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A new CNN primary poll has revealed some interesting changes in the Republican political landscape. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who many have viewed as the most pressing threat to former President Donald Trump’s chances of securing the GOP nomination, has tumbled to fifth place among likely Republican voters in New Hampshire, a key state for the primaries.
These numbers might come as a surprise, given DeSantis’ popularity in the conservative movement. If accurate, these results could portend some troubling times ahead for the governor’s campaign.
The survey, consisting of 2,107 respondents and completed between September 14 and September 18, revealed that Trump continues to maintain a healthy lead over his competition, with 39 percent of likely primary voters backing him. No surprise there. But DeSantis is significantly trailing the former president with only 10 percent support, which is a 13 percent drop since July. In fact, his numbers have plummeted to fifth place behind entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, and even former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
These new numbers could reflect a broader shift among members of the Republican base. DeSantis enjoyed widespread popularity among conservatives over his positions on COVID-19 and his reputation as an anti-woke crusader against progressivism. However, it appears Republican voters are more willing to consider alternatives as the race continues.
However, all is not lost for DeSantis. The primary is still almost four months away, and the poll does offer a glimmer of hope for the governor, who is widely favored as voters’ second pick. This suggests that a substantial chunk of the Republican voting base could swing his way if other candidates drop out of the race.
Moreover, the poll showed that only a small minority of those supporting candidates who are not named Donald J. Trump indicated that they have “definitely decided” on which contender they will support. While this could further harm DeSantis’ campaign, if he plays his cards right, it could also benefit his chances of challenging the former president. The governor will need to work even harder to reassure Republican voters that he is the right man to take on President Joe Biden in the general election.
It will be a hard road for DeSantis, given that half of the respondents believe Trump has the best shot at defeating Biden in 2024. However, 16 percent believe the same about DeSantis. It is also worth noting, though, that only 59 percent of the governor’s own supporters actually believe that he has the best chance of winning the White House in the general election, which could suggest a lack of strong conviction among members of his base.
The results of this poll, as well as others, are a serious warning sign for DeSantis’ campaign. While it does not necessarily signal the demise of his candidacy, it does indicate he has significant ground to cover. His team seems to be aware of this fact and is pushing hard in Iowa, New Hampshire, and other key primary states to ensure the governor makes a decent showing as Team Trump attempts to secure their own victory.