Former President Donald Trump is leading Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) by 15 points among Republican primary voters, according to a new Fox News survey — more cause for concern among Senate Republicans who believe Trump doesn’t have what it takes to win a general election against Biden.
Senate Republicans, who predicted that Trump’s Influence would fade as the 2024 primaries approach, are having their predictions upended in the face of these new figures.
The new figures also suggest GOP leaders may have to embrace Trump.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY.) was among the first to suggest that Trump’s prominence in the midterms was the reason for the GOP’s dismal midterm performance. At the time, McConnell relayed that it was the “chaos” surrounding Trump that had cost the party key races, with many believing the performance was the final straw to keep Trump from becoming the party’s Presidential nominee.
According to reporting by The Hill, citing two Republican Senators, McConnell had privately told his GOP colleagues that Trump’s influence would wane the more time he spent outside of the Oval Office.
Yet the Fox News poll, which surveyed 1006 Republican registered voters, had Trump leading DeSantis, 43 percent to 28 percent in a hypothetical match-up.
While the poll isn’t exactly representative, Republican strategists noted that it points to the former President being more resilient than party insiders had expected.
These strategists also believe that those who ramped up their criticism of Trump following his loss in the 2020 election would do well to tread cautiously with future criticism.