POLL: Midterm shakeup, DeSantis within 5% of Trump 

WASHINGTON D.C. – A survey of 1,019 likely Republican presidential primary voters – a much larger sample than many recent primary polls reported on in recent weeks – conducted by the international polling and predictive analytics firm Cygnal shows former President Donald Trump has slipped a few points on the presidential primary ballot while Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ image and ballot standing are on the rise.  

The nationwide Cygnal survey looked at top issues and potential GOP presidential candidates’ image with Republican voters, including 11 Republicans with national profiles. 

While Trump still leads the field, his lead has narrowed to 5% over DeSantis from a 19% lead in October. DeSantis has drawn equal to him in favorability, with 74% of GOP primary voters saying they have a favorable opinion of each. Trump leads the hypothetical ballot with 40% indicating they plan to vote for the former President.  

“While the 2024 race for the Republican nomination for president is a long way off, there has been a shift in momentum over the last several weeks,” stated Cygnal president and pollster Brent Buchanan. “Governor DeSantis’ rise has been fueled in part by the strengthening of his support among upper-education Republicans while President Trump retains better support among lower-education primary voters.” 

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (35%) and former Vice President Mike Pence (7%) are next behind Trump, followed by Senator Ted Cruz and Ambassador Nikki Haley. When Trump is excluded from the ballot, DeSantis jumps to 52%. Chris Christie is the least popular Republican tested.  

“There is a trend beginning to develop among age groups for the Republican Party—younger voters are staying with the former President while the older voting block is moving toward DeSantis, and middle-aged voters remain split between the two,” said Cygnal political strategist Mitchell Brown. 

In addition to DeSantis, Cygnal’s poll looked at three additional Republican governors, including Greg Abbott, Glenn Youngkin, and Brian Kemp. Behind DeSantis, Abbott’s image leads the gubernatorial pack, followed closely by Kemp and Youngkin.  

One thing GOP voters are clear about—their top concerns are pocketbook issues. Immigration is still a large issue for the oldest GOP voters, but 55% of respondents selected an economic issue on their top concern.  

Likely 2024 Republican primary election voters nationwide were interviewed between December 12 – 14, 2022. This survey has a sample size of n1019 and a MoE of ±3.07%.