A University of Massachusetts Amherst Poll released Friday found that most Republicans, 55%, continue to support former President Donald Trump as their first choice for the party’s nominee in the 2024 presidential election.
The figure is unchanged from those who said the same in December 2021. Another 26% chose Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis as their first choice, a 6% jump from five months ago.
Former Vice President Mike Pence came in at 7%, with former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz tied at 3%.
Things got more interesting among the second choice for primary voters, with 34% of primary voters backing DeSantis. Trump and Pence are tied at 13%, with Cruz, Haley, and South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott not far behind.
“Even after all of the revelations of his complicity in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, many Republicans still exhibit strong loyalty toward Donald Trump,” said UMass Amherst Professor Jesse Rhodes, who served as associate director of the poll.
“But Ron DeSantis remains a credible contender for the 2024 Republican nomination, and he is clearly positioning himself for a run. If he declares formally – and is willing to weather the full force of Trump’s disapproval – he could give Trump a real run for the nomination.”
The survey also asked the same question to Democratic primary voters. While it showed President Joe Biden leading, he failed to reach a majority, sitting at 33%.
Meanwhile, 17% of voters chose Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders as their first-choice candidate, with him also standing as the top second choice at 19%.
The survey of 1,000 respondents nationwide was taken from May 5-9 and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5%. The respondents were matched to a sampling frame on gender, age, race and education.