Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has dropped in the polls, and former President Donald Trump is loving every second of it.
An RMG Research Inc. poll published this week found Trump continuing to lead at 60 percent but DeSantis sliding down to third place behind fellow presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy:
2024 National Republican Primary
— InteractivePolls (@IAPolls2022) August 16, 2023
Following the poll’s publication, Trump responded to it by rubbing DeSantis’ decline to second place in his face.
“It’s over for Ron DeSanctimonious, now in 3rd place. Ramaswamy now in 2nd. RMG Research. Go home to Florida, Ron, and work on Insurance costs, the highest in the Nation!” he wrote on Truth Social.
He also took some shots at DeSantis while speaking with the Daily Mail from the Iowa State Fair last weekend. For example, he boasted about his crowd size versus the Florida governor’s crowd size.
“He didn’t have many people show up, That’s not good. He’s doing very poorly in the polls. Very, very poorly. And I think he’s going to be leaving the race pretty soon, I think,” he said.
When asked about the prospect of debating DeSantis in the upcoming GOP presidential primary debate, he reiterated his desire to see the Florida governor take a hike.
“He really should leave the race,” the former president said.
But he’s not. Instead he’s fighting back. Indeed, on Wednesday the DeSantis-aligned PAC Never Back Down dropped an ad trolling Trump over his refusal to attend the upcoming debate.
Republicans need a nominee with stamina. A nominee who’s sharp.
We deserve a candidate who earns our vote — not one who demands it. pic.twitter.com/Tf3Cf4RrtX
— Never Back Down (@NvrBackDown24) August 16, 2023
The ad begins by first noting that “Donald Trump used to mock Democrats for refusing to debate” and then playing clips of Trump doing exactly that.
Then the ad shows what’s happening “now” — Trump citing reasons for why he can’t or doesn’t want to debate on the 24th.
The video concludes with a narrator reading a statement.
“We can’t afford a nominee who’s too weak to debate. We need a nominee with stamina, a nominee who’s sharp. Republicans deserve a candidate who earns our vote, not one who demands it. What happened to Donald Trump?” the narrator says.
While the ad definitely attracted some positive praise from DeSantis supporters, it also garnered massive criticism from Trump supporters.
Case in point:
This isn’t the win u think it is
Enjoy the ratio LMAO
— Tommy Egan (@tommyegan1776) August 16, 2023
Trump has never demanded my vote and I’m still voting for him!
Tip – whoever is advising you how to appeal to voters is really bad at it. Tell us what you are about in the primary and leave it at that.
— Brett Murphy (@PowerMan4Evr) August 16, 2023
By earning your vote, DeSantis means flying private and enjoying resort accommodations at every destination, while performing some community theater with campaign staff. Trump, on the other hand, is walking through fire.
— Dust (@dustpen01) August 16, 2023
This isn’t the win you think it is. Never Trump doesn’t like her but MAGA does and that’s all that matters.This ad won’t generate one new voter for Ron. The gig is up. Pack it up and go home. Ron needs to focus on being a governor.
— Tiffany (@tiffanylloree) August 16, 2023
— Tracy Ann (@TracyAMHall1) August 17, 2023
Keep in mind that RMG Research Inc.’s poll is an outlier. Polling averages maintained by RealClearPolitics still show DeSantis ahead with 14.8 percent of the vote, and Ramaswamy in third place with just 6.7 percent of the vote.
As for Trump, his numbers have steadily risen as he’s been indicted over and over and over again.
“Nearly two-thirds of Republicans — 63 percent — now say they want the former president to run again, according to new polling from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. That’s up slightly from the 55 percent who said the same in April when Trump began facing a series of criminal charges,” PBS News reported Wednesday.
Likewise, seven out of 10 Republicans now boast a favorable opinion of Trump. That’s an uptick of 10 percent from what was reported two months ago.
However, his numbers look entirely different in the context of a general election versus a primary election.
“While most Republicans — 74 percent — say they would support him in November 2024, 53 percent of Americans say they would definitely not support him if he is the nominee. Another 11 percent say they would probably not support him in November 2024,” according to PBS.
PBS News further notes that these findings “bolster the arguments of some of Trump’s rivals for the Republican nomination [including DeSantis] who laud his tenure as president, but warn that he can’t win in a general election when he must compete for votes beyond the GOP base.”
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