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EAGLE PASS, TEXAS - JUNE 26: Republican presidential candidate, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during a press conference on the banks of the Rio Grande on June 26, 2023 in Eagle Pass, Texas. Gov. DeSantis visited the border along the Rio Grande and engaged residents and voters while speaking on border security at an event earlier in the day. (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in Eagle Pass, Texas, on Monday.Brandon Bell / Getty Images

DeSantis dismisses poll struggles, says 'this is a marathon'

DeSantis was asked about a recent NBC News poll showing him trailing Trump and said the key will be support in swing states.

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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis dismissed his struggles in a new national NBC News poll, which shows him trailing former President Donald Trump for the GOP nomination.

The survey finds DeSantis losing support among GOP primary voters, and Trump expanding his lead with support from 51% of primary voters. DeSantis has support from 22% of voters surveyed, down from 31% in April.

"I think if you [at] look the swing states, [President Joe] Biden beats Trump in the swing states and I beat Biden handily in the swing states — that’s ultimately the election right there," DeSantis told NBC News as he visited the southern border in Eagle Pass, Texas.

DeSantis noted the GOP nominee has to win swing states, name-checking Georgia, Arizona, Florida, Texas and Wisconsin.

"If you don’t have a path to do that, then nominating doesn’t make sense," DeSantis said.

"I’ve grown to think at the end of the day, you know, this is a marathon, not a sprint," DeSantis later added. "We’re doing everything we need to do in these early states."

The NBC News survey did find DeSantis performing slightly better than Trump in a hypothetical matchup with Biden, but both contenders were inside the margin of error in match-ups against the president. Voters in swing states also did voice more support for DeSantis in a matchup against Biden, with 50% preferring DeSantis in that scenario, versus 46% preferring Trump. The margin of error for the swing state voters was plus or minus 6 percentage points.

DeSantis said that the primary is currently "a two-man race" between himself and Trump, adding that his campaign is in the process of educating voters about his candidacy.

"But I think the most important thing for Republican primary voters is okay, you got to win," DeSantis said. "If you don’t win, it doesn’t matter. And then once you win, who has the record of delivering? And I think we did that in Florida is good as anybody."