In Tennessee – a deep-red state former President Donald Trump won in 2016 and 2020 – Gov. Ron DeSantis leads the former president in a hypothetical 2024 matchup among likely GOP primary voters.
Among registered Republicans, a Vanderbilt University poll found that DeSantis is leading Trump 54% to 41%. Despite being a rumored Republican front-runner in 2024, DeSantis has not announced he will run for president next cycle.
In the 2020 presidential election against President Joe Biden, Trump won the state with over 60% of the vote. The November 2022 Vanderbilt poll revealed that only 36% of Tennesseans want Trump to be the 2024 nominee.
Trump’s support for another White House bid decreased 8% since a December 2021 Vanderbilt Poll.
Trump’s support is strong (66%) among those who identify themselves as ‘MAGA Republicans,’ while DeSantis holds a lead of 66% support among non-MAGA Republicans.
‘Trump’s support has waned, but there’s still a clear path for Trump to win the nomination,’ said John Geer, co-director of the Vanderbilt survey. ‘The differences between MAGA Republicans and non-MAGA Republicans also pose a problem for Republicans as they try to govern over the next two years.’
‘I do think that this particular poll, unlike a lot of previous polls, speaks to some problems that are going on nationally,’ said Josh Clinton, a professor of political science, on the polling data. ‘Our results show that the Republican Party is clearly divided, and Republicans are trying to figure out who they are and which issues they want to prioritize.’
According to the poll, only 22% of respondents think President Joe Biden should run for re-election in 2024.
The Tennessee poll is not the only survey to show DeSantis leading Trump in a hypothetical GOP primary, after several released in the past month found the Florida governor as the top Republican pick for the nomination.
A Five Thirty Eight poll released Tuesday revealed that DeSantis led among top 2024 GOP contenders with 42% support, while only 24% are rooting for Trump to be the nominee. A national Suffolk University poll found that in a DeSantis-Trump matchup for the GOP nomination, the Florida governor lead 56%-33% among Republican voters. The Suffolk University poll had a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points.
The Variety poll was conducted from Nov. 8-28, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.