Florida GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis leads former President Donald Trump in a hypothetical presidential primary for the state by eight points, according to a new poll.
The USA Today-Suffolk University poll released Wednesday revealed that 48% of Florida Republican voters surveyed support DeSantis in the hypothetical matchup, compared to 40% who support Trump.
In a switch, Trump led DeSantis in the January USA Today-Suffolk poll, by 47% to 40%, indicating that high-profile FBI and criminal investigations may be adversely affecting the former president in favor of rising-star DeSantis.
David Paleologos, the director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center, told USA Today that DeSantis’ lead among Florida Republicans does not necessarily mean he would lead in other states, but it could point to a shift among certain GOP voters, The Hill reported.
"But it is one data point suggesting a shift in preferences from GOP voters away from Trump and toward DeSantis from Republicans who know both potential combatants quite well," he said.
Both politicians are considered to be running possibilities in 2024, although DeSantis says he is focused on running for reelection as Florida governor.
Nationally, Trump still leads DeSantis among Republicans. But DeSantis is popular among many Florida Republicans for his tough stance on illegal migrants, his pro-business COVID-19 policies, and conservative education platform.
The Florida poll found significant class differences among Republican voters, with Trump leading DeSantis by 53% to 36% among those making less than $50,000 per year. Among people earning $50,000 of more, DeSantis leads Trump, 55% to 33%.
College-educated voters favor DeSantis by 60% to 30%, while those who didn't attend college prefer Trump by 57% to 27%, in the USA Today poll.
Both candidates would defeat President Joe Biden in a hypothetical 2024 matchup. DeSantis leads Biden, 52% to 44%, while Trump leads Biden by 3 points in Florida, 47% to 44%, according to the poll.
The poll was conducted Sept. 15-18 among 500 likely Florida midterm election voters. The margin of error for all respondents is 4.4 points.
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