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DeSantis tied with Trump, everyone else far behind in fresh 2024 GOP presidential primary poll

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former President Donald Trump are deadlocked, with the rest of the potential field of Republican presidential contenders far behind in the low single digits, in a new national poll looking at the burgeoning but still hypothetical 2024 GOP nomination field. The survey, released on Thursday by Monmouth University, suggests DeSantis would top Trump 53%-40% a head-to-head match up for the nomination. DeSantis and Trump are tied at 33% support among Republican and Republican leaning voters in the poll, which was conducted Jan. 26-Feb 2. Just two percent said they’d like to see former Vice President Mike Pence as the 2024 GOP standard-bearer, with former South Carolina governor and former ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley at 1%. Also at 1% are Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Rand Paul of Kentucky, who both ran for the GOP nomination in 2016, and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. “Trump and DeSantis are grabbing most of the media attention, so it is not surprising that most Republican voters do not come up with any names other than these two,” Monmouth University Polling Institute director Patrick Murray highlighted. “If DeSantis chooses to run against Trump it will be very difficult for any other candidate to get Republican voters to take a close look at them” TRUMP TAKES AIM AT POTENTIAL 2024 GOP RIVALS, SAYING HE DOESN’T HAVE MUCH ‘COMPETITION’ DeSantis held a 13-point lead over Trump — with everyone else in the low single digits — in the previous Monmouth University poll of the 2024 GOP presidential nomination race, which was conducted in December. In the hypothetical head-to-head matchup between DeSantis and Trump, the Florida governor is preferred over the former president among nearly every major voting bloc in the Republican Party, according to the poll, with the notable exceptions of those earning less than $50,000 per year and those age 65 and older. 2024 WATCH: TRUMP’S IN — HERE’S WHO ELSE MAY JOIN THE GOP PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY FIELD “Both Trump and DeSantis are well-liked by the party’s rank and file, but it’s likely that voter opinion of Trump is more firmly set than it is for DeSantis right now. The unknown factor is whether DeSantis can maintain this early edge if and when he gets on the campaign trail,” said Murray. Three months after November’s midterm elections, which marked the unofficial start of the 2024 cycle, it remains a field of one in the race for the Republican presidential nomination, with Trump as the only announced candidate. But the field will grow next week, as Haley is expected to declare her candidacy at an event in Charleston, South Carolina on Wednesday. While Trump remains the most popular and influential politician in the GOP and arguably the party’s top fundraiser when it comes to energizing the grassroots, the first nearly three months of his latest White House bid have been anything but spectacular. DESANTIS TOPS TRUMP IN CRUCIAL PRIMARY STATE POLL Political pundits from both the left and the right torched his campaign launch, and he’s been criticized by Democrats and some Republicans for controversial actions and comments he’s made during the past couple of months. In the wake of a lackluster performance by the GOP in the midterm elections — when the party underperformed in what many expected to be a red wave election — Trump has also been blamed for elevating polarizing Republican nominees who ended up losing in November. While the former president was once the overall front-runner in the early 2024 GOP nomination polls, DeSantis has eclipsed him in some surveys the past couple of months. DeSantis, a former congressman, narrowly won his first election as governor in 2018 thanks in part to strong support from then-President Trump. But he saw his popularity soar among conservatives across the country the past three years, courtesy of his forceful pushback against coronavirus pandemic restrictions and his aggressive actions as a conservative culture warrior, going after media and corporations.  2024 WATCH: NIKKI HALEY TO JOIN TRUMP IN HUNT FOR GOP PRESIDENTIAL NOMINATION The governor became a prolific fundraiser during the 2022 election cycle, hauling in over $200 million as he built a massive war chest with contributions from across the country. And his nearly 20-point victory over former Republican-governor-turned Democratic congressman Charlie Christ, along with a double-digit re-election win by GOP Sen. Marco Rubio, helped transform the one-time blockbuster battleground into a red state. DeSantis for over a year routinely dismissed talk of a 2024 White House race as he focused on his gubernatorial re-election. But he’s dropped plenty of hints of a possible presidential bid since his re-election victory speech in November. WHY THE REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL NOMINATION RACE IS OFF TO A SLOW START The governor has already pushed legislation in the opening month of his second term that is pleasing to conservatives in Florida and nationwide. And as Fox News first reported, he’s got a memoir titled “The Courage to Be Free: Florida’s Blueprint for America’s Revival” publishing later this month. Writing a book is a rite of passage for many potential and actual presidential candidates. In a sign of his political prominence, DeSantis has taken incoming fire recently not only from Trump but also from other potential rivals for the GOP nomination. And Trump in recent weeks has also trained some of his fire at Haley, who’s scheduled to make stops in New Hampshire and Iowa following her campaign launch next week. Haley is named as a top-of-mind preference by just 1% of Republican voters questioned in the poll, but earns positive reviews from her party’s electorate, with a 47%-11% favorable/unfavorable rating. However, one-fifth of these voters do not have an opinion of her (22%) and another fifth have not even heard of her (19%).  “Haley’s favorable ratings are solid among Republican voters who are familiar with her. The problem is she is an unknown commodity for a large chunk of the potential primary electorate,” said Murray. Pence, Pompeo, former two-term Govs. Larry Hogan of Maryland and Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas, Govs. Kristi Noem of South Dakota, Chris Sununu of New Hampshire, and Glenn Youngkin of Virginia, and Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina are also seriously mulling presidential bids. The poll surveyed 566 Republican and Republican leaning voters nationwide, with a sampling error of plus or minus 6.1 percentage points.

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