CNN’s data analyst dived into some polling for Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) to closely examine why the GOP presidential candidate isn’t connecting well with voters.
DeSantis spent over a month traveling the early primary states claiming to promote his new book. At the beginning of March, DeSantis was just 15 points down from Trump, according to FiveThirtyEight. After the tour, DeSantis is 30 points down.
Meanwhile, Trump was shoring up endorsements from Florida members of the U.S. Congress and local legislature under DeSantis’ feet. He was also poking DeSantis both personally and using his past votes to cut Social Security and Medicare.
“DeSantis has a bit of a ‘lovability’ problem among Republican voters,” the analysis explains.
Questions about “strongly favorable” or “very favorable” essentially chart candidates’ support among their most hardnosed Republican supporters. Donald Trump has a lot of those (50 percent), an April Fox News poll said. In Dec. 2022, the same poll showed DeSantis had 40 percent. Last month, he was at just 33 percent. Trump jumped seven points during that time.
“Republicans falling out of love with DeSantis could prove to be his downfall,” the analysis explained. It goes back to those overwhelmingly dedicated MAGA fans that cannot be persuaded to abandon him. While the Trump favorability numbers are low overall, the “very favorable” is higher than most other Republican challengers.
Another way to measure the enthusiasm gap is by looking at how satisfied voters would be with one nominee over the other.
The May ABC News/Washington Post poll shows 68 percent of Republicans would be satisfied if DeSantis were the nominee. Only 22 percent would be dissatisfied. They’re high numbers, but Trump’s are 76 percent satisfaction with 21 percent dissatisfied.
As mentioned above, those numbers aren’t going up for DeSantis the more he campaigns. They’re going down. The analysis cited the Dec. 2022 Monmouth University poll showing DeSantis at 79 percent satisfaction and 10 percent dissatisfied.
The numbers show that the Trump supporters have already chosen their side. He has 80 percent satisfaction support among Republican college graduates, but his non-college grad satisfaction rate dropped by 20 percent. Former Gov. Larry Hogan (R-MD) noticed the drop too, and said it could indicate DeSantis can be beaten.
His campaign slogan appears to be about what a “fighter” he is, but as his campaign kicked off, DeSantis said he wouldn’t respond to everything Trump said to insult him. However, the analyst explained that by the end of the week, DeSantis had started fighting back. The problem, the analyst suggested, is that attacking the party’s favorite guy might not be the best way to win them over.
It harkens back to the video of DeSantis trying to figure out how not to anger MAGA during his gubernatorial debate as Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) fiddled in the background.
It might have promoted his promise he’d consider pardoning Jan. 6 attackers and that he’d pardon Donald Trump for Jan. 6, if elected. However, he didn’t indicate whether he’d pardon Trump if he were convicted of espionage for the documents scandal.