Trump surges to 30 point lead in primary horserace

 March 29, 2023

Donald Trump's lead in the 2024 Republican race is expanding to a comfortable margin, with the former president trouncing top rival Ron DeSantis by 30 points in a new Fox News poll.

The survey found that Trump's lead has doubled since February, with 54 percent of Republican voters favoring Trump and 24 percent going for DeSantis.

No other candidates came within double-digits, in keeping with polling trends that show DeSantis as the only significant threat to Trump. But Trump appears to be pulling ahead of the Florida governor, expanding on a 15-point lead in February.

Trump dominates

Trump appears to be enjoying a rallying effect from the rumors of his indictment in New York, the pollster noted. The poll was taken from March 24 to March 27.

"The rumor that Trump is going to be indicted by the district attorney in Manhattan has helped him quite a bit among Republican primary voters," Republican pollster Daron Shaw, who conducts Fox News surveys with Democrat Chris Anderson, said.

"They view the case as politically motivated and it reanimates feelings that Trump is still fighting forces they see as corrupt and out of control."

While GOP enthusiasm for Trump is running high, a sizeable 25 percent of Trump's 2020 voters would prefer DeSantis, while 60 percent are sticking with Trump and five percent are flocking to Mike Pence.

Trump's margins grew with all key demographic groups except for white men with college degrees, where DeSantis grew by 12 points.

Donors skepticism

The poll comes amid rumors of growing skepticism toward DeSantis among donors backing him.

Some donors were reportedly unnerved by his handling of the Trump indictment rumors and some of his recent comments on war in Ukraine. The governor called the conflict a "territorial dispute" before changing tone and calling Vladimir Putin a "war criminal."

Donors have expressed interest in a "back-up" Trump challenger such as Georgia governor Brian Kemp, Virginia governor Glenn Youngkin, or Republican senator Tim Scott (R), the Washington Post reported.

There are also indications that former Trump ally turned critic Chris Christie could enter the race. The former New Jersey governor appears to be auditioning for the role of a smashmouth anti-Trump candidate.

Christie was reportedly the center of attention at a donor retreat on Monday where he compared Trump to a vampire that needs to be taken out with a firm blow to the heart.

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