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Ron DeSantis and Donald Trump at a campaign rally in Pensacola, Fla.
Ron DeSantis and Donald Trump at a campaign rally in Pensacola, Fla., on Nov. 3, 2018. Mark Wallheiser / Getty Images file

New poll shows GOP's divide between Trump and DeSantis

Trump and DeSantis win the lion's share of the vote in the primary field, but perform better among different groups of GOP voters.


A new national Quinnipiac University poll shows some striking fault lines emerging in the still-early 2024 Republican presidential race.

Former President Donald Trump is dominating the GOP field among strong Republicans, those who are “very” conservative and whites without college degrees, while Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (who has yet to announce a bid) has healthy leads among Republican leaners and whites who hold college degrees. 

Overall, in a potential 14-candidate field, Trump is the choice of 42% of Republicans and Republican leaners; DeSantis gets 36%; newly minted GOP candidate Nikki Haley gets 5%; and former VP Mike Pence and former Trump Secretary of State Mike Pompeo each get 4%.

No other Republican get more than 2%. 

But it’s the stark GOP divides in GOP support between Trump and DeSantis that stand out in the poll.

Among just self-identified Republicans, Trump gets 48% versus 31% for DeSantis. Among those who lean Republican, however, DeSantis leads Trump 50%-24%. 

Among very conservative Republicans, it’s Trump 53%, DeSantis 36%. Among “somewhat” conservative Republicans, it’s closer — Trump 41%, DeSantis 38%. 

And among white Republicans with four-year college degrees, DeSantis is ahead of Trump, 51%-22%. But among those without college degrees, it’s Trump 45%, DeSantis 35%. 

The Quinnipiac poll also finds Trump and President Joe Biden neck-and-neck in a hypothetical general-election matchup, with Biden getting support from 48% of all registered voters, while Trump gets 46%. 

(Note: In the 2020 presidential election, Biden got 51.3% of the popular vote to Trump’s 46.8%, and the expectation is that Democratic nominee will need to win the popular vote by at least 5 percentage points to be able to win the Electoral College in 2024.)

When Biden was matched up against DeSantis, it was DeSantis 47%, Biden 46%. 

Biden’s approval rating in the poll is 40% among registered voters and 40% among all adults.

The Quinnipiac poll was conducted Feb. 9-14 of 1,580 adults (which has a margin of error of plus-minus 2.5 percentage points), 1,429 registered voters (plus-minus 2.6 percentage points) and 592 Republican and Republican-leaning voters (plus-minus 4.0 percentage points).