The results of a new poll by the University of New Hampshire have some worrisome news for Trump: He is no longer the big dog in the state of New Hampshire.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis takes 39% in a poll of the Republican presidential primary in New Hampshire, while Trump is at 37%. No other potential GOP contender manages double-digit support, with former Vice President Mike Pence in third place at 9%. This is a major change from where the race was last fall. A UNH poll in October 2021 showed Trump with 43% to DeSantis’ 18%. Another interesting nugget from the poll: Just 6 in 10 self-identified Republicans (62%) want President Trump to run again in 2024.
Now, this is just one poll at a secluded location expected to be the first to vote in the 2024 primary season. Depending on polling in the broader Republican presidential race, Trump is ahead in the majority of them. He would likely start a third bid for presidency as the GOP favorite.
The primary race is no longer a contest between Trump and his opponents, but rather a contest between DeSantis and his opponents. Politico reported Wednesday: “According to four people connected to the governor and former president, DeSantis has not asked Trump for a formal endorsement and isn’t planning to.” And just this week, New Yorker magazine devoted an entire article — with the headline: “Can Ron DeSantis Displace Donald Trump as the G.O.P.’s Combatant-in-Chief?”—to profiling the candidate. In it, author Evan Osnos describes DeSantis as “Trump with a brain.”
In October 2018, when President Trump was asked about Florida Representative Ron DeSantis’s prospects for winning the 2024 presidential election, he was dismissive. “If I faced him, I’d beat him like I would beat everyone else,” Trump said. “I think most people would drop out; I think he would drop out.” But DeSantis’ strong showing in the polls coupled with the $112 million he has sitting in his gubernatorial campaign coffers suggests that circumstances have changed in the 2024 race — and Trump needs to change with it.