Ron DeSantis needs to make up for some lost time.
The Florida governor launched his 2024 presidential campaign last week, with surveys showing him behind former President Donald Trump in the GOP primary by 30 points on average. At the end of last year, DeSantis had been down by more than 10 points. The gap has widened, and Trump is lightyears ahead.
DeSantis' issues are partially related to the former president but not solely. Republicans struggle with DeSantis' "lovability."
Republicans losing interest in DeSantis could be the cause of his demise. They might not view him as someone they would be ready to fight for, but this could signal that DeSantis is no less despised than before.
This is consistent across surveys on voter satisfaction with a particular nominee. Although it is a broader indicator, it captures the degree to which voters would be satisfied with the primary winner.
Because of this, DeSantis' campaign strategy has been relatively intriguing. He is pursuing Trump with more vigor than ever before. Given the former president's polling numbers, it makes sense since DeSantis believes he must undermine Trump to secure Republican primaries.
Trump is entrenched with core Republican voters, so it's doubtful a new player criticizing their candidate will cause them to change their votes. It might make Trump supporters think less favorably of him making the attack.
Many Republicans believe DeSantis is cannibalizing Trump's support and hindering Trump's chances of winning the presidency in 2024.
DeSantis might use the electability defense to claim he would be a more effective general election contender than Trump. According to polling, Republicans' attitudes are still unsure, but it's not as clear-cut as we might expect that DeSantis would fare better than Trump in the general election in 2024.
What do you think about DeSantis's "lovability" factor?
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