2024 Republican Favorites
Early polls for 2024 reveal who Republics see as favorites for presidential candidates. The favorite candidate is likely not a surprise – but behind him are a few newcomers whose names might not have been expected.
At the top of the list is Donald Trump. While Trump’s candidacy is not a guarantee, he is the favorite for a GOP primary candidate. He spoke at CPAC and hinted at a possible run by saying that in 2024 “a Republican president will make a triumphant return to the White House. I wonder who that will be?" He continued on, teasing the crowd and referencing his calls of a stolen election saying "who knows … I may even decide to beat them for a third time."
Straw polls taken at CPAC show overwhelming support for Trump and his policy during his time in office, 97% of people asked said they approved of the work he had done, and 95% said they wanted that work to be continued, whether or not he was at the helm of it. While 68% still said they would like to see him run again in 2024. Another poll held by Tony Fabrizio, veteran Republican pollster, showed that more than half of Republicans would choose Trump if the primary was held today.
Other pollsters feel the same way. "I think the elephant in the room is obviously Donald Trump," veteran GOP pollster Neil Newhouse told Fox News. "If the election were held today and if he wants the nomination, he’d be the odds on favorite" from the politicians and general Republican party voters alike.
Beyond Trump, there are a few new favorites, spurred on by the conservatives' battle of ideologies taking place after Trump’s exit. Many can be expected to try their hand at a presidential run in the new GOP. The top two for now, however, seem to be former Vice President Mike Pence and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. Should Trump choose to enter the race, though, his task of winning the nomination does not appear like it will be difficult, especially if a large number of candidates join the pool with him.
Fabrizio’s poll responses under the category “2024 GOP Presidential Ballot Without Trump” reveals Ted Cruz coming in third place with 13% of voters pulling for him – even after his state’s power grid fiasco. Another surprising response was Nikki Haley polling fourth, although with only 8% of that vote that is an unlikely choice. 14 other names appeared on the ballot, all with 5% interest or less, and at the time of questioning 20% of those asked remained undecided.
Pence topping the list comes as somewhat of a surprise since so many Republicans were displeased with his actions as Vice President, often suggesting his actions were a direct betrayal to President Trump. The concept that supporters of one president would turn to their former vice president is not all unusual, as we can see with our current president who originally served as vice president for Obama.
Ron DeSantis coming in second to Pence also raises some questions, at least momentarily. Since he is currently serving his first term as governor, the limited political experience is generally something that holds a potential candidate back. Yet, his name carries clout, as it has regularly surfaced in the media throughout the covid-19 pandemic. The opposition may say DeSantis is praised for the wrong reasons, but in the case of a relatively new politician, the old adage comes into play: all press is good press.
DeSantis was regularly under fire for how his state handled the pandemic. Democrats believed that Florida needed more restrictions and limitations, which is something the governor was not willing to put into place. His Republican following is in favor of state standards which he has used to his advantage. Furthermore, CPAC was held in his home state, allowing him to put more focus on himself. Perhaps his most important piece of leverage, however, is that he is believed to be one of Trump’s favorite Republicans.
Governor DeSantis’ ideals seem to be drawing fondness from within and outside of his home state. His election campaign raised $2.7 in Florida in February alone, while he has also received more than half a million dollars in donations in support of his 2022 governor re-election efforts from out-of-state donors.