Trump’s candidacy.

Coinciding with Mr. DeSantis’s efforts to regain momentum heading into the primaries next year, Mr. Ramaswamy has more than doubled his support in the GOP primary since the June survey. Mr. Ramaswamy currently enjoys about 11 percent support of primary voters who responded to the survey. In June, that number was 5 percent.

“The story here is Ramaswamy,” pollster Daron Shaw told Fox News. “He is the first candidate to break from the pack to challenge DeSantis, and while he’s a long way from threatening Trump, he’s taking steps in the right direction.”

Ramaswamy is the flavor of the month for the time being. As media attention falls on him, he’ll have to show he has the staying power to outlast the other Republican challengers to Trump.

The attitude of voters toward Trump and the indictments is definitely not what the Joe Biden and the Democrats want to hear.

“Trump is obviously running for president and the sitting administration is pushing to have their political rival arrested and put in jail,” said a 56-year-old Republican from Eldersburg, Maryland, Cary Arnold. “Just on the surface that’s a very, very bad look. That’s something that you would expect to see in third world countries that are run by dictators.”


Related: DeSantis May Not Be Topping the Polls (Yet), But Floridians Are Enjoying a Lot of Winning

This is the general feeling among all but the most rabid Democratic partisans who hysterically oppose Trump. Voters are uneasy about Trump’s actions, but making four criminal cases out of it?

“I have not seen anything that seemed to be illegal,” Mr. Arnold said. “I know people have said that he did things illegally, but none of the things that they’ve said make any sense.”

There is no “slam dunk” court case among the four indictments.  But when indicting a former president from the opposition party who is far ahead in the race to represent that party in the 2024 general election, a “slam dunk” is precisely what’s called for.


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