DeSantis tops poll of Trump VP candidates

 February 20, 2024

Despite his public feud with Donald Trump, Florida governor Ron DeSantis (R) tops the list of VP candidates in a new survey of Republican voters.  

The results may surprise many in the media who spent the past year covering the breakdown of Trump's relationship with DeSantis, who endorsed Trump after his own presidential ambitions fizzled out.

The I&I/TIPP poll found that 34% of GOP voters preferred DeSantis for VP, with Nikki Haley coming in second at 24%.

Vivek Ramaswamy, a vocal Trump defender and one of the final four primary candidates, came in at third with 21%.

DeSantis tops VP poll

The poll suggests that DeSantis remains popular with the Republican base despite his ill-fated presidential campaign, which brought him and Trump to blows.

After months of bitter back-and-forth, DeSantis conceded defeat and endorsed Trump over Haley, who became Trump's last primary challenger.

Trump appeared to extend an olive branch to DeSantis, saying he was "honored" to be endorsed by his ally-turned-rival.

When Republican voters were asked for their top VP choice, DeSantis narrowly led the pack with 16%, followed by Ramaswamy at 14% and Haley at 11%.

Voters were also asked for their second choices, and the results were combined.

In that scenario, DeSantis leads Haley at 34%, a margin of 10 points.

In addition to Haley (24%) and Ramaswamy (21%), other candidates to score in the double digits are Senator Tim Scott (19%), Former HUD secretary Ben Carson (17%), conservative journalist Tucker Carlson (12%) and South Dakota governor Kristi Noem (10%).

VP speculation builds

With Trump poised to win the primary, public interest has already turned to speculation over his running mate.

Trump has kept the nation guessing, floating names like Tim Scott and Kristi Noem.

During the campaign, DeSantis said he had no interest in being Trump's running mate. It's unclear if he might change his mind once passions have cooled, or if Trump would extend such an offer.

Trump is known to be big on visuals, and DeSantis' introverted personality and awkward body language were cited as factors that doomed his campaign.

Ramaswamy, a smooth communicator who has stuck close to Trump, has become a favorite with the former president's supporters despite being criticized by some as glib.

Some have looked to former Fox News host Tucker Carlson, another conservative favorite, given his charisma and his powerful communication skills.

Many Trump loyalists have cautioned against Trump choosing Haley, citing her ties to the Republican establishment.

Haley has escalated her attacks on Trump recently, comparing him unflatteringly to President Biden.

Haley's last chance to win the primary will come this weekend in South Carolina, her home state. Trump is expected to easily win the race, with polls showing him double digits ahead.

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