An analysis of online chatter shows that regardless of GOP Primary polling, Republican Ron DeSantis holds growing appeal for swing voters.
Impact Social has conducted a long-term analysis of online and social media communications for swing voters. It found that as of mid-July, DeSantis still scores better on its swing voter sentiment tracker than former President Donald Trump, the front-runner for the GOP nomination, or incumbent Democratic President Joe Biden.
Between July 5 and 19, DeSantis’ score on the tracker went from a -22 to a -12. Meanwhile, Biden’s score went from -22 to just -20 over the same period. Meanwhile, Trump’s score on the same tracking dropped from -38 to -40.
What’s behind the bump for DeSantis? Impact Social analysts say it’s all about electability.
“It appears that policies or pronouncements — such as his ‘war on woke’ or his CNN interview — are of secondary interest at present,” Impact Social analysts write. “What has changed is the number of right-leaning independents expressing grave concern that Trump cannot beat Biden. For them, this is a simple, pragmatic realization, if Trump wins the GOP nomination, Biden gets re-elected.”
Importantly, Impact Social has conducted the analysis for Ready For Ron, a draft movement launched to urge DeSantis into the presidential race. With DeSantis in the race, the organization is rebranding as Ready to Win.
But the tracking of activity dates to June of last year. Over that period, DeSantis has consistently outperformed Trump regarding the sentiments of swing voters online. For most of that period, he also surpassed Biden, though not always. The lowest DeSantis ever scored was -22 in early June, but he and Biden had identical scores.
But DeSantis is the only one of the three candidates who Impact Social published data on who has ever tallied a positive score on the voter sentiment tracker. The came on Nov. 9, right after DeSantis won re-election as Florida’s Governor by a 19-percentage-point landslide. Of note, Biden also scored his highest sentiment score as Democrats defied historical trends in the Midterms to expand a Senate majority and limit House losses. Still, even then, the incumbent had a -5 score.
According to the analysis, Trump, a consistent leader in Primary polls, has never shown positive traction with swing voters. His zenith on the tracker, a -23 in August last year, remains lower than DeSantis’ or Biden’s nadir. He has since been indicted in New York and federal court, each time seeing a boost in GOP Primary polling as base voters rallied around him but suffering in the eyes of swing voters, according to the analysis.
According to the tracking, swing voters have expressed a distaste for Trump’s polarizing nature. A sample post in the analysis voiced concerns: “Trump can NOT win the General Election. It’s NOT about dividing the party. It’s about winning the General Election.”
“This 40K swing voter tracker has, for the last 13 months, shown Trump’s complete inability to connect with them. Such is their low opinion of him that his net sentiment was barely impacted by either indictment — their contempt already baked in,” Impact Social analysts wrote. “So, the question from right-leaning independents to their GOP counterparts is simple, are we going for DeSantis, or are we happy to see the Democrats take the White House?”
Ready To Win leaders said the data gave them confidence DeSantis can still make the case he should be the Republican nominee.
“Traditional polling is effectively nonsense. It asks the wrong questions of the wrong, tiny subset of people to only get answers from those who desperately want to convince you (and themselves) of their outsider viewpoints, and then applies magical math to try and fix the obviously wrong results. The polling is almost always wrong; it has been wrong in every election over the past eight years, and we’d be crazy to believe it again,” said Dan Backer, legal counsel for Ready to Win.
“Anti-polling is honest, reliable and true. And it confirms what people already know: Donald Trump can’t beat Joe Biden. Only Ron DeSantis can, and only he can win the primary to do it. I’m not anti-Trump, after voting for him in 2016 and 2020, but he lost—badly—the last time around. Every single shred of reputable data is crystal clear: Swing voters have utterly abandoned Trump, and he cannot win a general election. Only DeSantis can.”