Virginia GOP poll shows Ron DeSantis edging Donald Trump

A new poll from the state of Virginia offers some good news for Ron DeSantis as he explores a 2024 campaign.

The survey from Differentiator Data of 500 likely voters in next year’s Republican Presidential Primary showed the Florida Governor ahead of a crowded field of candidates, including former President Donald Trump.

DeSantis drew 37% support, just 3 points ahead of Trump’s 34%. Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin and former United Nations envoy Nikki Haley were tied at 6%, a distant third place finish. Former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, who has ruled out a run, followed with 5% support, ahead of former Vice President Mike Pence and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who mustered 3% and 2% support, respectively.

The Differentiator Data poll was full of good news for DeSantis.

“DeSantis leads Trump in most parts of Virginia in the multi-candidates race and in all parts of the state in a head-to-head race,” the memo contended.

“Importantly, DeSantis grows his support with every demographic group in a head-to-head matchup with Trump, while Trump’s support is largely unchanged. These results indicate Trump has a firm base of support in the GOP Primary but is unlikely to grow his vote share as the GOP Presidential field narrows. DeSantis, on the other hand, stands to benefit greatly as the field shrinks.”

As for Youngkin, the current Governor, his in-state popularity did not translate to favorite status in the presidential race.

“Youngkin might be the most popular politician with Virginia’s Republican primary voters, but with only 6% of the vote he is not their top choice for President. The Republican Presidential Primary is a two-horse race, with DeSantis narrowly leading Trump on the multi-candidate ballot. In a series of prospective head-to-head ballots, DeSantis beats Trump by 17 points and Youngkin by 38 points. Youngkin trails Trump by 10 points in a hypothetical head-to-head matchup.”

This performance reflects in DeSantis’ strong favorable numbers: “87% of voters view Governor Youngkin favorably and he has a net 78% favorability rating. The only other politician close to Governor Youngkin’s popularity with Virginia Republican Primary voters is Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. Governor DeSantis is viewed favorably by 81% of GOP primary voters and holds a 71% net favorability rating.”

The new poll offers a counterpoint to one released last week that was better for Trump. That survey released by Roanoke College showed the Florida Governor down 11 points to the former President in a crowded and mostly hypothetical field of potential candidates for the 2024 Republican nomination.

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