New poll shows Trump with 37-point primary lead, bolstered by 'unshakable' MAGA base

The survey shows that DeSantis' central arguments – that he is more likely to win than Trump and that he would be a more effective leader – have so far not worked.

Published: July 31, 2023 8:17am

Updated: July 31, 2023 9:04am

Former President Donald Trump has a commanding lead over closest GOP primary challenger Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and the rest of the field, driven by his "unshakable" MAGA base.

The New York Times/Siena College poll, released Monday and its first of the 2024 campaign season, shows Trump leading DeSantis by 37 percentage points. 

Trump received 54% support in the hypothetical 2024 primary, while DeSantis came in with 17%, according to the poll.

"Even if it might be a mistake to call Mr. Trump 'inevitable,' the Times/Siena data suggests that he commands a seemingly unshakable base of loyal supporters, representing more than one-third of the Republican electorate," reads an analysis by the newspaper of the polling data.

Still, the analysis points out such factors as Trump's legal problem, upcoming debates and early-state primary balloting could change Trump's seeming inevitability. 

"Alone, [base] support is not enough for Mr. Trump to win the primary. But it is large enough to make him extremely hard to defeat – perhaps every bit as hard as the historical record suggests," the analysis also reads.

The poll also shows most likely Republican primary voters, 58%, also say that Trump is able to beat President Biden, compared to DeSantis, who got only 28% support on that question.

The results suggest DeSantis' central arguments – that he is more likely to win than Trump and that he would be a more effective leader – have so far not worked, the Times reported.

Trump is farther ahead of all other candidates in all demographics, including age, race, education level, region, religion and income level. With 68% of Hispanic Republican primary voters saying they would vote for Trump, they are the most likely demographic to support the former president.

"In the half century of modern presidential primaries, no candidate who led his or her nearest rival by at least 20 points at this stage has ever lost a party nomination

No other candidates came in even close to Trump or DeSantis in the poll. Former Vice President Mike Pence, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott and former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley are all at 3%, while entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie both received 2%.

All other candidates, such as former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Miami Mayor Francis Suarez received less than 1% support.

Even if all other GOP candidates left the race, Trump would beat DeSantis by 62% to 31%, according to the poll, which comes less than six months before the first 2024 caucus.

The poll of 1,329 registered voters nationwide, including 818 registered Republican voters, was conducted over the phone in English and Spanish from July 23-27. It has a 3.67 for all registered voters and a 3.96 margin of error among Republican voters.

Follow Madeleine Hubbard on Twitter or Instagram.

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