Polls show GOP voters increasingly shifting toward DeSantis over Trump as 2024 nominee

Though not formally announced yet, it is generally presumed that former President Donald Trump will run for the White House again in 2024, and most polls of Republican primary voters show Trump with a commanding lead over virtually all other potential GOP candidates.

There is one potential candidate, though, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), who has increasingly gained ground on Trump in several recent polls and stands poised to possibly win over more independent-leaning voters who only softly support the former president, according to a New York Post op-ed by author Adam B. Coleman.

Coleman argued that DeSantis could more effectively carry the America First banner and lead the nation better in a “Trump-esque” fashion than Trump himself could because he is not saddled with all of the extra “baggage” that has weighed down the former president.

DeSantis over Trump?

The author noted that Trump was still the nominal leader of the America First movement but surmised that the movement could benefit from a less polarizing leader and pointed to a recent straw poll of Western Conservative Summit attendees that favored DeSantis over Trump by a margin of 74-71 percent support to be the GOP nominee.

Coleman suggested that “DeSantis is also winning over independents like myself who see him as a more uniting force for our country than Trump,” and noted that even staunch Trump supporters have to admit that Trump has a set of “polarizing negative traits” that can work against him as an obstacle to success.

He further critiqued the former president for his tendencies to seek out conflict with the biased media, make questionable hiring and endorsement decisions, and insist that he be the center of attention — all of which detract from his popular policy positions and successes.

“Savvy” DeSantis more stable than “wrecking ball” Trump

“Ron DeSantis, however, is Trump-esque without the Trump baggage,” Coleman wrote in direct reference to Trump’s “multiple impeachments” and the controversy over the Jan. 6 Capitol riot of 2021.

He went on to suggest that DeSantis could more effectively wage the ongoing “culture war” with more than just rhetoric, that he had proven himself to be a better crisis leader during the pandemic, that he could efficiently spar with the media without seeking out a fight, and that his “governing style and military experience” would make him a more stable standard-bearer for the America First ideals.

“From where I stand, DeSantis is mostly measured, seemingly authentic and savvy enough to stay on message while picking his battles wisely,” Coleman concluded. “Trump, on the other hand, is a political wrecking ball that was designed to wreck his opponents’ structure but occasionally wildly knocks down his own as well.”

Other polls tell a similar tale

While Coleman’s view may not necessarily be a GOP majority view — at least, not yet — it isn’t quite an outlier to be summarily dismissed either.

An MSNBC op-ed reported in June on a poll of New Hampshire GOP primary voters that showed DeSantis with an edge over Trump, 39-37 percent, and, similar to Coleman, observed that “DeSantis embodies Trumpism in a more stable, disciplined form, and he is Trump’s only serious competitor at the moment.”

More recently, Axios reported on a mid-July poll of Michigan GOP primary voters that found DeSantis and Trump in a statistical tie, which suggests — again, similar to Coleman — that while most GOP voters still generally view Trump favorably, they are open to the idea of a “conservative alternative” who would pursue similar policies without all of the extra baggage that comes along with the former president.

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