Florida Republicans Steadfast in Commitment to Trump

July 10, 2023

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New insights into the political landscape of Florida show the unwavering commitment of Florida Republicans to former President Donald Trump despite the official Presidential bid of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, according to a new Florida Atlantic University Mainstreet PolCom Lab poll.

Although DeSantis and Trump enjoy significant popularity among Floridians, Trump maintains a formidable 20 percent lead over DeSantis among statewide GOP primary voters, with Trump capturing the support of 50 percent of Republican voters compared to DeSantis’ percent.

“The poll highlights Donald Trump’s quite durable support. He does especially well with white working-class voters, who have consistently formed a steadfast base for the former President,” said Kevin Wagner, Ph.D., professor of political science at FAU. “This persistent support continues to bolster Trump’s strong and steady position within the party.”

The PolCom Lab poll further reveals that one in five Republicans perceive supporting a candidate other than Donald Trump in the primaries as disloyal, posing a challenging environment for any contender seeking to challenge the former President’s dominance.

However, the poll also unveils a promising trend for DeSantis. The gap between Trump and DeSantis in Florida has narrowed by 7 percent since the PolCom Lab’s April poll results, indicating that the race has the potential to tighten as we get closer to the election.

The poll shows that DeSantis would defeat Biden by 13 percent (49 percent vs. 36 percent) among Floridians, which is larger than the 10 percent edge Trump has over the President. The poll also found that 54 percent of Floridians “Strongly” or “Somewhat” approve of the job DeSantis is doing as governor.

“These poll results could be an important motivator for DeSantis to promote his bid for the Republican primary, as he may be a stronger candidate against the incumbent,” said political scientist Dukhong Kim, Ph.D., associate professor of political science at FAU. “The poll indicates that the margin held by Trump or DeSantis at this time is larger than the 3.3 percent vote difference observed in the 2020 presidential election, suggesting that Florida is shifting towards becoming a safe state for Republicans.”

Other GOP Contenders Also Gain (Some) Voter Attention

Trump and DeSantis lead the political fight for the presidency among GOP voters, with other names holding limited traction. Notable figures such as former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Vice President Mike Pence are each garnering a mere 2 percent of support. However, minority candidates Tim Scott and Vivek Ramaswamy have drawn some interest, with 2.5 percent and 3.6 percent respectively. The poll shows Black and Hispanic voters having a more significant interest in minority GOP candidates.

The poll, conducted from June 27 to July 1, included a sample of 933 Florida voters. The margin of error stands at +/- 3.2 percentage points at the 95-percent confidence level, with higher margins of error in each subsample. The survey utilized automated telephone interviews (Smart IVR) for data collection.