Trump’s Lead Over GOP Rivals Widens as Republicans Are Caught in Electability Conundrum: Poll
‘Trump’s voters would crawl over broken glass for him and I don’t think any of the other Republican candidates could do that,’ one analyst tells the Sun.
President Trump’s lead in the 2024 Republican presidential primary is widening, according to a new survey from Fox News in which nearly half of respondents say they’re looking forward to a rematch between President Biden and Mr. Trump.
While Mr. Trump has been the clear leader since the onset of the primary race, his lead has never been bigger, according to the national survey of likely Republican primary voters from Fox News, Beacon Research, and Shaw and Company Research.
The survey found that in the Republican primary, Mr. Trump enjoys a 47-point lead over the second-place candidate, Governor DeSantis. In terms of support, Mr. Trump is at 60 percent, Mr. DeSantis is at 13 percent, and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy is at 11 percent.
Compared to the August survey by the same pollsters, Mr. Trump’s support has increased by 7 points while Mr. DeSantis’s has decreased by 3. Mr. Ramswamy’s support remained the same and no other candidate garnered more than 5 percent support.
“Unless something changes, this is Trump’s race to lose,” pollster Daron Shaw told Fox News. “The question is, how likely is it that something changes enough to shake Trump’s Republican supporters loose and get them to look at someone else?”
This makes Mr. Trump’s lead comparable to Mr. Biden’s in the Democratic polls, with the president ahead of anti-vaxxer Robert Kennedy Jr. by 54 points, 71 percent to 17 percent. Motivational speaker Marianne Williamson, the only other candidate, is at 6 percent.
An associate editor at Sabato’s Crystal Ball, Miles Coleman, tells the Sun that he would “love to see it” if there’s a path to someone beside Mr. Trump being the nominee.
“DeSantis has been campaigning for almost four months at this point and it’s almost like the more voters see him the less they like him,” Mr. Coleman says.
While a rematch between Messrs. Biden and Trump has been framed as a matchup between two of the most unpopular modern presidents, nearly half of respondents say they “look forward” to it.
With the survey found that 47 percent claim to be looking forward to the election, 50 percent say they are dreading it. For reference, ahead of the 2016 election, 44 percent said they were looking forward to it while 47 percent said they were dreading it.
Voters did, though, say they would prefer other candidates, with 63 percent saying they would look forward to it if Messrs. Trump and Biden were not the expected candidates in the general election.
As it looks increasingly certain that barring some unforeseen event, Mr. Trump will become the 2024 nominee for the Republican Party, concerns around the former president’s electability are becoming more prevalent.
For Republicans, nominating Mr. Trump looks like a Catch-22. That’s because nominating Mr. Trump will likely turn out the GOP base in spades, but it will also likely come at the cost of some persuadable voters.
“Trump’s voters would crawl over broken glass for him and I don’t think any of the other Republican candidates could do that,” Mr. Coleman says.
While other candidates, such as Senator Scott and Governor Burgum, have appeared on the same ballot as Mr. Trump and received more votes than him in their individual races, it’s not clear that that would translate to a national election.
Another piece of evidence that Republicans may suffer without Mr. Trump on the ballot is their poor performance in 2018 and 2022, by-elections that were dominated by Trump’s megaphone. At the same time, if the GOP refuses to move on from Mr. Trump, it could cost votes among independents, a historically GOP-friendly group of voters.
“What really caught my attention in 2022 was that the Democrats won the national independent vote. The fact that Democrats won the independent vote really says something about how unpopular Trumpism is to the independent vote,” Mr. Coleman says.
The poll of 1,012 registered voters was conducted between September 9 and 12 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 points.