Gov. Ron DeSantis was the only Republican not named Donald Trump to have significant traction with the party in a poll from earlier this month that Axios first reported on Monday morning.
Of 800 Republican voters polled July 6-8, DeSantis’s favorability rating was +54, just one point lower than Donald Trump Jr., who led a field of seven GOP figures. Those numbers come from international survey and consulting firm Fabrizio Lee & Associates.
The poll included a 3.46 percentage point margin of error, which could tip favor toward DeSantis.
House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy came in a distant third with a +24 favorability rating, followed by embattled U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, the subject of two investigations of sexual misconduct, including one possible case of sex-trafficking a minor. Gaetz had a +17 rating.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, who has yet to meet a conspiracy theory she didn’t like, outpaced Senate Republican Leader and self-proclaimed legislative “Grim Reaper” Mitch McConnell in popularity, +8 to +2.
Trailing all others with a dismal -43 favorability rating was U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, whom Republicans have all but jettisoned from their ranks for having the audacity to call out former President Trump’s “destructive lies” about a stolen 2020 election.
“We found Mitch McConnell’s image has significantly improved since February, while Kevin McCarthy’s has remained consistent but positive,” said Tom Fabrizio, who was a pollster on both of Trump’s presidential campaigns. “Liz Cheney is incredibly unpopular, while Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene have positive images but are largely undefined and driven by the far right of the party. Ron DeSantis and Donald Trump Jr. are well-known and very well-liked by most Republicans, doing best among President Trump’s biggest supporters.”
DeSantis has polled strongly among the GOP base for a 2024 run at the White House, winning handily among all other potential candidates if one key factor is in place: that the former President is not in the running.
Echoing poll results from earlier this year, 68% of attendees polled at a Conservative Political Action Conference in Dallas this month named DeSantis as their top pick for President in three years in a theoretical Trumpless race.
He beat former State Secretary Mike Pompeo and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, both of whom received 5%. Trump Jr. also got just 5% in the poll, which showed U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott of Florida respectively getting 1% and 0% of the vote.
But in a poll with Trump as an option, DeSantis earned only 21%, far behind Trump’s 70% but still well ahead of all others, none of whom broke 1%.