- The Washington Times - Monday, February 27, 2023

Former President Donald Trump has a 15-percentage-point lead on Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in a new survey that takes stock of the potential GOP primary field one year before the 2024 presidential contests begin.

Mr. Trump topped a list of 15 potential Republican contenders, at 43%, while Mr. DeSantis, who hasn’t formally announced a bid, has a firm grip on second place, with 28%, according to the Fox News national survey.

Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who recently jumped into the race, received 7%, putting her even with former Vice President Mike Pence, who is touring the country and promoting a book ahead of a possible 2024 bid.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and former Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming each received 2%, while all other contenders received less than 1%.

Mr. Trump does well across the board among GOP primary voters, particularly those without a college degree. Mr. DeSantis performed well with voters who hold a college degree and those who say President Biden was legitimately elected.

“DeSantis needs Trump to falter because most of the former president’s supporters see the Florida governor as the second-best choice. At the same time, other candidates need DeSantis to falter because his supporters have no single fallback option and would be up for grabs should he flame out,” Daron Shaw, a Republican who performed the survey with Democrat Chris Anderson, told Fox News.

Mr. Trump is ahead of Mrs. Haley, 66% to 24%, in a head-to-head between the two candidates who have formally launched their campaigns. Business entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy also launched a GOP bid, but he announced it mid-survey.

On the Democratic side, 37% of primary voters want Mr. Biden, 80, to run again, while 53% would like someone else. At the same time, 84% of Democratic primary voters approve of Mr. Biden’s performance.

The survey also found that 77% of voters favor mental competency tests for politicians over age 75.

Ms. Haley, who is 51, proposed the tests during the early days of her campaign — an apparent shot at Mr. Biden and Mr. Trump, who is 76.

Millennials (83%) and Generation Xers (84%) are more likely to want the tests than baby boomers (66%). Also, Republicans (87%) and independents (74%) are more likely to favor them than Democrats (67%).

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

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