A majority of Republican voters think that former President Donald Trump gives their party its most formidable challenge to President Joe Biden, according to a new Monmouth University poll that shows Trump continuing to consolidate support for his party's presidential nomination.
When GOP voters are asked who their strongest nominee would be for president to run against Biden, 45% said "definitely" Trump and another 18% said "probably" Trump, while 19% said "probably" another candidate and 13% said "definitely" another candidate. And that feeling isn't just shared by those who said they want Trump to be the party's presidential nominee, as 39% of Republican voters who said they wanted to see a different candidate as nominee still said Trump is either "definitely" or "probably" their party's strongest candidate to defeat Biden.
“If your main argument to Republican voters is that Trump wouldn’t be the party’s strongest nominee, you’ve got a heck of a challenge ahead of you,” Patrick Murray, the Monmouth University Polling Institute's director, said in a statement alongside the release of the new numbers.
" If your message to voters who support Trump is he cannot win, you are going to hit a brick wall. Even if you eat into the group who thinks he is only ‘probably’ the strongest candidate, you may still not capture enough of the Republican electorate to overcome Trump’s hardcore base support.”
Trump secures 43% support from Republican voters on an open-ended ballot test for the GOP nomination (where respondents were not bounded by a list of candidates and could instead volunteer which candidate they support). That's virtually unchanged from Trump's 41% in Monmouth's March poll, but up from 33% in February.
Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis is the only other candidate in double digits, with 19% support (down from 27% in March and 33% in February). Former Vice President Mike Pence and South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott are both at 3%, followed by former Ambassador Nikki Haley, businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul all tied at 1% (the latter two have not signaled any intention to run for president). Five percent picked another candidate and 23% say they still don't know who they want to support.
And Trump continues to consolidate a hypothetical one-on-one race against DeSantis. While Monmouth polling from March found them virtually tied, Trump leads DeSantis here 56% to 35%.
Trump still holds an overwhelmingly high favorability rating within the party -- 77% of Republican voters view him favorably, compared to 17% who view him unfavorably -- but that image rating is largely matched by DeSantis, who sports a favorability rating of 73% and an unfavorable rating of just 12%.
Monmouth University polled 655 registered voters "who identify with or lean toward the Republican Party" on a mix of cell phone, landline telephone and text-to-web from May 18-24. The error margin is +/- 5.5%.