Fox News released a poll on Wednesday indicating that former President Donald Trump has widened his lead over Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. The poll, which gauged voter preference in a hypothetical GOP primary, showed Trump was the number one choice for 54 percent of respondents. DeSantis placed second – a distant second, with just 24 percent of the vote. The results demonstrate that Trump has increased his lead over DeSantis in the month since Fox last polled voters, when Trump earned 43 percent to DeSantis’s 28 percent.
Also tested in the poll were former Vice President Mike Pence, former Wyoming Representative Liz Cheney, and former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley – with six percent, three percent, and three percent of the vote respectively. Meaning Trump and DeSantis are polling significantly ahead of anyone else, with Trump gaining ground steadily over DeSantis.
“The month-to-month gain for Trump comes at a time when some Republicans fear support for Trump’s expected leading challenger is faltering,” POLITICO reported. Relatedly, “Trump has been ramping up attacks on the likely 2024 contender,” including “three new videos on Truth Social…criticizing the governor for both his past policy decisions and his falling poll numbers.”
Results consistent across different polls
The Fox News isn’t the only poll showing Trump with a widening lead over DeSantis. A Quinnipiac poll, also released Wednesday, found that Trump had 47 percent of Republican and Republican-leaning voters. Meanwhile, DeSantis had only 33 percent. A Morning Consult poll found an even wider gulf between the two candidates with Trump ahead, 54-to-26 percent.
“Trump’s growing lead in the polls comes amid a flurry of news over a potential indictment of the former president in a case related to a $130,000 hush money payment made to porn actress Stormy Daniels in 2016. Though an indictment appeared imminent earlier this month, it was reported Wednesday that the Manhattan grand jury investigating the allegations isn’t expected to hear additional evidence in the case for the next month,” POLITICO reported.
Somewhat counterintuitively, the various criminal investigations into Donald Trump do not seem to be hurting the former president in the polls. Quite the opposite, as Trump’s stock is clearly rising.
Trump hasn’t been shying away from the fact that he is being criminally investigated – a tact that appears to be working. And it does make sense; Trump has been claiming victimhood for years, consistently describing himself as the subject in a massive government-led witch-hunt. The narrative is central to Trump’s appeal amongst the MAGA crowd, who harbor fears that the “deep state” has selected Trump for removal. So, Trump has taken the ongoing investigations – one into his January 6th involvement, a second into the handling of classified documents, a third into a hush money payment, a fourth into Georgia’s election – and used them as ammunition in his perpetual argument that he is being wrongly persecuted.
Are the investigations, and Trump’s bolstered claims of persecution, helping to boost Trump’s poll numbers? That’s not clear. The investigations are in crescendo; Trump’s poll numbers are improving. I can’t say if those two trends are correlated but they are happening simultaneously.
Whatever the reasoning, expect Trump to stay relevant to the 2024 presidential election. The guy is a cockroach and I have a feeling he’s sticking around for a while.
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Harrison Kass is the Senior Editor at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, Harrison joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison holds a BA from Lake Forest College, a JD from the University of Oregon, and an MA from New York University. Harrison listens to Dokken.