Republican support for Donald Trump’s presidential bid in 2024 has plummeted, according to an exclusive USA TODAY/Suffolk University Poll, as the former president struggles with midterm losses and legal setbacks.
By a 2-1 margin, Republican and Republican-leaning voters now say they want Trump’s policies but a different standard-bearer to carry them out. While 31% want the former president to run, 61% prefer another Republican nominee who will continue Trump’s policies.
They’ve decided on a moniker: Two-thirds of Republicans and Republican voters want Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to run for President. They prefer DeSantis to Trump by a wide margin, 56% to 33%.
“Republicans and conservative independents increasingly want Trumpism without Trump,” said Suffolk University Political Research Center director David Paleologos.
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The findings are a red flag for Trump, whose core support has remained remarkably consistent despite outrage over his personal behaviour, provocative rhetoric, and most controversial actions in the White House. However, he has become increasingly embattled over his role in fueling the Jan. 6 Capitol assault, his alleged mishandling of sensitive documents when he left the White House, and investigations into efforts to overturn the 2020 election results.
Some Republican strategists blame Trump and his influence for the Republican Party’s failure to retake control of the Senate in November. Candidates he helped recruit and support in Arizona, Georgia, and Pennsylvania were defeated in races that independent analysts predicted would be won by more traditional candidates.
The poll of 1,000 registered voters, conducted by landline and cell phone from Wednesday to Sunday, has a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points. The error margin for the sample of 374 Republicans and independents leaning Republican is 5.1 points.
In a head-to-head race, Biden’s lead over Trump grows.
The GOP’s enthusiasm for Trump’s third presidential bid has waned in recent months, according to a USA TODAY/Suffolk poll.
In July, 60% of Republicans supported Trump’s re-election. In October, that figure had fallen to 56%. It has now dropped to 47%, nearly even with the 45% who do not want him to run for a third time.
Registered voters were polled in July and December. In October, a poll of likely midterm voters was conducted.
Trump is also unpopular among his supporters. The percentage of Republicans who approve of him has fallen from 75% in October to 64% in December. His unfavourable rating has risen from 18% to 23%.
In a hypothetical head-to-head, Trump has fallen further behind President Joe Biden among all voters. Biden now has a 47% to 40% chance of winning the general election. (Because of rounding effects, Biden’s margin is slightly wider than that, at 7.8 points.) Biden also led in October, but by a narrower margin, 46%-42%.