The GOP base is evenly divided over a potential Trump 2024 nomination. Over half of Republican voters would support other candidates if Trump decided to run again, says the latest New York Times/Sienna poll. The results come as speculation grows over the field of Republican presidential hopefuls in 2024, and after the same poll showed most Democrats want Biden out in 2024.
Although the survey shows that there is room within the GOP for a candidate other than Trump, it also confirms that Trump remains the front-runner for a potential Republican primary bid. The former President would get 49% of the Republican primary voters, a high percentage of the electorate, and a tough challenge for any primary opponent.
The NYT poll also confirms the status of FL Gov. Ron DeSantis as the second Republican with the most support and with a large room for future growth within the party. The survey shows that 25% of Republicans would vote for DeSantis over Trump, the only one of the non-Trump candidates who managed to get double digits.
Have Past Polls Predicted Presidential Nominee? Not Quite
However, being the front-runner is not equal to winning the election. There are signs of a potential lane for a Republican opponent to win the 2024 GOP nomination, especially as presidential primaries before election years are not well-known for predicting the nominee. For instance, in July 2014 Hillary Clinton had a 67% vote share among Democrats while Jeb Bush and Rick Perry were the Republicans with more support. In the end, Hillary barely won her nomination after a bitter contest against Bernie Sanders and both Bush and Perry were swept by Trump in 2016.
The Challenges of a Trump 2024 Bid
The survey shows that even if less than half of Republicans would vote for the former President in a 2024 primary, a majority of Republicans have very favorable views of Trump. Eighty percent of GOP voters say they have either a very favorable or somewhat favorable view of Trump. He has, for obvious reasons, the highest name recognition among the field of presidential hopefuls, as only 3% of Republicans said they didn’t have an opinion on Trump.
The survey also shows that 75% of Republicans think that Trump was “exercising his right to contest the 2020 election” while 19% think that his actions “threatened American democracy.”
However, there are some challenges to Trump’s possible candidacy in 2024. First, his public persona image remains extremely divisive with the general electorate, giving Democrats a chance to galvanize their base and convince moderates with an anti-Trump message. Secondly, his potential opponents are less known among the GOP base and the general electorate, giving them the chance to improve their public image, a luxury that Trump does not have as a former president.
The NYT/Sienna poll shows that only 39% of American voters have either a very or somewhat favorable view of Donald Trump, while 57% of Americans have a negative view of the 45th U.S. President. Crucially, the negative opinions on Trump are solidly held by almost half of the electorate, as 49% of Americans have a very unfavorable view of Trump. As expected from a former President, almost all Americans have made up their minds about Trump and only 3% of respondents said they didn’t have either a favorable or unfavorable view of him.
Moreover, as a potential opponent of Trump, DeSantis has almost the same favorability ratings as the general public (34%), but awakens less passion against him than Trump as 39% have an unfavorable view of him. Most importantly, more than a quarter of respondents have no opinion on DeSantis, giving him room to shape public perceptions that Trump does not have.
While the NYT/Sienna polls give us some valuable insights on the state of the 2024 presidential election if the 2016 presidential election taught us something is that it is still too early to tell. Whether the 2024 primary contest will follow the same pattern as 2016 remains unknown, but the polls are starting to show that there will be a very interesting contest in a couple of years for both parties’ nomination