(CNN) State of Florida Ron DeSantis He has spent the past few months running to the right ahead of his entry into the 2024 Republican presidential campaign. From signing into law Six-week abortion ban to do Fight with DisneyThe governor is focused on appeasing his party’s conservative base.
So far at least, those efforts have not paid off in the Republican primary polls, with DeSantis trailing even further than his former rival, the current front-runner. President Donald Trump.
Things just got worse for DeSantis A recent Fox News poll Compared to his 21% — 19% Robert F. Kennedy Jrwho posited debunked conspiracy theories about Vaccine protectionReceived by the Democratic Party.
Fox’s February poll had DeSantis at 28%, 15 points behind Trump. The Florida governor’s support has fallen in the two Fox polls released, and he now trails the former president by 32 points.
Early voting problems
The Fox poll didn’t just show DeSantis faltering. The latest average of national polls has dropped him from the high 30s to the low 20s.
It might not seem like a big deal, but early voting has long been an indicator of how well presidential candidates are doing in next year’s primaries. In everything First of all Elections Without incumbents since 1972, about 30% of candidates in early primaries (as DeSantis had in February) have become their parties’ nominees 40% of the time. Candidates who vote as DeSantis is now have about a 20% success rate.
Of course, I would point out that 20% is nothing. DeSantis still definitely has a chance to win. The comparison to Kennedy is not a reference to Kennedy’s strength, but to DeSantis’ weakness.
There is no historical example of such a position President Joe Biden’s current position (over 60% in a recent Fox poll) lost a primary. At this point in 1995, Bill Clinton was voting roughly where Biden is now, and he had no problem winning the Democratic nomination the following year.
In the same campaign, Jesse Jackson received 20% of the vote in several early polls against Clinton. So what we’re seeing now from Kennedy is, so far, not a historical anomaly.
Jackson did not run in that 1996 race. The incumbent is strong enough to fend off most challenges.
The last three incumbents to lose or drop out of state primaries — Lyndon Johnson in 1968, Gerald Ford in 1976 and Jimmy Carter in 1980 — received less than 40% of the vote or increased by less than 10 points at this point in the primary.
The good news for DeSantis is that he won’t necessarily beat an incumbent, although one could make the case that Trump is voting like one.
Indeed, DeSantis’ decline is at least in part due to Trump’s rise. Former President, who Charged with criminal charges In New York, the average 2024 poll has gone from the mid-40s to more than 50%. (Trump Not guilty to charges.)
DeSantis wrong instructions
But one could also argue that DeSantis didn’t help his cause. He has yet to formally announce his 2024 campaign — as most past candidates have had already done so or had filed with the Central Election Commission at this stage of the contest. The drama to the governor’s right doesn’t match where anti-Trump forces lie within the Republican Party.
Trump continues to be weak among party moderates. A Quinnipiac University Poll Released at the end of March, he was attracting 61% among the most conservative Republicans, while getting just 30% from moderate and liberal Republicans.
This moderate wing is the part of the party that might want to ban abortions after six weeks. A KFF poll Taken late last year, moderate and liberal Republicans are split 50/50 on whether they favor a six-week abortion ban.
This group is not small. Moderates and liberals make up 30% of likely Republican primary voters in a Quinnipiac poll.
Indeed, DeSantis’ other major news-making move (his fight with Disney) managed to divide the GOP as well. Reuters/Ipsos poll Found last week. While the governor has a clear majority (64%), 36% of Republicans do not.
For reference, more than 80% of Republicans said so A Fox poll last month Regarding the criminal charges brought against him in New York, Trump has not done anything illegal.
DeSantis is currently not creating a site. He divides Republicans and allows them to claim the right to elect Trump. General voters oppose the six-week abortion ban and his stance on Disney.
Let’s see if that changes if his polling performance improves after the official campaign. If it doesn’t, it ends together Very boring presidential primary seasons In the modern era, Biden and Trump are given significant advantages.