MONTGOMERY, Ala. – A recent poll of Alabama Republican Primary voters shows Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis leading former President Donald Trump by almost 20 points in a hypothetical matchup for the GOP presidential nomination in 2024.
A full 50% of those surveyed said they would either definitely or probably vote for DeSantis, while just 31% said they would definitely or probably vote for Trump. Among those who remain undecided, 3% lean toward DeSantis, 4% lean toward Trump and 9% are firmly unsure.
The survey was conducted by Public Opinion Strategies on behalf of Alabama Families for Great Schools, a non-profit organization that advocates for charter schools. The poll surveyed 500 GOP Primary voters via landlines and cell phones January 14-16 and has a margin of error of +/-4.38%.
Alabama Daily News reported the results of the education-oriented questions on Sunday, but the poll also included questions about the broader political landscape.
The Trump/DeSantis numbers are the latest evidence of the former president’s eroding support among Republicans since the party experienced a disappointing midterm election with several Trump-picked candidates falling short in swing states. In a late October survey conducted by Cygnal on behalf of Alabama Daily News, Trump led DeSantis 49.6% to 35.7% among Alabama GOP primary voters, with several other possible candidates registering in the low single digits. When Trump was removed as a possible candidate in that poll, DeSantis ran away with the field with 71.2% of the vote.
Alabama isn’t the only state where Trump support is hollowing out. Last week, a University of New Hampshire poll showed DeSantis leading Trump 42% to 30% among Republican voters in the Granite State. And a South Carolina Policy Center survey of Republican voters showed DeSantis leading Trump 52% to 33% in a head-to-head match-up. Both New Hampshire and South Carolina are key early presidential primary states.
One big caveat to these latest Trump/DeSantis numbers is that the matchup was head-to-head. It did not include any other potential candidates, including those like former Vice President Mike Pence, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, each of whom is said to be considering a bid. And yet, going back to that Cygnal poll in late October, those candidates barely registered in a ballot test and their combined score was barely even with “unsure.”
It is also interesting to see some of the ideological and demographic breakdowns of the Trump/DeSantis contest. DeSantis actually wins with every ideological position identified in the survey, but does best with “very conservative” voters and worse with those identifying as “moderate or liberal.” And when it comes to education, Trump and DeSantis are almost tied among those who did not complete college, but the Florida governor has a 42 point advantage over those with a college degree. See the helpful graphic from Public Opinion Strategies courtesy of Alabama Families for Great Schools below.