Fresh polling from two southern states shows Gov. Ron DeSantis is still the leading alternative to former President Donald Trump for Republicans in 2024.
Spry Strategies posed questions about voter preferences in the next GOP Presidential Primary. The questions came as part of larger polling of 600 likely voters in the Georgia and North Carolina Primaries between Apr. 6 and Apr. 10.
Trump was still the preference when in the field, but without the former President, the Governor held pole position in both surveys.
In Georgia, Trump was the preference of 43% of voters when included in the question, with DeSantis still the choice of 20%. No other candidate was above mid-single digits. Both Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley had 6% support. Just 15% of voters were undecided.
With Trump out of the field, DeSantis commanded 39% support in Georgia. Cruz, at 9%, was the next closest candidate. A full 30% of respondents did not commit to a candidate in a field without Trump.
DeSantis has joked about Georgia’s upcoming election, saying there would be a “cold war” with the Peach State if Democrat Stacey Abrams were elected Governor. What’s clear is that Republicans in that state, many of whom enjoy content from North Florida media markets, like what they see from DeSantis.
Trump was king in North Carolina as well when included in the question, though he courted less than 50% support, just like in Georgia. The former President had 48% support, with DeSantis at 19%. Ambassador Haley was the third-place finisher, with just 8% support. Only 13% of voters were undecided.
With Trump out of the field, DeSantis consolidated much of his support. His 32% share was way ahead of Cruz, at 11%, and former Vice President Mike Pence, who commanded 9% support. A full 32% of respondents were undecided without Trump in play.
This is the second recent North Carolina poll to show this general dynamic. A survey of 600 likely voters conducted from April 1-3 by Cygnal and the John Locke Foundation showed Trump ahead of DeSantis in a crowded field, 45% to 26%.
Trump seems to be aware of the potential rivalry. He told the The Washington Post this month that his endorsement made DeSantis viable in 2018, and that he has “doubt” that DeSantis or any other major Republican would run against him if Trump runs for President again in 2024.