Roughly half of GOP voters would “absolutely” vote for former President Donald Trump in a Republican primary and more than a third would back Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis if the ex-president takes a pass in 2024, according to a poll released Wednesday.
Convention of States Action and pollsters from the right-leaning Trafalgar Group said 49% would certainly back Mr. Trump and another 12% would likely do so, while a fifth was very unlikely to support the Republican who’s spent the past few months insisting the 2020 contest was stolen from him.
If Mr. Trump doesn’t run, then 35% would back Mr. DeSantis, who’s maintained a high profile amid the pandemic response and debates over voting rights.
Pollsters said 15% would support Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, while 10% back former Vice President Mike Pence, 10% like Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah and 6% would support former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley.
Voters described as “pro-Trump Republicans” are particularly keen on Mr. DeSantis if Mr. Trump stays out, with nearly 48% backing him compared to 20% for Mr. Cruz, in second place.
“Republican voters clearly support anti-establishment candidates and a Trump run in 2024. If President Trump doesn’t run, voters widely prefer Gov. Ron DeSantis. Both men represent a return to constitutional principles, common sense leadership, and the courage to stand against Washington, D.C.,” said Mark Meckler, president of Convention of States Action, a nonprofit project that seeks to place checks on federal power. “In contrast, there is little support for the inside-the-Beltway Republicans who are providing tepid opposition to Biden’s far-left agenda.”
Among “anti-Trump” voters, Mr. Romney of Utah fares the best. More than a third, or 36%, would back him in 2024 while about 7% like Ms. Haley and 4% like Mr. DeSantis, with Mr. Pence and Mr. Cruz each grabbing 5.6%.
The poll says Americans are evenly split over President Biden’s performance, with 48.3% approving while 47.5% disapprove.
Democrats strongly support a reelection bid by Mr. Biden.
Nearly 37% would absolutely vote for him and another 21% would likely vote for him compared to 17% who are “very unlikely” to back him.
If Mr. Biden, who is 78 years old, did not seek reelection, then Vice President Kamala Harris is the clear favorite at 41% compared to 9% for Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, 8% for Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, 5% for Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and 4% for former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas.