Governor DeSantis Edges Out Donald Trump as GOP Nominee
Just a month after rumors surfaced of a rift between former president Donald Trump and Florida's Governor, Ron DeSantis, a poll was reported on February 24, showing DeSantis as the preferred nominee in 2024.
In the poll, carried out by the University of North Florida Public Opinion Research Lab, DeSantis was the preferred nominee of 44% of survey respondents compared to just 41% who favored Trump. The study considered the opinion of 259 Republican voters and showed a reasonably slim, but statistically relevant majority for Florida's Governor, who was once hailed as 'Trump 2.0'. Notably, DeSantis was the preferred candidate for 51% of men, but only 37% of women in the survey.
This isn't the first time DeSantis has recorded a lead over Trump. A straw poll carried out at the 2021 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), DeSantis came out on top as the preferred candidate of those who expressed an opinion.
The race continues
DeSantis has been quiet about his presidential ambitions in recent months, refusing to be drawn by Trump's repeated attempts seemingly intended to provoke a reaction from him. The governor has refused to declare himself as in the running for the 2024 presidential election, but crucially, and to Trump's annoyance he's also refused to rule himself out.
The governor has repeatedly said that his priority is to secure re-election in the 2022 gubernatorial election and there's no reason why he wouldn't focus on that. Trump loyalist Roger Stone threatened late last year that he would run against DeSantis for governor if he didn't declare himself out of the running for president but that too appears to have been an empty and toothless threat.
A 'love-hate' relationship between the two
The ongoing saga between Trump and DeSantis goes way back.
- Trump was a big advocate for DeSantis as governor for Florida going back many years.
- In recent months, Trump has been dismissive of DeSantis at times, and hinted at him as a potential running-mate for the 2024 election at others.
- More recently, DeSantis has been a vocal critic of Trump's handling of the pandemic during his presidency, and for implementing lockdowns that he feels did harm to the nation, and has stated regrets for not having "been much louder" in resisting these measures.
Meanwhile, separate polls amongst the GOP faithful have put each of them ahead of the other at various times.
Whether there's a backlash or a response from the Trump camp remains to be seen - but based on past performance, it seems likely!
Who would you rather have as a presidential candidate - Trump, DeSantis or neither? Let me know in the comments section below.