The former president leads DeSantis by more than 50 points among Latinos in Texas, according to a recent poll. He consolidates his place to secure the Republican nomination.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is now officially running for president, but in delegate rich Texas DeSantis trails former president Donald Trump by a large margin and has his work cut out for him if he is to close the gap over the next nine months before voting in the 2024 Republican presidential primary takes place in Texas.
On March 5, 2024, Texas Republican primary voters will cast a ballot for a list of delegates supporting one of several Republican presidential candidates. After California, with 169 delegates, Texas provides the second largest block of delegates (162) to the July 2024 Republican National Convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where the Republican Party's 2024 presidential nominee will be selected. Texas has more than double the number of delegates of all of the 55 other states and territories which send delegates to the Republican Convention except Florida (125) and New York (91), and more than triple the number of delegates of all but nine other states.
While there are close to a dozen Republicans already running or seriously contemplating a presidential bid, only two are considered viable at the present time: Trump and DeSantis. In a Texas Hispanic Policy Foundation survey conducted among Texas Republican primary voters during the first quincena de Mayo, Trump led DeSantis in a hypothetical two-candidate faceoff by 21 percentage points, 57% to 36%, with 7% of Republican primary voters still undecided and 2% saying they would abstain from voting if their only two options were Trump and DeSantis.
In the survey, Trump bested DeSantis among every noteworthy demographic group within the Texas Republican Party primary electorate. White Texans (75% of Texas Republican primary voters) back Trump over DeSantis by a 55% to 36% margin while Latino Texans (20% of Texas Republican primary voters) back Trump over DeSantis by a 74% to 21% margin. Trump enjoys a similar advantage over DeSantis among men (56% to 37%) and women (57% vs. 34%) as well as among the oldest Republican primary voters ages 60 and older (45% of GOP primary voters) and the youngest Republican primary voters who are under the age of 40 (30% of GOP primary voters). And, while Trump leads DeSantis in all regions of the state, his greatest advantage is along the U.S.-Mexico border where 81% of Republican primary voters say they intend to vote for Trump compared to only 11% for DeSantis.
And, if Trump's Republican opponents thought his legal troubles would undermine his standing among Republican primary voters, they were mistaken. When asked about the impact of Trump's indictment in New York in the "Stormy Daniels Case", 47% of Republican primary voters say they are now more likely to vote for Trump than before the indictment, compared to only 12% who are now less likely to vote for the former president. The remaining 41% are neither more nor less likely to vote for Trump following the indictment.
The survey also presented Texas Republican primary voters with a list of potential Republican presidential candidates, and asked them if the person was someone that they definitely would vote for, might consider voting for, never would vote for, or about whom they did not know enough to have an opinion. Both Trump and DeSantis are very well-known figures among Texas Republican primary voters, with only 2% and 6% not knowing enough about Trump and DeSantis respectively to have an opinion about them.
More than one-half (57%) of Republican primary voters say they would definitely vote for Trump compared to 42% who say they would definitely vote for DeSantis. Another 30% and 41% indicate they might consider voting for Trump and DeSantis respectively. Overall, the two candidates' floors (definitely vote for) and ceilings (definitely vote for plus might consider voting for) are: Trump (floor of 57% and ceiling of 87%) and DeSantis (floor of 42% and ceiling of 83%).
A mere one in ten (11%) Texas Republican primary voters say they would never vote for Trump, with the same proportion (11%) saying they would never vote for DeSantis. In contrast, nearly one-half (45%) of Texas Republican primary voters say they would never vote for former vice president Mike Pence, who has a floor of 13% and a ceiling of 48%.
Donald Trump is el preferido of Texas Republican primary voters. Ron DeSantis is also well-liked by Texas Republicans, but if these GOP primary voters are forced to choose between the two of them, substantially more at the present time would vote for Trump rather than DeSantis. If DeSantis wants to defeat Trump in the country's largest and most important red state on March 5, 2024, he will need to work very hard to convince Republican primary voters why he should earn their vote rather than Trump. Texans should therefore expect to see quite a bit of DeSantis between now and March, both on the border but also throughout the state in cities and towns both large and small.
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