New Poll: DeSantis Is Only GOP Presidential Candidate Who Leads Biden in Crucial Swing States

AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell

Before we dig into the main course, a few words about polling in general. First, it’s been my experience that many—if not most—casual poll watchers tend to pay selective attention to polls, not unlike Fox News or CNN viewers who watch various on-air personalities to be told what they want to hear.


Second, we’ve seen candidates laud the results of a particular poll when its results favor them, then turn around and call the exact same polls “fake” when they don’t like the poll’s latest results. Third, while pre-primary polls conducted among likely voters of a single party might be lauded by various candidates and their followers, polls conducted among all likely voters present a more accurate picture of the general election.

And finally, I wouldn’t bet the farm on the results of any poll(s) before the first primary vote is cast, much less with the general election a year-and-a-half away. Bottom line: while some might stubbornly cling to the results of this or that poll, all poll results are merely snapshots in time; virtual “temperature takers,” as it were.

My point? There’s a bunch of water yet to flow under the bridge before the only poll that matters takes place.

OK, now let’s get to the main course. In two Public Opinion Strategies surveys, the results of which were released on Friday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis led President Joe Biden in hypothetical head-to-head matchups in Georgia and Arizona, two critical swing states. DeSantis claimed 47 percent support compared to Biden’s 43 percent in Arizona, while in Georgia, the Florida governor led Biden, 45 percent to 42 percent.


Coincidentally, as we reported on Thursday, DeSantis told a group of prominent donors in a Wednesday private call that he’s the only candidate who can beat Biden in the 2024 general election.

You have basically three people at this point that are credible in this whole thing — Biden, Trump, and me. And I think of those three, two have a chance to get elected president — Biden and me, based on all the data in the swing states, which is not great for the former president and probably insurmountable because people aren’t going to change their view of him.

DeSantis summed up the attitude of Republican voters as: “We’ve got to win this time.”

While the Florida governor praised the former president’s policies, he also said Biden has undone many of them. According to credible sources, DeSantis is expected to file paperwork declaring his candidacy on May 25 to coincide with a donor meeting in Miami, with a more formal launch the week of May 29.

Ah, But What About Trump’s National Poll Numbers? 

As I suggested at the top, here’s where things get sticky (that is, partisan as hell). Various recent polls have found Trump with his “biggest lead ever” over DeSantis, but every one of those polls surveyed only Republican voters. Yet, a recent non-Republican-specific poll found that 70 percent of Americans don’t even want Trump to run for president. So what’s the deal? Why the yuuge discrepancies? It’s exactly what I suggested at the beginning.

The Bottom Line

Polls are often conducted to create “news” — to create “stories” for TV pundits to talk about, and journalists to write about. But at the end of the proverbial day, are they really news — 18 months out from a general election that has yet to be preceded by a single primary? In my not-so-humble opinion, no.

To paraphrase a famous Robert Frost poem, we have miles to go before we vote. Make yours count.


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