New polling suggests that in a hypothetical 2024 Republican presidential Primary, Florida Republicans would pick Gov. Ron DeSantis over former President Donald Trump.
The survey of 259 Republican voters from the University of North Florida Public Opinion Research Lab showed the Governor with a slim lead inside the margin of error.
DeSantis was the choice of 44% of those surveyed, with Trump the choice of 41%, inside the MOE of 6 percentage points. The poll found 2% of respondents wanted someone else, while a total of 13% either didn’t know or refused to answer the question.
There was a gender gap in these responses, as 51% of men wanted DeSantis to be the nominee, 19 points ahead of Trump. But Trump was ahead of DeSantis with female voters, 49% to 37%.
The fresh polling from UNF accords with a survey of a hypothetical Florida Primary between Trump and DeSantis conducted last month.
A survey conducted late last month by Suffolk University and USA Today found Trump was the choice of 47% of those surveyed, while DeSantis was preferred by 40% in that hypothetical head-to-head matchup.
A gender gap existed in that poll also for the Governor. DeSantis led Trump by one percentage point with male voters. Female voters, however, went for Trump 51% to 38%.
Still more localized polling confirms the statewide surveys.
A survey by St. Pete Polls measured opinion from 501 likely GOP voters in Florida’s 16th Congressional District, one of 27 House districts in Florida. DeSantis drew more than 43% support, as compared to just under 40% for Trump. That spread fell inside the poll’s 4.4 point MOE.
The new polling is well-timed, meanwhile, with the relationship between Trump and DeSantis a subject of considerable speculation ahead of this weekend’s Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando.
DeSantis is slated to speak Thursday, and Trump is scheduled for Saturday. They are expected to be the top two choices in the much-anticipated CPAC straw poll, a key metric for movement conservatives.
In 2021, DeSantis was second-best to Trump in the straw poll. Trump was the choice of 55% and DeSantis 21% if both men were running. But without Trump in the field, DeSantis was the choice of 43%, with South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem far behind at 11%.
This time around, it’s possible DeSantis may be more competitive.