If former President Donald Trump doesn’t run again in 2024, Gov. Ron DeSantis is the favorite. That’s one read of a poll dropped Friday.
A national survey of 463 likely voters from McLaughlin showed the Florida Governor was the choice of 24% of those surveyed between Oct. 14 and Oct. 18.
That 24% puts DeSantis ahead of Donald Trump Jr., who was preferred by 18% of those polled. Former Vice President Mike Pence was in third place, the choice of 14% surveyed.
No other candidate had more than 5% support in the poll. Florida Senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott were the choice of just 2%.
DeSantis had just 22% support in the September poll, which showed him only 3% ahead of Trump Jr. and 7% ahead of Pence.
While the polling suggests a path for DeSantis if the former President does not run, a survey with the senior Donald Trump included looks worse for the Governor. Trump was preferred by 53% of those surveyed. DeSantis was the choice of just 10% in that scenario.
Trump isn’t worried about a DeSantis Primary challenge.
“If I faced him, I’d beat him like I would beat everyone else,” Trump told Yahoo! Finance, noting DeSantis likely would stand down.
“I don’t think I will face him,” Trump said. “I think most people would drop out; I think he would drop out.”
Another September survey from the Center for American Political Studies at Harvard University and the Harris Poll painted a different picture. That survey said Trump is still the overwhelming favorite, and it’s actually Vice President Mike Pence who would be the second choice. Trump drew 58% support when included, compared to Pence’s 13% and DeSantis’ 9%. Without Trump, Pence was the choice of 32%, and DeSantis just 20%.
Though 2024 is a long way off, DeSantis continues attempts to establish himself as a strong alternative to President Joe Biden. He was booked on Fox News opposite Biden’s CNN town hall event, but the Governor just got a few minutes, buried in the second quarter hour of Tucker Carlson‘s show.
Potential 2022 opponents, meanwhile, remind DeSantis that he is in Trump’s shadow where 2024 is concerned, and decry political moves such as calling a Special Session to address vaccine mandates.
“And that begs the question — with everything going on in our state, why the hell is (DeSantis) calling a special session on this? I think I know the answer. Because he’s running for President as Donald Trump, Jr. Jr.,” snarked a fundraising email from Nikki Fried Thursday.
U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist tweeted likewise: “We all know why Ron is pulling this stunt — so he can show his loyalty to Trump. It’s disgusting, it’s wrong, and I vehemently oppose it.”