Florida 2024 primary poll: DeSantis 51, Trump 39

AP Photo/Lynne Sladky

I’ve never heard of Blueprint Polling before, but when it comes to “Trump versus DeSantis” content I’m like Ron Burgundy with the teleprompter. I’ll post a-ny-thi-i-ing.

The “glass half full” view of this survey for DeSantis fans is that in the state that knows him best, where both he and Trump are residents, he’s ahead by double digits. Defeating Trump in a national primary may be a simple matter of raising DeSantis’s name recognition to Trumpian levels.

The “glass half empty” view is that there’s no way to raise his name recognition to Trumpian levels. Trump is probably the most famous person in the world, leaving DeSantis to start the campaign in a deep hole. And if he starts to get nervous about DeSantis catching up to him, there are things he could do to try to choke off the other guy’s media oxygen. One would be for Trump to skip any primary debates in 2024 — although that would come with risks. Another, if he wants to play hardball, would be to quietly present conservative media outlets with a “me or him” ultimatum behind the scenes. “If you give DeSantis airtime, you don’t get access to a second Trump White House,” he could say.

Would you put it past him? Would you put it past some outlets to agree to his terms?

Anyway, hopefully this is a national harbinger:

The [Florida] survey, conducted by Blueprint Polling, found 50.9 percent of those asked back or lean towards the Florida governor, with the former president behind on 38.6 percent.

When broken down to just those who are firm on their stance, DeSantis’ lead extends to nearly 14 points (47.6 percent to 33.2 percent) in a scenario in which the pair ended up as the final two choices in the GOP primary.

“Older Republicans are more likely to support Trump, but DeSantis still leads the former president in all age groupings,” a poll summary read.

“Trump is tied with DeSantis among voters with some college but among high school graduates as well as college graduates and those with advanced degrees, DeSantis polls much better.”

That last bit is music to DeSantis’s ears as it’ll be key to his electability pitch in 2024. “Working-class voters will support either of us,” he’ll say. “But only I can bring the suburban swing voters back.” And he’ll be right.

It’ll be fascinating to see which way spineless Republican rivals tilt if the 2024 primaries quickly become a competitive two-man race between Trump and DeSantis. Who will Ted Cruz back after he drops out? Nikki Haley? Tom Cotton? All of them would prefer DeSantis on the merits, I think (I hope), but if you bet on the wrong horse and Trump ends up winning, you’re on the sh*t list forever.

Frankly, they might all end up backing Trump given that DeSantis is by far a longer-term threat to each of them than 45 is. There’s no scenario in which Trump runs in 2028, irrespective of what happens in 2024. There is a scenario in which DeSantis runs both times. From a standpoint of cold self-interest, the Cruzes and Haleys are better off having Trump weaken DeSantis for them in the next cycle than by throwing in with the new guy on a longshot candidacy.

Today’s Florida poll is only the second I’ve seen showing DeSantis leading Trump anywhere. (The other was the now-famous survey of New Hampshire a few weeks ago.) But data in other early states suggests the governor is gaining ground:

“It’s actually even worse than it appears for Trump,” said [GOP pollster Rick] Shaftan, whose new poll shows a dramatic drop in support for Trump in Iowa and a bump up for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. “No. 1, he keeps talking about 2020, which is the past. It’s ancient history to people. What it says to people is that he’s more interested in himself than attacking Biden, going after the Biden agenda.”…

In data shared with Secrets, Trump leads in Iowa, but the margin has been slashed 18 points from November, and he is the first pick for only 37% of Iowa Republicans. DeSantis is up nearly 5 points to 17%. Undecideds more than doubled to 36%. The next-closest first pick is former Vice President Mike Pence at just 2%.

Is that a “January 6 effect” in action? Rising interest in DeSantis at work? Or just “rigged election” fatigue among populists who have moved on from 2020 and are beginning to realize that Trump never will?

Politico reported yesterday that DeSantis recently held a gathering of top donors and fellow Republican governors like Kim Reynolds of Iowa and Henry McMaster of South Carolina — both of which happen to be early presidential primary states, go figure. I’m keen to see how aggressive he’ll be in campaigning for GOP candidates in other states this fall, particularly when he’s on the ballot himself in Florida. He laid low during the primaries, not wanting to make any enemies within the party unnecessarily by endorsing Candidate A over Candidate B. But the general election is an opportunity for him to build relationships and earn favors nationally ahead of a presidential primary. The only reason not to do it is if he thinks Florida Democrats would get traction from it: “DeSantis is MIA, campaigning to be president instead of governor! He doesn’t care about our state!” His campaign has raised $125 million and counting, though. I think he can get away with a few out-of-state cameos without much ill effect.

Allahpundit Aug 09, 2022 5:01 PM ET