Three Florida politicians rank among Republicans’ top picks to succeed President Donald Trump as the next Republican president in 2024, according to an early poll.
Sen. Marco Rubio led the Florida contingent at 15%, good enough for fifth in the Axios/SurveyMonkey poll released Saturday. The state’s recent governors, Sen. Rick Scott and Gov. Ron DeSantis ranked eighth and ninth, respectively, at 8%.
But even Rubio clearly falls in the second tier of candidates in an environment where the Trump brand runs strong. Vice President Mike Pence, at 40%; Donald Trump Jr., at 29%; and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, at 26%; polled in the top three. And just ahead of Rubio landed Ivanka Trump at 16%.
Team Florida has maintained high national profiles in recent years between elections, natural disasters and foreign policy. Rubio was an early favorite in the 2016 Republican primary but pulled out after losing Florida to the elder Trump.
And Scott and DeSantis’ close 2018 victories drew coast-to-coast attention in a national environment where Republicans lost the generic congressional ballot by 8.4 percentage points. Scott unseated Sen. Bill Nelson 50.1% to 49.9% while DeSantis beat out former Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum 49.6% to 49.2%.
Pence beat his prospective rivals among all age groups, except among 18- to 29-year-olds. With that youngest voting bloc, Don Jr. beat the Vice President with 34% to his 27%.
And the prospective female candidates performed better among men than they did among women. Haley polled 30% among men and 22% among women, while Ivanka Trump polled 17% among men and 15% among women.
However, no candidate performed better among women than they did among men. The 15% of women who chose not to answer, compared to the 8% of men, could be a contributing factor.
The Democratic race, assuming no Democrats wins in November, showed a more split lead with several familiar faces from 2020. South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, California Sen. Kamala Harris and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker polled at 30%, 26% and 24%, respectively.
No Florida Democrats appeared on the 2024 poll, but Stacey Abrams, the 2018 Democratic gubernatorial nominee in Georgia, polled at 18%. One might expect Gillum, another African American Democrat to narrowly lose a statewide race in the South, to poll similarly.
The GOP Axios/SurveyMonkey poll, released Saturday, surveyed 1,854 Republicans and independents who lean Republican from Dec. 14 to Dec. 17. The Democratic race poll surveyed 1,769 Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents over the same period.
Both polls’ margins of error were 2.5 percentage points.