Has DeSantis Already Peaked?

Much of my discussion on the 2024 Republican nomination fight has been focused on the impact both to the Kremlin and from the Kremlin. Of course, commenters have been more than willing to argue – not without merit – that there’s more to it than Moscow.

Meanwhile, my BD colleague Chris Saxman has been tracking the conventional narrative: DeSantis is a fresh face and Trump is on the way down, if not entirely out. This week, a new poll put an end to that narrative.

For months, we’ve seen some polls showing DeSantis leading Trump and other showing Trump leading DeSantis. What we hadn’t seen was the same poll multiple times, save for Quinnipiac, which has shown a race largely frozen in place since November. That changed with Yahoo’s YouGov’s poll.

A new Yahoo News/YouGov poll shows that after trailing for the last three months, former President Donald Trump has suddenly surged to a substantial lead over Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in a two-man matchup for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination.

Previously, DeSantis led Trump 45% to 41% among Republican voters. Now Trump leads DeSantis 47% to 39% — a net swing of 12 percentage points in Trump’s direction since early February.

To add to the Governor’s problems, when the rest of the GOP field is added, Trump led by 2 in early February but by 16 now. Moreover, the February poll’s crosstabs show Trump’s one-on-one lead is due entirely to Republican voters (GOP-leaning independents are statistically tied), meaning the voters most likely to show up in Republican primaries and caucuses are the ones most likely to back the former president.

So by now, dear reader, you know the answer to the title question is Yes …

… and No.

After all, we’re still months away from the first Republican caucus (assuming they insist on Iowa going first). The Florida Governor has just begun making his presidential candidacy real, slowly. There’s plenty of time to make up the ground that he’s already losing to you-know-who.

That said, we have clear evidence that DeSantis is losing ground, while Trump is once again showing he’s far more resilient than conventional wisdom assumes.

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