Former President Donald Trump is still the undisputed leader of the Republican Party, according to a new Harvard-Harris poll that shows him with a massive 35-point lead over his closest rival, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
The poll, conducted on April 18-19 among 1,845 registered voters, asked Republican voters who they would vote for if the 2024 presidential primary were held today. The results were clear: 55% said Trump, while only 20% said DeSantis. The rest of the field trailed far behind, with former Vice President Mike Pence at 7%, former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley at 4%, and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy at 2%.
This is not a fluke or an outlier. Trump has consistently led DeSantis by double digits in every Harvard-Harris poll this year, and his margin has only grown over time. In January, he led by 20 points; in February, by 23 points; in March, by 26 points; and now, by 35 points.
What explains Trump’s enduring popularity among Republicans? There are several factors at play. First, Trump has a loyal base of supporters who admire his achievements in office, his America First agenda, his defiance of the political establishment, and his willingness to fight for the truth. Second, Trump has been vindicated on many issues that he was attacked for by the media and the Democrats, such as the origins of the virus, the border crisis, the inflation surge, and the election fraud. Third, Trump has remained active and influential in the political arena, endorsing candidates, holding rallies, launching lawsuits, and creating his own social media platform.
DeSantis, on the other hand, has not been able to match Trump’s charisma, vision, or record. While he has gained some national attention for his handling of the pandemic and his resistance to lockdowns and mandates, he has also faced criticism on many issues. He has also been accused of being too ambitious and opportunistic, trying to position himself as Trump’s heir apparent while also distancing himself from some of his unpopular stances.
The Harvard-Harris poll also shows that Trump would beat Joe Biden by five points in a hypothetical rematch, while DeSantis would lose by three points. This suggests that Trump has a broader appeal than DeSantis among the general electorate, especially among independents and moderates who are disillusioned with Biden’s disastrous performance.
The bottom line is that Trump is still the dominant force in the GOP and the best hope for Republicans to win back the White House in 2024. DeSantis may be a rising star, but he is no match for Trump’s star power. As long as Trump wants to run again, he will have the overwhelming support of Republican voters who trust him to make America great again.