October 1, 2022


  • Florida Republicans would prefer DeSantis to Trump for 2024 White House ticket.
  • That’s a reversal from a similar survey in January.
  • The findings are part of a USA Today/Suffolk University survey.

Florida Republicans have a new Florida favorite they want at the top of the next White House ticket.

According to a USA Today/Suffolk University poll published Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis leads former President Donald Trump 48% to 40% in the hypothetical 2024 presidential election on Wednesday.

That’s a reversal from a similar poll in January, in which Trump topped DeSantis 47% to 40%.

“Donald Trump falling behind in the race against another Republican is a big change,” David Paleologos, director of Suffolk University’s Center for Policy Research, said in a statement.

Wednesday’s findings are significant given that during the 2016 primaries, Trump easily defeated Sen. Marco Rubio on his home turf, coming down to 46% to 27%, Paleologos said.

The results are for just one state, but they add extra heat to one of the most talked-about topics in American politics: whether DeSantis would enter the presidential race against Trump, the man who carried him to the top of Florida’s 2018 gubernatorial primary.

DeSantis did not say whether he has his sights set on the White House and whether he is up for re-election in Florida on November 8. He will face Democrat Charlie Crist, who recently resigned from Congress and served as Florida’s governor from 2007 to 2011, when he was a Republican.

That race appears promising for DeSantis. The USA Today/Suffolk University research DeSantis is projected to win the election by 7 points 48% to 41%.

The poll showed a strong lead for DeSantis despite respondents saying they felt economic conditions in Florida had worsened — only 37% of voters said Florida’s economy was “excellent” or “good,” down 10 points from January.

Half of voters said they were “worse off” than they were four years ago, though the poll did not gauge whether voters blame the DeSantis or Biden administrations for their economic struggles. DeSantis was found to have a higher approval rating than Biden in Florida, 53% to 42%.

If DeSantis has a big lead against Crist, it would be a major upset for the GOP governor. Just four years ago, he entered the governor’s mansion by just half a percent against Democratic challenger Andrew Gillum, the former mayor of Tallahassee.

Donald Trump

Former President Donald Trump.

AP Photo/Joe Maiorana, File


Trump’s support is falling in his new home state

The poll shows Trump’s support may be waning, at least in the Sunshine State. Researchers conducted the survey by telephone from September 15 to 18, surveying 500 voters.

Trump calls Florida his permanent home, although — as is his custom — he spent the summer at his Bedminster, New Jersey home, on the golf course and at Trump Tower in New York.

The FBI raided Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, in August and uncovered classified documents that Justice Department officials said Trump was not allowed to have. On Sunday night, Trump wrote on his social media platform, Truth Social, that he had arrived at Mar-a-Lago to “check out the scene.”

While Trump’s legal woes have kept him in the news, DeSantis has also frequently made national headlines. The latest was last week when he directed state resources to transport migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts.

The move appears to have caught the attention of Trump, who has made immigration restrictions one of his top issues as president. On Saturday, Trump shared an insider interview on Truth Social with GOP operative John Thomas, who said DeSantis would ruin his political career if he ran against Trump.

DeSantis’ frequent national headlines, massive fundraising and regular run-ins with the Biden administration have many political operatives speculating that he will run for the White House. Still, the conventional wisdom is that Trump would become a contender if he launched another campaign for the White House, something he’s been teasing for more than a year.

Trump had an advantage among certain voters in Florida, the poll showed. He led DeSantis 53% to 36% among voters making less than $50,000 a year, and 57% to 27% among voters who did not attend college.

It’s not clear that Trump could beat President Joe Biden nationally, though the poll showed Floridians still prefer him over the incumbent.

The USA Today/Suffolk University research found that Trump would beat Biden in Florida 47% to 44% in a hypothetical matchup. The margins were even larger if DeSantis faced Biden, 52% to 44%.



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