DeSantis’ Latest Campaign Setback Comes as He Drops to Fifth Place in a New Hampshire Survey
Recent national and early-voting state surveys suggest significant declines for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis in the Republican presidential race. DeSantis's team has been arguing that the primary is really a two-way contest and that he is the only candidate who can consolidate support against Donald J. Trump, but recent data seems to disprove this claim.
A CNN/University of New Hampshire survey published on Wednesday revealed that DeSantis had lost more than half of his support since the previous U.N.H. poll two months earlier. This poll, which surveyed over 2,100 prospective Republican voters between Thursday and Monday, found that just 10% of respondents supported DeSantis, while 39% supported Trump. Four candidates trailed Trump by large margins: businessman Vivek Ramaswamy (13%), former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley (12%), former New Jersey governor Chris Christie (11%), and DeSantis.
Should Ron DeSantis drop out of the race and endorse Donald Trump for President? pic.twitter.com/245IGdDAJi— Alexander Sheppard 🇺🇸 (@NotAlexSheppard) September 23, 2023
However, another poll by Fox News seemed to suggest that DeSantis' support was not actively eroding; he was down just one point from the outlet's July survey, which is not statistically significant. The September survey put him at 15%, more than 30% behind Trump and not far from third place (with Haley following at 11%). Republican pollster Daron Shaw said, "Aside from Trump's vote dwarfing all the other candidates, the other troubling finding for those chasing him is no one is the clear second choice. DeSantis, Scott, Ramaswamy, and Haley are tightly grouped as second-choice, such that it isn't clear who emerges should Trump falter."
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, once considered a chief rival of former president Donald Trump, has fallen behind two Indian-American presidential candidates in the latest GOP polls in the crucial early primary state of New Hampshire.#US #VivekRamaswamy #Trump pic.twitter.com/ckh92X06uS— The News Now (@NewsNowJK) September 21, 2023
Despite landing in legal trouble this year, Trump has been leading in Republican surveys for months. Even after being indicted by federal prosecutors for allegedly mishandling confidential data at his Mar-a-Lago estate, Trump's popularity has risen. Even though he chose not to take part in the Republican debates, he has maintained his advantage. He skipped the first debate to have a sit-down interview with Tucker Carlson and will apparently miss the second to speak in Detroit to the striking United Auto Workers, reported The Hill.
SARASOTA HERALD-TRIBUNE:— Election Wizard (@ElectionWiz) September 23, 2023
“The campaign reboots haven't worked. Gov. Ron DeSantis continues to drop in the polls. Now the second GOP presidential primary debate is approaching on Wednesday, and a big question is whether it even matters.” pic.twitter.com/eb8fbZsjwc
On the other hand, the DeSantis campaign has had a rocky few months, with difficulty attracting major funders. According to Forbes, one-third of Ron DeSantis' team was dismissed as part of a 'reset' in the face of falling poll numbers and poorer-than-anticipated fundraising. Although his poll numbers are dismal, DeSantis has downplayed the situation, claiming that the media and his political opponents are responsible for spreading the 'narrative' that his campaign is doomed.
Andrew Romeo, a spokesman for DeSantis' campaign, defended the candidate's track record in an interview with Politico: "Americans are rallying behind Ron DeSantis and his plan to reverse Joe Biden’s failures and restore sanity to our nation, and his momentum will only continue as voters see more of him in person, especially in Iowa." DeSantis has had a year of advocating right-wing policies in Florida, which boosted his popularity there but made him more controversial among funders and sparked extensive criticism on the campaign trail.
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