Republican voters are getting weary with Donald Trump, new polling shows, and now prefer Gov. Ron DeSantis about as much as the former President in the 2024 presidential race.
Almost as noteworthy as the poll’s message is its source: a super PAC organized by Trump’s former National Security Adviser John Bolton, who had a falling out with Trump even before Trump supporters’ Jan. 6 insurgency of the U.S. Capitol, which led Bolton to offer to testify against his former boss.
Bolton, a Florida Man who, as a former U.S. ambassador, emerged as a leading hawkish Republican voice, is blaming America’s hasty and disastrous exit from Afghanistan for drubbing the former President’s popularity among Republican voters.
The same poll also shows Democratic President Joe Biden‘s popularity plunging since the August pullout led to a Taliban takeover of the former American protectorate, plus horrifying scenes of chaos at the Kabul airport during the exit.
The poll from the John Bolton SuperPAC shows Trump with 26% support nationally among Republican primary voters for a 2024 election. Another 74% said they preferred “not Trump.” The poll shows a 20-point drop for Trump since a previous John Bolton SuperPAC poll in July.
“This dramatic movement is the strongest evidence yet that Republican voters are tiring of Trump,” the committee declared in a news release.
When asked to pick from a list of potential 2024 Republican presidential candidates, Trump got 25%, while DeSantis got 25%. The difference is well within the poll’s margin of error.
It also shows DeSantis as the only well-positioned potential opponent of Trump.
Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley were preferred by only high single-digits of Republican primary voters in the poll. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, former Vice President Mike Pence, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, and Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley were in low single digits.
The poll shows that Trump’s support among “very conservative primary voters” fell to 34% ” from 58%. In that breakout, 66% of very conservative voters said they preferred “not Trump.”
Biden’s popularity plunged by 10 points overall in the poll and 30 points among independent voters.
“These numbers will probably come as a shock to Donald Trump. After 20 years in Afghanistan, it’s clear that Americans are unhappy with leaving as we did. Voters were smart enough to see that President Trump started the withdrawal and legitimized the Taliban through negotiations,” Bolton said in the release.
“They recognize that withdrawal carries more risks for the homeland than keeping a U.S. and NATO military presence in Afghanistan. Biden bears the responsibility for the final embarrassing moments, and his corresponding drop in support reflects that, but it’s not lost on anyone that Trump, like Biden, wanted to withdraw and shares the blame for the failure. National security matters to voters, especially when failure leads to greater risks, so you rightly see conservatives quickly considering options other than Donald Trump,” Bolton continued.
The poll of 1,000 likely general election voters was conducted Sept. 16-18. Pollsters say it has a margin of error of about 3%.
The super PAC said most Americans blame mistakes by both Presidents for the Afghanistan situation, and 55% say it was a mistake for Trump to negotiate with the Taliban.
Those negotiations began when Bolton served as Trump’s National Security adviser, from April 2018 to September 2019. However. Bolton and Trump were known to frequently be at odds, with Bolton resigning abruptly and Trump claiming he’d forced him out. Bolton disputed that narrative.
“Consistent with our prior polls, the desire for a fresh face continues to increase,” the release said. “Since former President Trump’s popularity has dropped with voters since the 2020 election, 57% to 29% agree that a new Republican candidate — a fresh face — would be a stronger candidate to defeat Joe Biden in 2024.”