Another day brings another survey showing Gov. Ron DeSantis is the first choice of Republican presidential Primary voters in 2024, but only if Donald Trump doesn’t stand in his way.
McLaughlin & Associates polled likely voters about the 2024 Primary and results tracked with previous polls by the firm.
The former President received 53% support when included in a larger group of potential 2024 candidates, with DeSantis mustering 13% for a distant second place.
When the former President was excluded from the question, however, Gov. DeSantis led Donald Trump, Jr. and former Vice President Mike Pence, both of whom have polled well for months in McLaughlin surveys. At 26% in the January survey, DeSantis was eight points above the younger Trump, and 14 points over the fading Pence. No other candidates had double-digit support.
Polling and pollsters continue to suggest DeSantis may be the “fresh face” who can consolidate power against Trump. A poll Florida Politics reported on this week from the John Bolton Super PAC came with an analysis contending that Trump was “unraveling” and his influence over the party would continue to diffuse.
These polls come as tensions between Trump and DeSantis are becoming more widely reported, including claims it would be “too much to ask” for DeSantis to preemptively endorse another Trump term in 2024, as Trump bemoans a “dull” DeSantis.
Those on the Trump side of the divide are more willing to stoke the fires of discontent than DeSantis adherents seem to be.
On Wednesday, Lara Trump discounted rumors of “bad blood” between Trump and DeSantis, while suggesting Florida’s Governor may just need “another opportunity” to demonstrate his support for Trump ahead of the 2024 election.
Trump associate Roger Stone, teasing a third-party challenge to DeSantis for Governor in 2022, released a video the same day claiming the former President had to “drag (DeSantis) over the finish line” against Democrat Andrew Gillum in 2018.
Meanwhile, during a Tuesday appearance on the Fox Business Channel, Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez dismissed reports of a Trump-DeSantis split as “media obsession” and “made-up animosity.”
The Governor is trying to avoid giving interesting quotes on the matter.
“Don’t take the bait, and just kind of keep on keeping on. We need everybody united for a big red wave in 2022,” DeSantis said on the friendly Ruthless Podcast last week.