DeSantis leads Trump in direct confrontation: poll

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (right) holds a 9-point lead over former President Trump in a hypothetical heads-up in the 2024 Republican primary, according to a new poll.

DeSantis, who is seen as one of Trump’s top possible competitors in his bid to return to the White House, scored 49% against Trump in the conservative Club for Growth poll.

The poll shows that DeSantis and Trump are runaway favorites against other candidates.

In a crowded primary poll of seven people, Trump led DeSantis 37% to 33%. Former Vice President Mike Pence finished third with just 7% of the vote. The survey has a margin of error of 1.8%.

The poll predicts a potential showdown between the two GOP figures, as Trump has already kicked off his 2024 campaign. DeSantis hasn’t announced yet, but it’s widely expected that he will throw his hat into the ring.

Growth Club president David McIntosh told The Hill that his group invited all the names in the poll, including DeSantis, Pence, Sen. Tim Scott (RS.C.) and the former ambassador of the United Nations Nikki Haley, among others, to the withdrawal of donors, except for Trump.

“What the club believes the Republican Party should do is make sure whoever we nominate is actually going to win,” McIntosh said. “The party should be open to considering a different candidate. DeSantis is in the strongest position.”

Polls this week by ABC and The Washington Post showed Republican voters were nearly torn between wanting to abandon Trump and believing he should be the candidate in 2024.

The Club for Growth poll of 3,015 likely Republican primary voters also found that support for Trump and DeSantis within the party was divided between more conservative Republicans and those who identified as moderates.

In direct confrontation, Trump got 52% of the vote from people who identified as very conservative.

DeSantis was more popular than Trump among voters who declared themselves conservative or moderate/liberal in some way, garnering 56% and 51% of their support, respectively.

McIntosh said the club “never considers itself Trump” by any means.

“Anything is possible,” he said. “And if he gets the nomination, we’ll help him try and win. But the last three elections show that he has lost.”

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