UNF 2024 poll: Trump has overwhelming support among Florida Republican voters

Published on November 7, 2023 at 9:17 am

A new poll from the University of North Florida’s Public Opinion Research Lab of likely Republican primary voters across Florida found that, given a list of possible candidates, 60% would vote for Donald Trump in 2024.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis trailed in a distant second place, with 21%; Nikki Haley came in third with 6%; Chris Christie with 2%; and Vivek Ramaswamy with 1%. The remaining candidates each received less than 1%. About 8% of respondents said they do not know or refused to answer.

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When asked to choose between DeSantis and Trump in a hypothetical head-to-head race, 59% of respondents said they would vote for Trump, with 29% for DeSantis, and 12% who don’t know or refused.

“Despite historically high approval in the polls, Governor DeSantis losing steam in his home state doesn’t bode well for his national campaign,” said Michael Binder, PORL faculty director and professor of political science. “Even if you wipe out the rest of the competition in a head-to-head, Trump leads DeSantis by 20 points.”

Respondents were also asked their opinions about former President Trump’s actions after the 2020 election. About 71% said the statement, “He was just exercising his right to contest the election,” was the closest to their view. Conversely, 16% said they aligned more with “He went so far that he threatened American democracy.”

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“Given the support for Trump in the upcoming election, it’s not surprising that most of these voters think he was within his rights to contest the election,” said Binder in a news release. “Interestingly, the 16% who think he threatened democracy tend to favor DeSantis narrowly over Nikki Haley.”

In addition to the presidential election, respondents were asked about their preferences in the 2026 Florida gubernatorial election. A large portion (40%) said they do not know who they would vote for or refused to answer. More than 1-in-5, 22% of respondents indicated a vote for Florida First Lady Casey DeSantis, followed by 9% each for Congressmen Byron Donalds and Matt Gaetz.

“We’re obviously still a ways out from the Governor’s race, and this pool of candidates will certainly change before 2026,” commented Binder. “For now, it seems Florida’s First Lady Casey DeSantis is an early favorite among Republican primary voters – wouldn’t that be interesting, potentially having the DeSantises in the governor’s mansion for another 11 years.”

When asked about the effect of a potential endorsement from Ron DeSantis, 37% of respondents said an endorsement would influence their vote choice for Florida governor a great deal. Thirty-one percent said an endorsement would influence their choice some, 10% said very little, and 18% not at all.

In another set of questions, respondents were asked their opinions about the U.S. House of Representatives and the recent removal of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. Just 8% said they have a great deal of trust in the House, with 31% indicating some trust. Thirty-eight percent of respondents said they have very little trust in the U.S. House of Representatives, and 20% said they have no trust at all.

When asked how the speaker’s removal affects their trust in the House, 49% said there was no change, 27% said it decreased trust, and 16% said it increased. Similarly, when asked how the speaker’s removal affects their approval of the Republican Party, 48% said their approval did not change, 29% said their approval decreased, 16% said it increased after McCarthy’s removal.

“Most of these respondents have little to no trust in the U.S. House of Representatives,” said Binder. “While a little less than half said McCarthy’s ousting didn’t affect their opinions of the House or the Party, the situation in Congress seems to have made a bad impression on about a third of likely Republican voters.”

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