Ron DeSantis has struggled in public polling of the 2024 Republican presidential race of late, but a recent straw poll went his way.
In Virginia, the Florida Governor won the Prince William County GOP straw poll, held at the annual Lincoln-Reagan Dinner in Woodbridge.
The news was first reported by the local Prince William Times.
Though exact numbers in the survey were unavailable, DeSantis scored a “close” victory over former President Donald Trump, who has seen a boost in recent public polling of the race as Republican voters have rallied to him in the wake of his indictment in New York City. Trump faces 34 felony counts for what DeSantis himself has called “porn star hush money” payments.
Others, including favorite son candidate Glenn Youngkin, who leads Virginia, and former United Nations envoy Nikki Haley, were far behind the top two in the poll of 250 Republican regulars at the Saturday soiree.
“Prince William Republican Committee Chair Denny Daugherty said his committee included 12 potential presidential candidates in their straw poll who are ‘widely reported to be interested’ in getting the Republican nomination for President in 2024,” the Prince William Times report asserted.
“It seems to confirm that at this stage, it’s pretty much a two-candidate race,” Daugherty said.
The Chair added that DeSantis’ victory was due to his “success with the Florida economy and government, and winning a landslide re-election last year.”
Meanwhile, Trump was boosted by “by the fact that he’s being treated badly by the prosecutor in New York and in several other jurisdictions” and “constantly getting picked on by Congress and the media.”
The Florida Governor said last year that straw polls were of no concern to him.
“I don’t do straw polls. They just put my name into these things, you know? It’s just, like, so what am I supposed to do? Like they sell merchandise and everything. I kind of would like to get royalties on that,” DeSantis quipped in June.
However, this straw poll may be welcome news for a DeSantis political operation that has seemed rudderless in the face of what supporter Karl Rove has called a “tribal moment” for Republicans, who are rallying around the embattled former President.
The two public polls we’ve seen from Virginia have shown mixed messages, and each were conducted weeks before the Trump indictment. A March survey from Differentiator Data of 500 likely voters showed DeSantis up 3 points over Trump, 37% to 34%, with the field farther back. A February survey released by Roanoke College showed the Florida Governor down 11 points to the former President.