A new poll shows Ron DeSantis could compete with former President Donald Trump if they face each other for President.
The survey by St. Pete Polls measured opinion only in Florida’s 16th Congressional District, one of 27 House districts in Florida. But the polling outfit found Florida’s Governor with more than 43% support, as compared to just under 40% for Trump.
The difference between DeSantis and Trump does fall within the poll’s 4.4-point margin of error. The survey includes responses from 501 likely Republican voters. FiveThirtyEight rates St. Pete Polls with a grade of B+.
The poll measured support for just those two candidates, and 17% of voters said they were undecided. But the finding signals that in the two politicians’ home state, the Governor could be exciting more voters.
That’s all the more remarkable considering the Sarasota-based district is where Trump last year held one of his first post-presidency rallies. DeSantis did not attend that event as he dealt with the aftermath of a condo collapse in Surfside.
Notably, the survey shows Trump outperforming DeSantis among male voters, about 43% of whom favor the former President compared to under 40% who pick the Governor. DeSantis makes that up with women. Nearly 46% picked him in the survey compared to about 36% who prefer Trump.
Of course, the presidential election remains two years away. DeSantis, in order to remain a viable presidential candidate, likely must win re-election as Governor this year. While he holds a major financial advantage over Democratic opponents, Democrats expect to make that a competitive race by November with national attention likely.
And of course, while Trump now lives in Mar-a-Lago, he has the national profile afforded to a former President who made national headlines daily over a four-year term. DeSantis has enjoyed a growth in his national profile largely tied to the COVID-19 pandemic, where his more libertarian approach has earned fans around the country. But he likely has a name ID deficit to make up should he face Trump in a presidential race.