More polling shows Gov. Ron DeSantis as a strong potential candidate for the presidency should he run in 2024.
A Chicago Sun Times/WBEZ survey released Monday showed that while roughly half of Republicans back another run from former President Donald Trump, DeSantis has made a dent in Trump’s support even in the Land of Lincoln.
Trump was the preference of 51% of those polled, with DeSantis taking 23% support. As is often the case, no other candidate was even close. Former Vice President Mike Pence has 6% support. Former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz and Tim Scott, and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie were farther back still.
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio was a nonstarter, with just 1% support.
This survey of Illinois Republicans offers the latest in a series of state polls showing Trump as the front-runner still, with DeSantis the main alternative voters prefer.
Reported polling from the conservative Club for Growth offers more evidence of a two-man race for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination. New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman tweeted that the group “regularly tested” a hypothetical head-to-head matchup, with Trump winning “handily” in most states, but not Georgia.
Even polls showing a double-digit Trump lead have started to show the former President under 50% with Republican voters. A Texas survey from May showed Trump up over DeSantis, 45% to 28%, when both men were in the field. With the former President eliminated as a choice, DeSantis was the choice of 56% of respondents.
Polling from the Tar Heel State, via the North Carolina Chamber of Commerce and other pollsters, told a similar story. DeSantis wasn’t the front-runner with Trump in the field, but surged when the former President’s name wasn’t presented.
DeSantis, of course, continues to deny interest in running, with the latest comments to that effect coming Monday in New York City.
“The interesting thing about me is people will always inject my name into it, just based off what I’m doing in Florida,” DeSantis said.
“It’s a little bit different for me. I think there’s obviously people that, the minute 2020 ended, have been basically running, and they’re going around doing all that stuff. That’s just not what I’ve been doing. I’ve just been focusing on the task at hand.”
Despite the Governor’s repeated denials of interest, the Washington Post notes DeSantis is already in the middle of a shadow race for the nomination.
“Beating Trump’s 2020 margin of 3 percentage points in Florida has become a key campaign goal, according to three people familiar with the conversations. They said DeSantis’s wife, Casey, a former television host and among a small circle of confidants, wants him to run for President,” the Post contends.
“The couple believes that the Governor’s skills are uniquely matched to the current political climate, and are wary of waiting six years, by which time the tides may have shifted. DeSantis has not indicated if he would defer a campaign if Trump runs.”