More Voters Prefer DeSantis to Trump in 2024 Election, But Twice as Many Prefer Neither
© AP Photo / Evan VucciPresident Donald Trump speaks with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis as he arrives at Southwest Florida International Airport, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020, in Fort Myers, Fla.
© AP Photo / Evan Vucci
After a “red wave” of Republican victories failed to materialize in the 2022 US midterm elections last week, conservatives began looking for someone to blame, and former US President Donald Trump emerged as a major target. Many pointed to his “kingmaker” role in selecting the GOP candidates who were defeated by Democrats.
A new poll carried out by YouGov in the days following the elections last week, revealed that more American voters prefer Trump’s presumed rival, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, to the ex-POTUS in an imagined contest for the 2024 Republican presidential nominee.
According to the survey, which collected a wide variety of data about voter behaviors and preferences, 23% of respondents said they would prefer to see DeSantis as the Republican nominee for president in the 2024 elections, and 20% said they would prefer Trump.
However, a stunning 41% said they preferred neither candidate, and another 16% said they weren’t sure. The question was not restricted to Republican voters, and three out of four of those who said “neither” also said they voted for Joe Biden in 2020 instead of Trump.
Those numbers are precipitously lower than a year ago: an October 2021 poll found that while 58% of Americans said they didn’t want to see Trump run again in 2024, 70% of Republicans did. Trump was president from 2017 until 2021, when he lost his reelection bid to Democratic rival Biden.
In the week since the midterm elections, which were widely predicted in US media to be a “red wave” of Republican victories that would flip one or both houses of Congress to GOP control, Trump’s reputation has suffered among conservatives. Trump nominated his own candidates in numerous races, often conflicting with other GOP leaders, and many of the Trump-backed candidates triumphed in the primary elections and went on to represent their party against the Democrats’ nominees
That “red wave” failed to materialize, many of those GOP candidates lost, and the Democrats have retained control over the US Senate. Several House of Representatives races are not yet decided as absentee ballots continue to be counted, but the size of the two parties in the House will be so close that any majority will be an extremely narrow and precarious one.
On Thursday, Republicans began to turn on Trump in a major way. Former House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) denounced him as “kind of a drag on our ticket” and saying that "the evidence is pretty stark that if we have a nominee not named Trump, we're so much more likely to win the White House than if our candidate's named Trump.” Conservative outlets like the New York Post and Fox News also published new attacks on Trump with a similar characterization, and experts who spoke with Sputnik reiterated those points.
"Trump frightens many voters - especially women of all stripes and various minorities - and has become a liability for the GOP," Gerald Horne, professor of African American History at University of Houston, told Sputnik.
Constitutional historian and political commentator Dan Lazare said that 2022 could be “a tipping point in which the self-limiting nature of the Republican strategy is finally making itself felt. Bear in mind that the Democrats, having won the popular vote in seven out of the last eight presidential elections, are by now the majority party."
Neither DeSantis or Trump has announced their candidacy for the 2024 presidential election. However, that hasn’t stopped the NY Post from hailing him as “DeFuture” - nor has it stopped Trump from taking a few swings at the Florida governor. Last week, he derided DeSantis as “an average Republican Governor with great Public Relations” and attempted to coin a new nickname for him: “Ron DeSanctimonious.”