With former President Donald Trump plotting his next move in Mar-a-Lago, the Republican Party back in Washington is left without a direction forward. While many have advised the party to move past Trump, the numbers show that most Republican voters remain hopeful Trump will return to the White House in four years.
Politico’s early-look at the 2024 primary poll shows Trump well ahead of other potential GOP candidates, receiving over 50%.
NEW: 2024 primary poll shows Trump dominating:
Donald Trump 53%
Mike Pence 12%
Donald Trump Jr. 6%
Nikki Haley 6%
Mitt Romney 4%
Ted Cruz 4%
Marco Rubio 2%
Mike Pompeo 2%
Josh Hawley 1%
Tom Cotton 1%
Tim Scott 1%
Kristi Noem 1%
Larry Hogan 1%
Rick Scott 0%https://t.co/zZhuv0pIac
— Ryan Lizza (@RyanLizza) February 16, 2021
Trump was expected to lead polling early, as his built-in base is stronger than any current politician and he just recorded over 74 million votes in the election. That said, should Republicans take back the White House in 2024, the party will need to perform better in states Trump lost to President Joe Biden, including Georgia and Arizona. Trump may be the current top choice among GOP voters, but there’s some doubt he’d be the best candidate to defeat Biden in a general election.
Looking over the rest of the list, there’s a chance, even a good one, the 2024 Republican nominee isn’t listed above. Ben Shapiro referred back to a similar early-look at the 2016 primary:
And here were the 2016 primary leaders as of December 2012, according to PPP:
So, um, yeah https://t.co/e78dVzLEan
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) February 16, 2021
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ omission is puzzling. If Trump isn’t the nominee, there could be a great divide among Republicans, with half wanting a candidate to continue Trump’s agenda and the other half wanting to turn the page. DeSantis, as of now, is most likely to appeal to both sides of the party. COVID hurt the image of many politicians — it cost Trump the election — but at least among Republicans, DeSantis’ handling of the virus has bolstered his national popularity.
Should DeSantis throw his hat in the race, he’d come in as an established name with more gravitas than, say, former Vice President Mike Pence.
Nikki Haley could be among the most aggressive candidates early, meaning her 6% could quickly move up or down.
As these polls and lists update, I predict that Missouri Senator Josh Hawley will move up. His 1% is low, especially since it ranks behind Mitt Romney, whom I don’t consider a viable candidate at this point.
The world could change a few different times between now and 2024, but if Trump runs in 2024 — I have some doubts he will — it will be an uphill battle for another Republican to take him down.