DeSantis, on Defense, Shows Signs of Slipping in Polls
For now, the Florida governor isn’t firing back at Trump.
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By Nate Cohn
It’s been a tough few months for Ron DeSantis.
Donald J. Trump and his allies have blasted him as “Meatball Ron,” “Ron DeSanctimonious,” a “groomer,” disloyal and a supporter of cutting entitlement programs. Now, he’s getting criticism from many mainstream conservatives for calling Russia’s invasion of Ukraine a “territorial dispute.”
Is all of this making a difference in the polls? There are signs the answer is yes.
In surveys taken since the Trump offensive began two months ago, Mr. DeSantis, the Florida governor, has steadily lost ground against Mr. Trump, whose own numbers have increased.
It can be hard to track who’s up and who’s down in the Republican race, since different pollsters have had such wildly divergent takes on Mr. Trump’s strength. In just the last few days, a CNN/SSRS poll showed a tight race, with Mr. DeSantis at 39 percent and Mr. Trump at 37 percent among registered voters, while a Morning Consult poll found Mr. Trump with nearly a two-to-one lead, 52 percent to 28 percent.
In this situation, the best way to get a clear read on recent trends is to compare surveys by the same pollsters over time.
Over the last two months, we’ve gotten about a dozen polls from pollsters who had surveyed the Republican race over the previous two months. These polls aren’t necessarily of high quality or representative, so don’t focus on the average across these polls. It’s the trend that’s important, and the trend is unequivocal: Every single one of these polls has shown Mr. DeSantis faring worse than before, and Mr. Trump faring better.
A Widening Gap Between Trump and DeSantis
Every recent poll has shown Mr. DeSantis faring worse than he did two months ago — around the time Mr. Trump began publicly attacking him.
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