More Republicans have DeSantis as their second-choice candidate than as their first

Taylor OrthDirector of Survey Data Journalism
Carl BialikU.S. Politics Editor and Vice President of Data Science
July 13, 2023, 9:35 PM GMT+0

New polling from the Economist/YouGov finds that Republicans and Republican-leaning Independents continue to prefer former President Donald Trump over other presidential candidates by wide margins. Trump leads Florida Governor Ron DeSantis by 29 percentage points, 49% to 20%. Each of the other announced candidates has support from no more than 6% of Republicans and Republican-leaning Independents (Mike Pence is in third place with 6%).

The two leading candidates' supporters often back the other as their second choice: 48% of Republicans and Republican-leaning Independents who prefer Trump name DeSantis as their second choice, while 34% of those who prefer DeSantis say Trump is their second choice. Overall, Trump is the first or second choice of 60%; DeSantis, of 55%. Pence is a distant third, the first or second choice of just 14%.

Among the electorate overall, the poll demonstrates how close American political divisions are when it comes to the presidency. As many registered voters say they prefer that a Democrat be elected president in 2024 (41%) as say they prefer a Republican be elected (41%). While 89% of Democrats prefer to support a Democratic candidate, 92% of Republicans prefer a Republican. When registered voters choose between the 2020 election's candidates — Democratic President Joe Biden and Republican former President Donald Trump — Trump and Biden each get support from 42%.

Republicans say they are happier with a Trump candidacy than Democrats say they are about a Biden re-election campaign. Six in ten Republicans (60%) say they want Trump to run again; just 44% of Democrats want Biden to run again — even though, as mentioned, 89% of Democrats say they would vote for Biden against Trump. A majority of Republicans (55%) believe Trump would be their party's strongest nominee, while only 39% of Democrats say that Biden would be their party’s strongest candidate.

See the toplines and crosstabs from the Economist/YouGov poll conducted on July 8 - 11, 2023 among 1,500 U.S. adult citizens.

Methodology: Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel using sample matching. A random sample (stratified by gender, age, race, education, geographic region, and voter registration) was selected from the 2019 American Community Survey. The sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, education, 2020 election turnout and presidential vote, baseline party identification, and current voter registration status. Demographic weighting targets come from the 2019 American Community Survey. Baseline party identification is the respondent’s most recent answer given prior to November 1, 2022, and is weighted to the estimated distribution at that time (33% Democratic, 31% Republican). The margin of error for the overall sample is approximately 3%.

Image: Getty (Octavio Jones / Stringer)