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Poll shows Trump leading Biden, Harris

By Sarah May
|
February 18, 2023

In news certain to bolster the spirits of all those involved in former President Donald Trump's 2024 campaign, a new Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll published Friday shows him leading President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris in hypothetical contests, as The Hill reports.

The survey, released exclusively to the outlet, was conducted between Feb. 15 and 16 and involved a pool of 1,838 registered voters.

Trump in the lead

According to the poll, 46% of respondents indicated that they would cast their ballot for Trump, rather than Biden if the election happened today, whereas 41% of participants said that the current president would get their vote.

Notably, 13% of those asked said they were unsure of which way they would lean, an indication that much can still change as the election season grows closer.

Harris fared a bit worse than Biden when she was the focus of the inquiry, with 49%y of respondents declaring that they would opt for Trump in such a match-up and 39% saying they would select the current vice president as their choice in 2024.

As was the case with the hypothetical Trump—Biden rematch, 13% of participants said they were unsure of which candidate would receive their support.

Crowded GOP field

The poll's good news for Trump went beyond the aforementioned hypothetical races, as he also performed well in potential primary scenarios against what is expected to be a crowded Republican field.

In an eight-way primary scenario, Trump pulled 37% of respondents' support, with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis coming in at a rather distant 19%.

Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, who formally announced her candidacy just days ago, garnered just 7%.

As The Hill noted, Haley's showing was an improvement from the 3% support she registered in the January iteration of the Harvard CAPS-Harris survey.

Shifting sentiments

The level of support for Trump revealed by the Harvard CAPS-Harris poll changed little between January and February, with the former commander in chief having pulled 48% in last month's survey, as The Hill noted at the time.

DeSantis, however, took 28% of respondents' support back in January, and as such, his February performance marks a potentially noteworthy slide.

Last month's survey put former Vice President Mike Pence – who has not thrown his hat into the ring for 2024 – at 7% support and showed Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Haley at 3%, respectively.

Last month's poll also put Trump significantly ahead of DeSantis in a head-to-head race between the two of them, with 55% of Republican voters backing the former president and just 45% supporting the governor.

Quinnipiac's take

A Quinnipiac University Poll of Republican and Republican-leaning voters conducted between Feb. 9 and 14 showed a somewhat narrower margin standing between Trump and DeSantis among a 14-candidate field, with the former commander in chief taking 42% of respondents' support and Florida's chief executive taking 36%

The poll also revealed that when a hypothetical GOP primary match-up shrinks to include just four candidates however, the race is a virtual dead heat, with Trump taking 43% and the DeSantis pulling 41%.

With many wondering which Republican candidate stands the best chance of defeating Biden, Quinnipiac found little difference between the top two GOP contenders, with Trump pulling 46% against Biden's 48%, and DeSantis taking 47% against Biden's 46%, representing a veritable toss-up in both instances.

With a host of expected – yet still unannounced – Republican candidates waiting in the wings, and a long time to go before the primary season begins in earnest, it is clear that while much can still change in the presidential stakes, front runner status appears to have been preliminarily conferred on two hopefuls.