Trump Widens His Lead
Author: Greg Valliere
March 8, 2023
THE MOST EYE-POPPING POLL comes from New Hampshire, where voters supposedly want to move on from Trump, favoring a fresh face like Gov. Ron DeSantis. But a new poll of likely Republican voters by Emerson College shows a huge lead for Trump in the state’s primary (which is less than a year away). Here are the poll results:
DONALD TRUMP LEADS WITH 58%, followed by Ron DeSantis at 17%, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu at 7%, Nikki Haley at 6%, Mike Pence at 4%, and a few others at 1 or 2%. Emerson is not an elite polling organization, but Trump with a 41% lead is astonishing. And the weak showing by media favorite Sununu may alter his thinking about 2024.
ANTHER STATE POLL, from Roanoke College in Virginia, shows Trump at 39%, DeSantis at 28%, and — surprisingly — Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin at only 6%. Other polls — nationwide and in key states — show Trump comfortably ahead for the nomination.
WHAT TO MAKE OF THIS? Needless to say, the Trump base is unshakeable and his challengers have made little progress. DeSantis has plenty of money and and a very ambitious agenda to push in Florida’s state legislature — but a perception is growing that he’s a quart low on charisma.
THESE POLLS DON’T MEAN Trump is the favorite to win the general election. Most surveys show him roughly tied with Joe Biden, but Biden has to worry about one very big negative — a majority of Democrats think he shouldn’t run again.
BIDEN MAY ANNOUNCE HIS CANDIDACY by May, and he’s considered the sure nominee against token opposition (unless Joe Manchin, itching to run, enters the race as a centrist, portraying Biden as too radical). Marianne Williamson will get plenty of attention if she’s the only Biden opponent, but neither she nor Republican Vivek Ramaswamy — both running as outsiders — have a chance to win the presidency.
IS THE 2024 RACE SHAPING UP as another Biden vs. Trump contest? If that looks
increasingly likely, could a third party challenger offer a real alternative? A third party would face huge logistical and financial challenges. Third parties have had very little success in the past century; the last third party candidate to win even one state was George Wallace in 1968.
BUT THE ONCE-UNTHINKABLE — another cringe-inducing race between the elderly Biden and Trump — could so turn off the electorate that a third party cannot be totally ruled out. What a plus that would be for Trump, with his 35%-40% base that will love him for ever.
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