Despite a relentless online pounding from Team Trump and rabid media opposition, a new poll shows Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is competitive with Donald Trump in two early primary states.
A survey conducted by Public Opinion Strategies provided exclusively to Axios has DeSantis leading Trump by eight points (45% – 37%) in a head-to-head matchup in Iowa and tied with Trump (39% – 39%) in New Hampshire.
Add former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley and Vivek Ramaswamy to the mix and DeSantis was tied with Trump in Iowa and trailed the former president by 12 points in New Hampshire.
The polling, from March 21 to 23, suggests that DeSantis is more competitive with Trump at the state level than he is in national surveys.
It also justifies Trump’s fixation on the Florida governor — critics argued that Trump’s rally over the weekend in Waco, Texas, came across as more of a Ron DeSantis roast given all the time the former president spent talking about his potential opponent.
As it is, DeSantis has yet to declare a White House bid, though he has been teasing that an answer will be forthcoming shortly.
DeSantis easily projects the strongest overall image of all the prospective GOP candidates in both states, according to Axios. As seen below, Trump has a much higher unfavorability rating:
In Iowa, his favorability/unfavorability rating was a sterling 81%-11%. Trump’s was 74%-24%. Haley’s fav/unfav stood at 60%-19%, and former Vice President Mike Pence’s was 59%-35%.
In New Hampshire, DeSantis’ favorability rating was 77%-15%, while Trump’s was 69%-29%. Haley was at 54%-23%, while Pence’s rating was a middling 50%-43%.
As for who is more likely to be successful in taking on President Joe Biden, respondents again chose DeSantis.
In New Hampshire, 48% said the governor is better suited to defeat Biden, while 46% favored Trump. In Iowa, 54% saw DeSantis as the better candidate to take on Biden, with Trump receiving 44% of the responses.
In a timely tweet, Trump campaign adviser Jason Miller shared on Sunday the results of a recent Morning Consult national poll:
You love to see it! 🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/729E9Pt4O3
— Jason Miller (@JasonMillerinDC) March 26, 2023
The consensus on social media seems to be that early polling in a presidential election has little value and polling firms of late have proven to be more about trying to steer opinion than reflect opinion. Still, it’s an impressive showing for Ron DeSantis that suggests he is indeed presidential timber.
Here’s a quick sampling of responses to the story from Twitter:
Those national polls are meaningless- this news about his standing in the first two contests is what counts.
— jaymichael1981 (@jaymichael19811) March 26, 2023
“Poll in one hand…”
You know the rest.
— DT Kieling (@davevehicle) March 26, 2023
There’s like 48 other states, tho.
— Chi chi or not (@Chichiornot2) March 27, 2023
Trump didn’t win either of the two in 2016. But he won the states that mattered
— Linda Jones (@lindajones2928) March 27, 2023
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