Ramaswamy, DeSantis in Virtual Tie Behind Trump in New Kaplan Poll

AP Photo/Jeff Roberson

President Donald J. Trump continues to lead the field of Republican presidential candidates in the run-up to his potential indictment by the Fulton County, Georgia district attorney in the newest poll from Kaplan Strategies, with the support of 48 percent of Republican voters surveyed. Trump was followed by biotech investor Vivek Ramaswamy with 11 percent, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis with 10 percent, and Vice President Michael R. Pence at 8 percent.

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Following the top four in the poll were: former New Jersey governor Chris Christie, 4 percent; former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley, 4 percent; South Carolina’s Sen. Tim Scott, 2 percent; North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, 1 percent, and former Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson. Thirteen percent of respondents said they were uncertain about their choice. 

Trump's support continues to hold strong since the previous Kaplan poll in July, which also had him at 48 percent.

“The evolving narrative highlights DeSantis losing MAGA support to Ramaswamy and mainstream conservative backing to Pence,” said Doug Kaplan, the president of Kaplan Strategies, which conducted the poll of 800 likely Republican voters Aug. 9 and Aug. 10. The poll carries a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points.

Of the top four contenders, Trump had only 4 percent of respondents uncertain, followed by Pence, 15 percent; DeSantis, 16 percent and Ramaswamy, 36 percent. Kaplan said:

“Vivek Ramaswamy's ascent to second place and Governor DeSantis's pursuit, closely followed by Vice President Pence's advances, have shaped the dynamics.

Among the age groups, Trump was the strongest, with 30-49-year-olds at 55 percent. Ramaswamy's strongest age group was 18-29 at 16 percent. DeSantis' strongest age group was 65 and older at 13 percent. Pence's strongest age group was 50-66; he also had 13 percent with them.

DeSantis has lost support nationally but is pursuing an Iowa-first strategy, which Kaplan says could be a mistake:

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“Historical precedent underscores that an Iowa victory doesn’t guarantee overall success, as evidenced by past victors like Pete Buttigieg, Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum, who ultimately faced defeat over the last 15 years."

Kaplan said he sees movement in the favorable-unfavorable rating compared to his July poll.

“Trump remains highly favorable among Republican primary voters, with 62 percent expressing approval and 35 percent voicing unfavorable opinions. These figures have shifted from 69 percent-29 percent in July.

“Pence's favorability has dipped further to 40 percent-45 percent, down from 56 percent-35 percent in July.

“Shifts are also apparent for DeSantis, whose favorability stands at 53 percent-32 percent, previously 59 percent-30 percent in July, and Ramaswamy, now at 44 percent-19 percent, previously 56 percent-17 percent in July."

The pollster said he looks for things to shake out more after the first debate, which will be hosted by the Republican National Committee on August 23 in Milwaukee.

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