Ron DeSantis overtakes Trump in poll

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis defeated former President Donald Trump in a straw poll conducted at the 2023 Young Republican National Convention earlier this month, a sign that the two candidates may have a tough battle to win over the GOP’s younger set in their quest for the 2024 presidential nomination.

The Young Republican National Federation (YRNF) hosted its annual convention in Dallas, Texas, from August 16 to August 20. The organization focuses on registered Republicans ages 18 to 40, to “provide them with better political knowledge and understanding of the issues of the day,” according to its website.

After the five-day convention—which included speeches from Texas Governor Greg Abbott, Florida Congresswoman Kat Cammack and former Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake—36.6 percent of the attendees indicated that they wanted to see DeSantis as the next Republican presidential candidate. Trump trailed with 35.4 percent of the vote.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, left, and former President Donald Trump are pictured. DeSantis defeated Trump in a recent straw poll conducted at the 2023 Young Republican National Convention.
Pedro Ugarte/AFP/Getty; Joe Raedle/Getty

The other GOP candidates polling in the top five were businessman Vivek Ramaswamy (9.1 percent), former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley (7.5 percent) and South Carolina Senator Tim Scott (5.5 percent). Roughly 6 percent of participants indicated that they wanted someone else as the next nominee, according to poll results.

Trump has mostly enjoyed a double-digit lead on DeSantis and the rest of the GOP pack in recent months. Even after dropping to his lowest level of support in a recent Emerson College poll, which has been tracking the 2024 election since last summer, the former president was still backed by 50 percent of Republican voters, holding a 38-point lead over DeSantis.

Still, young Americans could play a crucial role in the election, as they have in recent years. The Brookings Institution estimates that if voters under 45 years old turn out at the same rate in 2024 as in 2020, they could make up nearly half of the vote in the next general election.

Republican voters also appear to be attracted to younger candidates. Several polls taken after the first GOP primary debate last week showed that the two youngest candidates on stage—DeSantis, 44, and Ramaswamy, 38—were considered the “winners” of the two-hour event.

In one such poll taken by The Washington Post/FiveThrityEight/Ipsos, 29 percent of the Republican voters surveyed said that DeSantis won, while 26 percent selected Ramaswamy. Another poll, by Leger for the New York Post, found that 23 percent of the 1,800 self-identified GOP voters interviewed said that they felt Ramaswamy came out on top, while DeSantis earned 21 percent of the vote.

Trump, who is 77, was notably missing from the first primary.

Newsweek reached out to the campaigns of Trump and DeSantis via email on Thursday for comment.

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