A recent poll conducted by ACNN-University of New Hampshire has delivered some surprising results for the 2024 Republican presidential candidates. Ron DeSantis, who was initially considered a strong contender, finds himself in fifth place, facing an uphill battle. While some candidates, including tech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, have made significant gains, they still fall short of posing a serious threat to former President Donald Trump, who remains the frontrunner with 39% support among likely GOP primary voters.
The poll, released on Wednesday, shows DeSantis’s popularity plummeting by 13 points compared to a survey conducted in July. He now stands at 10% support, trailing behind Ramaswamy at 13% and Haley at 12%, with former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie securing 11%.
This decline marks another setback for DeSantis, who launched his presidential campaign in May with initial hopes of challenging Trump’s dominance within the party. However, his campaign has been beset by difficulties, including the dismissal of several campaign staffers due to financial troubles and lackluster poll numbers. Wealthy donors have publicly expressed reluctance to back DeSantis’s presidential ambitions, further complicating his bid.
Billionaire Ken Griffin, a previous contributor of $5 million to a political action committee supporting DeSantis’s gubernatorial reelection, expressed uncertainty about the governor’s strategy, questioning which voter base he intended to appeal to. This sentiment has been echoed by other donors and political strategists. DeSantis has focused much of his campaign efforts on promoting extreme positions, such as advocating for book bans and strict abortion policies. Additionally, his prolonged feud with Walt Disney World has alienated some potential supporters.
Critics have also accused the DeSantis campaign of being overly focused on online strategies, using memes and ads that have occasionally stirred controversy, such as an anti-LGBTQ+ ad that attacked Trump for celebrating Pride Month. These tactics appear to have reached only a narrow audience, limiting their impact.
In contrast to DeSantis’s decline, Ramaswamy, Haley, and Christie have experienced significant improvements in their poll numbers in recent weeks. Ramaswamy, known for his far-right views and opposition to companies engaging in social causes, has criticized issues like critical race theory, self-victimization, and climate change mitigation efforts.
Haley, on the other hand, has stood out among Republicans by openly criticizing Trump, describing him as “the most disliked politician in America.” She has advocated for a new generational conservative leader, highlighting the need to move beyond a Trump-centric approach to secure victory in the general election.
All candidates, except for Trump, are expected to participate in the upcoming second Republican primary debate scheduled for September 27th at 9 p.m. ET. As the race unfolds, it remains to be seen whether DeSantis can reverse his downward trajectory and regain his position as a serious contender for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.