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New poll shows DeSantis beating Trump as race narrows

 February 7, 2023

In much of the polling ahead of the 2024 Republican primary, it has been made clear that former President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis are far and away the top two contenders for the GOP's presidential nomination.

According to a recent poll conducted on behalf of the conservative Club for Growth, DeSantis would defeat Trump for the nomination in a head-to-head matchup between the pair, U.S. News reported.

However, in the event that there is a crowded field of candidates, the former president would narrowly edge out the Florida governor to be named as the Republican Party's pick in 2024.

Trump vs. DeSantis vs. the field

In the aforementioned one-on-one battle between DeSantis and Trump, DeSantis held a nine-point lead over Trump, 49-40 percent, with 11 percent undecided.

In the crowded field, however, Trump would best DeSantis by three points, 37-34 percent, with 14 percent undecided and the remainder scattered among five other likely candidates.

CBS News reported that the Club for Growth's poll was conducted between Jan. 17-23 and surveyed 3,015 likely Republican voters with a margin of error of around 1.8 percent.

The other candidates in the crowded GOP field scenario included former Vice President Mike Pence, former South Carolina governor and United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin.

Of those polled in that scenario who weren't undecided or supportive of either Trump or DeSantis, 7 percent favored Pence, 5 percent backed Haley, 2 percent sided with Scott, and 1 percent each went for Pompeo and Youngkin.

Club for Growth will support whoever wins the GOP nomination

Interestingly enough, according to The Hill, the pollsters also found a noticeable differentiation in the ideology of those who registered their support for either Trump or DeSantis.

Among those who identified as "very conservative," 52 percent sided with the former president, while among those who identified as only "somewhat conservative" or "moderate/liberal," the governor garnered the backing of 56 percent.

"What the club believes the Republican Party should do is make sure whoever we nominate will actually win," Club for Growth President David McIntosh said in a statement about the poll results, per The Hill. "The party should be open to looking at a different candidate. DeSantis is in the strongest position."

McIntosh was quick to note that the Club, despite recent clashes with the former president, would not be considered "NeverTrump" in its stance ahead of the next election and added of Trump that "if he gets the nomination, we’ll help him try to win. But the last three elections show that he’s lost."

CBS News reported that McIntosh further told reporters on Monday that "Trump still has a very strong pull" with the Republican base of voters, and that "If you have a diverse field against him, DeSantis lags behind him," though the Florida governor is nonetheless in a "good starting place."

Club for Growth snubs Trump for candidate retreat, Trump reacts predictably

Meanwhile, U.S. News reported that all of the likely Republican candidates included in the poll had been invited to a Club for Growth-sponsored retreat next month, albeit with one rather significant exception – former President Trump.

That is undoubtedly due to the very public falling out over the past several months between the Club and Trump, largely due to differences over the 2022 midterm elections and, perhaps unsurprisingly, the fiery former president took to social media to express his displeasure at the obvious snub.

In a Tuesday afternoon post to his Truth Social account, Trump wrote, "The Club For NO Growth, an assemblage of political misfits, globalists, and losers, fought me incessantly and rather viciously during my presidential run in 2016."

"They said I couldn’t win, I did, and won even bigger in 2020, with millions of more votes than ‘16, but the Election was Rigged & Stollen. They asked to get together on Endorsements of candidates, we did, and had MANY WINS & NO losses," he added. "Relationship broke up over my Endorsement of certain great people in Alabama & Ohio. I won them all!"