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2 Apr, 2023 21:17

Most Republicans back Trump as 2024 candidate – poll

The former president is leading the Florida governor by his largest-ever margin despite his legal drama
Most Republicans back Trump as 2024 candidate – poll

Former President Donald Trump has more than tripled his lead over his chief rival for the Republican presidential nomination, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, in under two weeks despite facing a reported two dozen charges under sealed indictment, according to a YahooNews/YouGov poll published on Saturday. 

Trump leads DeSantis by 26 points in a hypothetical one-on-one electoral contest, with 57% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents choosing the real estate mogul turned politician and 31% choosing his former protégé, the poll, conducted Thursday and Friday, revealed. Another 12% were unsure who they preferred of the two Republican frontrunners, who have traded first place between themselves for months despite DeSantis not yet having officially announced his candidacy.

The figures mark a significant boost for Trump from the last Yahoo/YouGov poll, conducted less than two weeks ago, which had the ex-president leading the governor by just eight points. A month before that, DeSantis led Trump by four points. 

More than half of Republican respondents (54%) confirmed Trump was their pick of any candidate for the race, with just 33% saying they wanted “someone else” to run and 13% unsure – up from the 51% who picked Trump in the last poll. 

Surveying 1,089 US adults in the 24 hours after a New York grand jury handed down the indictment against Trump, the poll found the ex-president's ‘favorable’ and ‘unfavorable’ ratings exactly equal to those of current president Joe Biden – 45% favorable and 52% unfavorable. A Trump-Biden rematch held on Friday would have gone to Biden, with 45% of voters picking the Democratic incumbent, narrowly edging out Trump’s 43%, with the rest going to ‘not sure’ (9%) and ‘would not vote’ (3%).

While 40% of respondents admitted Trump would be a weaker candidate than he had been in 2020, few seemed to think the indictment was responsible for that weakness. Only 30% felt it would hurt him in the 2024 campaign, while 27% said it made no difference and 24% actually thought it made him a stronger candidate. Trump is the first former US president in history to be indicted. 

Accordingly, when respondents were asked the chances they would have supported Trump in the general election had they not known about his indictment, the results differed at most two percentage points from the chances they would support the reality TV star with full knowledge of his indictment. While the charges remain under seal until Tuesday, they reportedly pertain to Trump's alleged hush money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels seven years ago.