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Poll: DeSantis Outperforming Trump in Michigan
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Poll: DeSantis Outperforming Trump in Michigan

New GOP research says the Florida governor matches up better against Joe Biden.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on March 5, 2023 in Simi Valley, California. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis performs better against President Joe Biden in Michigan than former President Donald Trump and has more room to grow, according to fresh polling conducted by a Republican firm.

The survey of 500 registered voters, conducted Monday through Wednesday, showed DeSantis leading Biden 45 percent to 43 percent. The same poll showed the current president leading the former president 45 percent to 42 percent. Perhaps more encouraging for DeSantis: He is less well known than Trump in Michigan—and less polarizing. 

Fifty-five percent of voters view Trump unfavorably, while just 34 percent of voters feel the same about DeSantis. And while 19 percent had never heard of Florida’s governor and 13 percent said they had no opinion of him, those numbers for Trump were zero percent and 4 percent, respectively. The survey’s margin of error was plus or minus 4.38 percentage points.

“Supporting Trump in ’24 has already been ruled out by a majority of voters in Michigan,” reads the polling memorandum from Public Opinion Strategies shared with The Dispatch. “A strong majority of these general election voters (55%) say they would NOT be likely to vote for Trump, while just 43% say they would be likely to consider him. Fully 46% of voters say they would be likely to vote for DeSantis, with another 46% who say they would not.” 

Public Opinion Strategies fielded the poll on behalf of Citizen Awareness Project, a political nonprofit that the firm said is not affiliated with the Trump campaign, DeSantis’ political team, or any of the super PACs supporting their 2024 efforts. 

Michigan is a key White House battleground. Trump won narrowly there in 2016; Biden did the same in 2020. The president’s job approval rating in this survey was 42 percent. But Democrats were successful in the state in the 2022 midterm elections. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer cruised to reelection and her party captured both chambers of the legislature for the first time in four decades. 

Other interesting findings from the poll include:

  • DeSantis leads Biden among independent voters, 48 percent to 36 percent; he led the president among seniors 48 percent to 45 percent, and the governor led among white suburban women 47 percent to 39 percent.  
  • Trump led Biden among independent voters 40 percent to 36 percent but trailed the president among seniors 47 percent to 41 percent—and among white  suburban women 44 percent to 38 percent.
  • DeSantis led by 13 points among voters who “somewhat” disapprove of Biden; Trump trailed by 5 points among those same voters.  

Trump currently leads DeSantis in most national and state polls gauging Republican preferences in the party’s 2024 presidential primary.

David M. Drucker is a senior writer at The Dispatch and is based in Washington, D.C. Prior to joining the company in 2023, he was a senior correspondent for the Washington Examiner. When Drucker is not covering American politics for The Dispatch, he enjoys hanging out with his two boys and listening to his wife's excellent taste in music.