Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is the early favorite for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination if former President Trump decides against another run for the White House, according to a new Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll survey shared exclusively with The Hill.
In a hypothetical 2024 GOP presidential primary, DeSantis takes 36 percent support among those surveyed. His closest rival is former Vice President Mike Pence, who notches only 17 percent of the potential vote.
No other prospective candidate scores in the double digits. Only 8 percent of respondents say they would support former Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), while former Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley comes in at 8 percent support.
Nevertheless, Trump remains the clear favorite should he mount a 2024 comeback campaign. Fifty-six percent of Republican voters in the poll say they would back the former president. In that scenario, DeSantis notches just 16 percent of the vote, while Pence falls to only 7 percent support.
Still, DeSantis, who’s running for a second term in the Florida governor’s mansion this year, lacks the same universal name recognition as Trump.
The former president’s favorability rating is still underwater, with 42 percent of respondents saying they have a favorable view and 50 percent holding an unfavorable opinion of him.
DeSantis’s favorable rating, meanwhile, remains above water, despite the fact that fewer voters have formed an opinion on the one-term governor. Thirty-four percent of respondents have a favorable opinion of DeSantis while 28 percent have an unfavorable view of him.
Those findings suggest that, while DeSantis may trail Trump in a hypothetical 2024 match-up, the Florida governor has more room to grow his support among voters nationally. And while he has brushed off questions about his future political ambitions, he has also repeatedly declined to say that he won’t run for president if Trump does.
“Gov. Ron DeSantis is a rare politician in America right now with more voters who like him than dislike him and he is gaining strength in the Republican primary, positioning him to win if Trump does not run and possibly taking him on if he does run,” Mark Penn, the co-director of the Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll, said.
The Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll survey of 1,308 registered voters was conducted June 28-29. It is a collaboration of the Center for American Political Studies at Harvard University and the Harris Poll.
The survey is an online sample drawn from the Harris Panel and weighted to reflect known demographics. As a representative online sample, it does not report a probability confidence interval.