Donald Trump has overtaken rival Joe Biden by five points in a new poll, defying widespread declarations of the former president's political demise as he faces potential criminal charges and rising pushback from the right.
If the 2024 presidential election were held today, Trump would beat Biden 45 to 40, the Harvard/Harris poll found.
Trump's lead expanded compared to November, when he led Biden by only two points. If the election were held today, Florida governor Ron DeSantis (R) beats Biden by four points.
Trump, Elon Musk, and DeSantis were the top three most favorable public figures in the poll. All three men, notably, are enemies of Biden and are reviled by the left. Trump had a net approval rating of -1, and the highest approval rating at 46 percent. Biden had a net approval rating of -10.
Still, 59 percent of voters don't want Trump to run in 2024, which is less than the 66 percent who don't want Biden to run. 63 percent of voters said Biden is too old to be president. Biden's approval ratings on the issues are underwater across the board with the exception of COVID: 52 percent approve.
The poll was taken from December 14 to 16 with a sample of 1,851 registered voters.
Trump also beats DeSantis in a crowded primary by 23 points, but he loses by four in an open, one-on-one primary.
Although DeSantis hasn't declared he is running for president, he has been declared the future of the Republican party by a broad range of left- and right-wing media outlets, pundits, and political figures who have interpreted the GOP's stumbles in the midterms as a repudiation of Trump.
A widely publicized USA Today poll that showed Trump lagging behind Biden and DeSantis has been cited as proof that Trump's clout is waning.
Still, election observers caution that it's early in the 2024 horse race and that DeSantis may struggle in a crowded field.
As for Trump, he may need more than a polling bump to overcome his current legal predicament.
The partisan January 6th committee made a criminal referral on Monday for Biden's Justice Department to charge Trump, Biden's past and possibly future electoral rival, over the "insurrection."
Trump predicted the move would strengthen his position among Republican voters, writing, "What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger."
"The people understand that the Democratic Bureau of Investigation, the DBI, are out to keep me from running for president because they know I’ll win and that this whole business of prosecuting me is just like impeachment was — a partisan attempt to sideline me and the Republican Party,” he wrote.