Polls show Trump ahead for ’24 GOP nod, but only DeSantis beating Biden
Former President Donald Trump remains the clear front-runner for the 2024 GOP nomination — but not to defeat President Joe Biden in the general election. And when that second fact kicks in with Republican voters, the first should change.
Republicans want to win, but understand (better than Democrats, it seems) that their candidates also need support from moderates.
Trump’s failure on that front is why he lost in 2020: Four years of noise to please his fans turned off millions who (mostly) approved of his policies or at least their results.
And his behaviour since losing has only made the problem worse: he is still obsessively insisting he was the real winner, antics that exhaust even those willing to forget.
His age, just two years younger than Biden’s, doesn’t help. Taking into account his volatile behavior, it nullifies one of the voters’ biggest concerns about the incumbent.
For evidence, look no further than the recent crop of polls showing Trump winning Florida Governor Ron DeSantis for the ’24 nomination.
He is eight points higher (when he was four points lower) in the Yahoo News/YouGov survey; Emerson has him 30 ahead; Echelon Insights and Fox News, v 15.
But time and time again the same polls showing that Trump loses to Biden overall — while DeSantis would win.
In a nutshell, those polls show:
1) GOP Voters’ memories have faded (for now) when it comes to the disaster Trump midwifed in last November’s midterm elections, when candidates he had supported went up in flames across the country, sending Republicans out of control of the Senate. and almost took the House.
But 2) independent voters still don’t want him, but go for a man who is Democrats (and the Dem-loving media) despise just as much. Trump himself is the problem.
As a matter of fact, DeSantis won in a landslide in November, adding nearly 20 points to his victory margin from four years earlier. Unlike Trump, that is, him wins over ever skeptical independents.
Trump has made some gains with the Republicans over the past month for actively campaigning, while DeSantis hasn’t even thrown his hat in the ring yet.
But even Trump’s triumphs are telling: He headlined last weekend’s Conservative Political Action Conference, speaking of all the successes of his four years in office and the disasters his successor has wrought.
That won cheers from the crowd – but it was far smaller than previous CPAC audiences.
That’s because the outfit is now headed by a full-fledged Trumpie who had managed to shrink its base even before getting caught up in an ugly harassment scandal. Many solid conservatives, CPAC veterans, stayed away.
Don’t get us wrong: DeSantis can enter the race and flop, making another candidate the main alternative to Trump. But he is widely seen as Trump’s strongest “challenger.”
Indeed, while still on the sidelines, DeSantis ranks higher than any “No. 2 Republican pick” since Ronald Reagan in 1976.
Reagan came close to a beating sitting President Gerald Ford for the nomination that year. Ford went wild; Reagan, to win it all in 1980.
The fact is that the vast majority of Americans do not want to re-elect Trump or Biden in 2024. Democrats can’t seem to stop Joe, but Republicans have plenty of time to come up with a better bet than Don.
If GOP voters want to win back the presidency, they must look to the future and rally behind a conservative who can win.