(The Center Square) – Former President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron Desantis are virtually tied with President Joe Biden in theoretical head-to-head matchups heading into the 2024 presidential campaign, according to new polling data.
The Center Square Voters’ Voices Poll, conducted in conjunction with Noble Predictive Insights, found that in a faceoff, Trump has 41% support compared to Biden’s 44% support, while 15% remain unsure.
DeSantis does slightly better, with 41% support to Biden’s 43% and 16% unsure.
The poll’s margin of error is 2.4%, making either matchup a relative toss-up 15 months out from the general election.
“What’s interesting about the hypothetical matchups between Trump and Biden or Biden versus DeSantis is that there is actually no real meaningful demographic or psychographic difference between the two Republicans,” Mike Noble, founder of Noble Predictive Insights, the group that conducted the poll, told The Center Square.
“The takeaway really is that [general election] voters see Trump and DeSantis interchangeably, and I don’t think that was really the case six months ago,” he added. “Voters are less seeing a difference between Trump and DeSantis.”
Noble said Desantis lost a “slight edge” of a 2 to 4 percentage-point lead over Biden in the past six months as Trump’s attacks on the Florida governor took effect. At the same time, the several recent indictments against Trump actually helped propel him with Republican voters.
This poll comes the same week that a Georgia grand jury indicted Trump for his alleged role in trying to overturn the 2020 presidential election. That indictment, Trump’s fourth, is the latest in a string of legal challenges that could weaken his support, turn his campaign season into a string of court dates, and possibly even put him in prison before the 2024 election.
“In the primary, shockingly enough, [the indictments] have caused a rally around the flag for Trump in the GOP because, with this many folks in the race, it is so hard to get traction,” Noble said. “Nikki Haley has been at 4% since she announced four months ago, and she is typically considered a credible candidate.”
Noble said the indictments have benefited Trump early in the primary campaign but are “likely to be a liability” in the general.
If Trump’s legal woes somehow end up sinking his chances, the polling shows DeSantis could perform just as well – or potentially better – against Biden.
As of now, according to the poll, Trump is dominating the Republican field with less than a week before the first GOP presidential primary debate, scheduled for Wednesday in Milwaukee.
The survey found that 53% of surveyed Republicans picked Trump, followed by 18% naming DeSantis. Former Vice President Mike Pence and entrepreneur and author Vivek Ramaswamy came in at third and fourth place with 7% and 6% support, respectively.
U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley tied for fifth place at 4% support each.
In a theoretical Republican primary head-to-head matchup where respondents are forced to pick between either Trump or DeSantis, 63% chose Trump and 37% chose DeSantis.
Male and female support for the respective Republican primary candidates largely follows the general population’s overall support. Trump has 53% support among men and women, and DeSantis has 18% support among each group as well.
Scott does better with men than women, earning 6% and 3% support, respectively. Haley does better with women than men, with 5% and 4% support in each category.
Pence does better with women as well, with 8% support compared to 5% support from men.
Ramaswamy performs better with men, earning 7% support compared to 4% support from women.
Trump’s support among Hispanic Republicans outpaces his support overall in the field of GOP primary candidates. The survey found that Trump has 62% support among Hispanics. DeSantis has 17% support among the same group.
Trump’s legal troubles have not hurt him as much as some may expect. Noble said that is likely because Biden’s own legal troubles have “muddied the waters.” An ongoing investigation into Biden and his son Hunter Biden has turned up more evidence to back up allegations that the Biden family and associates took about $20 million from overseas entities, even in adversarial countries like Russia and China.
“Trump’s number just hasn’t really moved very much in the general election because he is just so incredibly defined, and most folks have made up their opinion on him,” Noble said. “But what is interesting is that with the head-to-head matchup, why you are not seeing as much movement [is] because … Biden himself is running into some legal issues as well, and I think that’s muddying the waters in a general election matchup.”
The poll was conducted by Noble Predictive Insights from July 31 to Aug. 3. Unlike traditional national polls, with their limited respondent count of about 1,000, Noble Predictive surveyed 1,000 Republican registered voters, 1,000 Democratic voters, and 500 Independents, culminating in a comprehensive sample size of 2,500. The margin of error for the aggregate sample was ±2.4%, with each political group independently weighted. For more detailed insights and information about the methodology, please visit www.noblepredictiveinsights.com.