New poll shows Trump gaining momentum while support for DeSantis declines

March 22, 2023

A new 2024 GOP primary poll appears to indicate that former President Donald Trump has gained momentum and surged to a lead over his likely chief competitor for the party's nomination, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Breitbart reported.

That poll, which currently shows Trump with a 14-point lead over DeSantis, had them both tied with each other last month and prior to that had the Florida governor in the lead over the former president.

Trump gains ground while DeSantis slides backward

The pollsters at Monmouth University surveyed 521 registered voters who are Republican or Republican-leaning between March 16-20, with a margin of error of 6.6 percent.

That time frame includes the breaking news last week of possibly imminent criminal indictments against former President Trump, but it was specifically noted by the polling institute that most of the survey was conducted before the emergence of those reports.

Currently, Trump leads the field of declared and prospective GOP candidates with 41 percent support, while Gov. DeSantis drew 27 percent in second place and former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley was a distant third with just 3 percent support.

In Monmouth's February poll, however, the two undisputed frontrunners were tied at 33 percent each, while the institute's December poll had DeSantis leading Trump by a margin of 39-26 percent.

Anti-Trump vote split by crowded field

The results show a 15-point gain in support for Trump from December to March concurrent with a 12-point decline for DeSantis over the same time frame.

"The movement Trump created is sticking by their standard-bearer. That’s enough for Trump to overcome weaker support among the less MAGA portion of the Republican electorate, at least for now," Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, said of the current poll's results.

"Trump’s support seems to be pretty stable right now," he added. "The more candidates who get involved in the race the more it seems to spread out the anti-Trump vote. However, that only seems to have an impact on DeSantis, as no other potential candidate registers significant strength at this time."

That said, in a cleared field with just Trump and DeSantis in a hypothetical head-to-head matchup for the nomination, support for the two is virtually tied at 47-46 percent in favor of Trump.

Even there, though, the momentum for Trump is evident, as the February survey had DeSantis winning that same one-on-one matchup by a margin of 53-40 percent.

Respective surge and slump for Trump and DeSantis evident in tracking poll

The gain in momentum for former President Trump and decline for Gov. DeSantis also appears to be evident in Morning Consult's weekly tracker survey of the likely 2024 GOP primary field of contenders, which currently shows Trump with 54 percent support compared to 26 percent for DeSantis.

According to that poll, DeSantis topped out at 33 percent in early February and has been in steady decline ever since, with a particularly noticeable drop from 29 percent to 26 percent over the past week.

Meanwhile, Trump's lowest point in that poll was 45 percent in early January, and it has trended higher ever since, especially since late February, and peaked at 56 percent support in early March before settling in the low- to mid-50s over the past week or so.

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