Trump holds double digit lead over DeSantis, far ahead of rest of the field, in early 2024 polls


More than four months after launching his third straight White House run, former President Trump remains the front-runner in the race for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, according to the latest national polls.

Trump stands at 44% support among Republicans and GOP-leaning independents questioned in the latest Reuters/Ipsos poll, with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis  clocking in at 30%. Additionally, an average of all the most recent national surveys which included a question on the 2024 GOP nomination battle compiled by Real Clear Politics indicates the former president at 44% and the Florida governor at 29%.

Trump became the first major Republican to declare his 2024 candidacy when he launched his third straight campaign for the White House in mid-November, shortly after the 2022 midterm elections. DeSantis remains on the 2024 sidelines as of now but is widely expected to enter the race. In an interview that ran Thursday on Fox Nation, the Florida governor said “stay tuned” when asked about his political future.


Former Vice President Mike Pence, who is likely to launch a presidential campaign in the coming weeks or months, stands at 5% support in the Reuters/Ipsos survey, which was conducted March 14-20 and released on Saturday. 

In the Real Clear Politics compilation of all the most recent surveys in the emerging 2024 GOP presidential field, Pence stands at 6% support. So does former ambassador to the United Nations and former two-term South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who launched a GOP presidential campaign early last month.

More than two years after leaving the White House following his 2020 election defeat at the hands of President Biden, Trump remains the most popular and influential politician in the Republican Party. Earlier this month, Trump once again overwhelmingly won the straw poll at the Conservative Political Action Conference. The largest annual gathering of conservative leaders and activists has become a Trumpfest since the former president’s 2016 election.


However, Trump has taken plenty of incoming fire over his perceived negative impact on the GOP’s lackluster performance in the midterms, received some unfavorable reviews following his campaign launch at his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, and faced criticism over controversial comments and actions in the past couple of months. Separately, legal scrutiny focusing on Trump is intensifying, and possible indictments in the coming weeks could make him the first former president in American history to face criminal charges.

DeSantis saw his popularity soar among conservatives across the country over the past three years due to his forceful pushback against coronavirus pandemic restrictions and his aggressive actions as a culture warrior going after the media, corporations and teachers’ unions. 

The governor scored an overwhelming 19-point gubernatorial re-election victory in November, and in recent speeches he has pitched policy victories in Florida as a roadmap for the entire nation. He has been traveling across the country, highlighting his “Florida blueprint” and promoting his newly released memoir, “The Courage to Be Free.” 

Sources in DeSantis’ wider orbit have said any presidential campaign launch would come in the late spring or early summer, after the end of the current legislative session. However, the governor’s latest travel itinerary to the early voting states of Iowa and Nevada and a trip next month to New Hampshire are sparking more 2024 speculation.


Trump views DeSantis as his chief rival and has repeatedly and increasingly blasted the Florida governor in recent months. In the past week, he has spotlighted the gains he has made over DeSantis in national polling.

“His Polls have crashed,” Trump said of DeSantis in a statement last week.

Trump kept up the jabs Saturday in Waco, Texas, as he held his first campaign rally of the year.

“Man, he’s dropping like a rock,” Trump said of DeSantis. Using one of his derogatory nicknames for the Florida governor, the former president argued “they keep saying ‘DeSanctus’ could do well with farmers. I don’t think so. Based on polls, he’s not doing well with anything.”

However, with roughly 10 months to go until the start of the first nominating primaries and caucuses, it is still very early in the 2024 cycle, and the field is far from set. The race for the GOP presidential nomination is not a national contest, but rather a battle for delegates up for grabs in the individual states’ nominating contests.

Polls in the early voting states have been all over the map. DeSantis topped Trump by 12 points in a public opinion survey by the University of New Hampshire in late January, in the state that holds the first primary and second overall contest in the GOP nominating calendar. However, Trump held a massive lead over DeSantis in the Granite State according to a more recent survey from Emerson College.

New surveys from a leading Republican polling firm – Public Opinion Strategies – that were conducted the past two weeks suggested Trump up by the lower double digits in a crowded field in New Hampshire and tied with DeSantis in Iowa, the state that kicks off the GOP’s caucus and primary schedule.

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