Trump has double-digit lead in California just before DeSantis launch

 May 30, 2023

Former President Donald Trump took a double-digit lead over Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) in the latest California GOP primary poll, taken just before DeSantis launched his candidacy on Twitter on May 24.

Trump had 44% support over DeSantis, who had 26% in the UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies survey taken days before the launch.

Although we won't know if DeSantis's launch has moved any voters in his direction until the next round of polling comes out, Trump did gain 15 points in the poll since February, while DeSantis lost 11 points.

In February, DeSantis led Trump 37% to 29%, so the 26-point swing in Trump's direction is significant.

Bad news has been good for Trump

In a unique phenomenon, Trump has gained support with Republicans during some of the worst news cycles about him--including the defamation suit by E. Jean Caroll.

Some of the movement may be justified, as Trump was the only serious contender in the race until DeSantis jumped in.

Many Republicans felt he was being railroaded in the Carroll lawsuit as well as other investigations and possible legal actions against him, and part of how they jumped to his defense was to tell pollsters they wanted to vote for him.

Some of this support may be temporary, particularly with DeSantis, a solid conservative without the kind of baggage Trump has, making a serious run at the top job.

Hate transferring to DeSantis

Some of the media and left-wing hate that has been focused on Trump since 2015 is now transferring to DeSantis, but that could serve to bolster DeSantis's standing in the GOP just like it did Trump.

People may start to wonder why they need to put up with mean tweets and senseless attacks on some Republicans as well as constant reiteration that Trump actually won the 2020 election when they could hop on with DeSantis and avoid all of this nonsense.

In a converse and totally unexpected way, DeSantis may need to get more hated by the left if he has a chance of beating Trump.

He's working on it with the so-called don't say gay bill" and attacks on Disney's tax-free status as a result of their targeting youth with LGBT messages.

Taking a chance

In a surprising move, some of Trump's attempts to target DeSantis have involved his moving to the left of him, which could also anger his base and send them running to DeSantis.

Once DeSantis kicks off his first campaign tour in Iowa and a few other venues in South Carolina and New Hampshire, it will become clear whether he will get a bounce or whether people really want to take a chance on Trump after all.

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