In an age when authenticity seems a quality so appealing to voters that it can launch no less than Donald Trump all the way to the presidency, the new poll just released by LibertyNation.com demonstrates that even a worthy imitation or shadow of the real thing is still not, well, the real thing.
The question put to our readers revolves around the future political viability of the 45th president. And after all the upset of 2020, the election that got away, the bitter recriminations that led to January 6 and the president departing under the worst of circumstances, one might have thought approval of Trump himself would have plummeted. Take it one step further, to the matter of Trump as a potential candidate to take back his old job in 2024, and the question becomes more searing. Then add the third factor, the choice of an alternative candidate widely admired by Trump supporters – Trump without the bombast.
The results are something of a Rorschach test. In a head-to-head contest between the 45th president and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis for who readers would like to see as the Republican candidate in the next race for the White House, Trump beats DeSantis by a wide margin – 26 points to be precise. And the 63% to 37% advantage for Trump among the 3,405 respondents in the LN poll – a larger sample than most national polls – is revealing in a number of ways.
The 63% for Trump means that disappointment among the former president’s most faithful supporters is not as profound as many likely feared – or hoped. National surveys have similarly confirmed that support for Trump remains at levels thought unattainable after 1/6/21. The increasingly striking contrast between the high energy, precedent-shattering Trump era and the dismal, somnambulistic presidency of his successor undoubtedly contributed to the result.
The 37% for DeSantis represents a more than respectable showing for a rising star over 30 years Trump’s junior. In fact, Florida’s outspoken chief executive may have already effectively eliminated any serious competition outside of Trump for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination. He has forged his own path on COVID, been fearless in attacking the Biden administration, and seen his support continue to rise in the Sunshine State, all the while galvanizing Trump’s post-presidency base. There is no question Ron DeSantis has been leading, speaking out and positioning himself as the natural inheritor of the MAGA legacy.
But there was one other factor revealed in this LN survey. While the first question put to readers revolved around which candidate between Trump and DeSantis they would prefer, the second question was about which of the two they thought would be most likely to beat the Democrat presidential candidate in 2024. The results of that second query were virtually identical to the first, with Trump thought more likely to beat an unnamed Democrat by a margin of 62% to 38%. This reveals that a major consideration for respondents in their preference between the two, especially given their similar policy positions, was their relative likelihood of winning the election.
Ron DeSantis has been presenting himself effectively as Trump 2.0, packed with the same great features as the original release but with the bugs fixed. Trump loyalists, and the GOP faithful in general, have certainly been impressed with his body of work. Nevertheless, this LN readers’ poll leads us to the conclusion that, if Trump actually decides to go for the gold one more time, even a worthy proxy for the America First cause who has already demonstrated extraordinary political courage will not be able to stop him.
~ Read more from Tim Donner.