JULY 12, 2022
Nearly half of Republican voters say they would cast a ballot for someone other than former President Donald Trump in the 2024 election, a sign of a tough GOP primary contest should he decide to run for his old job following his extraordinary attempt to overturn his loss in 2020.
Trump remains the leading candidate in a hypothetical race against five other possible GOP opponents in a New York Times/Siena College poll, with 49% of primary voters saying they would support him. But 46% say they would vote for one of the others. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis emerged as the top rival, with 25% support, the only other one to reach double digits.
As Trump considers whether to launch an early bid for the White House, the survey indicates that his efforts to maintain an iron grip on the Republican Party have instead exposed divisions.
Majorities of young voters as well as those with college degrees said they would vote against Trump in a presidential primary. DeSantis was the top choice of those groups.
Just hours after the poll was published Trump released a statement slamming the New York Times as “Fake News.”
“Fake polls, phony stories, and made up quotes — they are a disgrace to journalism and have set it back many many years. THE NEW YORK TIMES IS TRULY THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!,” he wrote.
Trump has spent much of the past 18 months focused on political retribution against those in his own party who did not back his attempts to undermine the 2020 election, which culminated in the Jan. 6 insurrection at the US Capitol. Three quarters of GOP voters said Trump was “just exercising his right to contest the election,” but a sizable 1 in 5 minority said that he “went so far that he threatened America democracy.”
Some of the former president’s own supporters have explored other candidates. Among those who voted for Trump in 2020, 44% said they had a favorable view of DeSantis — a statistical tie with the 46% who said the same for Trump.
The dynamic is a marked contrast from his presidency, when Trump enjoyed nearly universal support among Republican voters. The problems within his own party have left Trump in position to suffer a second consecutive loss against President Joe Biden, whose political standing has taken a beating, the poll suggested.
Biden led Trump 44-41% in a hypothetical 2024 rematch, even though the president’s approval rating sits at only 33% among voters nationally.
GOP defectors contributed to Trump’s disadvantage, with 16% of Republicans saying they would vote for Biden or a third-party candidate if Trump won their party’s nomination.
Despite those vulnerabilities, Trump retains advantages against his possible rivals. No Republican 2024 hopeful other than DeSantis has significant support among GOP voters, with Texas Senator Ted Cruz garnering 7%, former Vice President Mike Pence and former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley receiving 6% each and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo getting 2%.
Fox News viewers — a key segment of the GOP base — have also remained loyal to Trump. The former president held a 62%-26% advantage over DeSantis among those viewers.