According to survey results released this week by a top conservative polling firm, Donald Trump is facing a pretty rough trend. The survey found that Ron DeSantis is now more popular than Trump — even among a substantial number of those who voted for Trump in the 2020 presidential election.
As reported by Daily Wire, WPA Intelligence, which has been used by top Republican U.S. Senators and top conservative organizations like the Family Research Council, surveyed 1,160 registered voters nationwide and has a margin of error of +/-2.9% at the 95% confidence level. In other words, we’re not talking about some random snap poll, here.
The survey was conducted as part of the firm’s effort to figure out why Republicans under-performed in the 2022 midterms, about which many had predicted a red wave that turned out in the end to be a red trickle.
While Trump is still generally liked among Republicans — 70 percent still view him favorably — those numbers are down significantly from where they were in the past surveys, with a majority of Republican voters no longer viewing the former president as “the head of the Republican Party.”
Moreover, the survey found that the FBI’s raid on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home energized Democrats more than Republicans with 35 percent of Democrats saying the raid was “very important” in influencing their vote, compared to 22 percent of Republicans. In addition:
Republican pundits and candidates may have inadvertently helped Democrats by spending much of the month of August addressing the raid.
In addition, as Daily Wire noted, DeSantis’s numbers are continuing to rise:
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ net favorability ratings surpass Trump among Republicans (+66 vs. +44), Fox News viewers (+58 vs. +27), and Trump’s own 2020 voters (+69 vs. +54).
DeSantis is also well liked by a broad coalition of Republicans with a 68%/0% favorable/unfavorable rating among self-described “Trump Republicans”; 71%/9% among “Traditional Republicans”; and 82%/5% among “Reagan Republicans.”
DeSantis has more crossover appeal than both Trump and Biden with a net -3 favorability rating among Independent voters compared to -27 for Biden and -39 for Trump.
Among split-ticket voters, DeSantis’ net favorability rating is +7, Biden’s is -21, and Trump’s is -36. Sixty-four percent of all voters — including 60% of Republicans, 63% of Independents, and 65% of split-ticket voters — say Trump was a major reason for the Republican Party’s poor performance in the midterm elections.
Trump is viewed unfavorably by almost one in three (29%) voters who backed Republicans in the midterms, including 33% of “Reagan Republicans,” 34% of “Traditional Republicans,” 34% of Fox News viewers, and even one in five (21%) voters who backed him in 2020.
Additionally, 66% of Independents view Trump unfavorably, including 52% who view him “very unfavorably.”
A plurality of Republicans (40%) — including 50% of self-described “Traditional Republicans” and “Reagan Republicans” — say Trump should no longer be the leader and face of the Republican Party while 37% say he should be. Among Fox News viewers, 45% say Trump should no longer be the leader and face of the GOP while 35% say he should be.
Spin it however you want, but those numbers are no doubt worrisome to Trump’s inner circle, and more importantly, to large donors.
A Word on Polls and Polling
At best, political surveys are a snapshot in time of how people feel at the time of the survey about an issue or candidate, with those feelings subject to change as time and events unfold — and there will be a lot of both before a 2024 nominee is selected by voters.
Perhaps most importantly, scientifically conducted and analyzed survey results can point to future trends, based in part on current results vs. past results. While hardly a guarantee, the wise among us who are interested in these sorts of things would do well to heed respected polling organizations’ findings.
With the traditional start of the 2024 presidential election season more than a year away, and all eyes on Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis, Trump has already begun to obsess over the popular Florida governor, foolishly calling him “Ron DeSanctimonious,” while DeSantis has brushed off Trump’s sophomoric attacks, recently while taking midterms shot at Trump in the process (emphasis, mine):
One of the things I’ve learned, like learning this job, is when you’re leading, when you’re getting things done, you take incoming fire. That’s just the nature of it. I roll out of bed in the morning. I’ve got corporate media outlets that have a spasm.
Just the fact that I’m getting up in the morning, and it’s constantly attacking, and this is just what’s happened. I don’t think any governor got attacked more particularly by corporate media than me over my four-year term.
What matters is, are you leading? Are you getting in front of issues? Are you delivering results for people? And are you standing up for folks? And if you do that, then none of that stuff matters. And that’s what we’ve done.
We focused on results and leadership, and at the end of the day, I would just tell people to go check out the scoreboard from last Tuesday night.
The Bottom Line
Make no mistake: It’s game-on between these two guys, and I suspect neither is going to back down. The better DeSantis does, the more Trump will attack — it’s his M.O. The higher the road DeSantis takes, the lower Trump will go.
How it ends is anyone’s guess, at this point, regardless of surveys, polls, and wishful thinking.