Republican voters convinced that Donald Trump can't win in 2024 have flocked to Florida governor Ron DeSantis (Fl.) as an alternative, but a sobering reality may be setting in: no matter who Republicans pick, defeating Joe Biden won't be easy.
A new survey conducted by Newsweek found that voters believe Joe Biden would defeat Trump or DeSantis, with voters slightly more confident in Trump's chances.
The poll comes as perceived missteps from DeSantis have led Republican donors to reassess the Florida governor, who months ago won re-election in a landslide.
The governor raised eyebrows when he joked about building a prison next to Disney World, and his six week-abortion ban and sharp pivot on the war in Ukraine are also said to have given donors heartburn.
While visiting Japan this week, DeSantis drew attention with his unusually animated reaction to a question about his polling slump. The governor's expressions seemed to belie his usually calm, cool demeanor.
And while DeSantis' war with Disney is popular with Republicans, it could be a turn-off to independents. A new Reuters poll found that 64 percent of all voters, and 67 percent of independents, see DeSantis' actions against Disney as an attack on free speech.
According to a poll from Redfield & Wilton Strategies survey for Newsweek, just 38 percent of voters think DeSantis would defeat Biden, while 50 percent think Biden would prevail.
Meanwhile, just 40 percent of voters think Trump would defeat Biden, compared to 46 percent who believe Biden would win.
Obviously, Trump does not come without liabilities. Voters believe criminal probes of Trump are "primarily the result of politically motivated attacks by his opponents," but over half of voters think he should be disqualified if he is convicted in one of these sham probes, Newsweek reported.
The former president was criminally charged in New York this month, and more indictments down the line could further turn public opinion against him.
In any event, Biden seems to think he'll be facing off with Trump. The president's re-election campaign kickoff framed the 2024 election as another referendum on "democracy" and an opportunity to rebuke "MAGA extremism," which Biden tied to January 6th.
Suffice to say that no matter how senile Biden may seem, Republicans can take nothing for granted. But Democrats are also anxious about 2024 as they weigh whether Trump or DeSantis is the bigger threat, Business Insider reported.
"There's a near-50 percent chance that whoever they nominate will win, and both of these guys pose a clear and present danger to American democracy," Matt Lehrich, a former Obama spokesperson, said.