Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) holds a 9-point lead over former President Trump in a hypothetical head-to-head match-up in the 2024 Republican primary, according to a new poll.
DeSantis, who is seen as one of the main possible competitors to Trump in his bid to return to the White House, garnered 49 percent support against Trump in the survey by the conservative Club for Growth.
The polling shows that DeSantis and Trump are the runaway favorites against other candidates.
In a crowded seven-person primary poll, Trump led DeSantis by 37 percent to 33 percent. Former Vice President Mike Pence finished a distant third with just 7 percent of the vote. The poll has a margin of error of 1.8 percent.
The polling previews a potential showdown between the two GOP figures, as Trump has already kicked off his 2024 campaign. DeSantis has not yet announced but is widely expected to throw his hat into the ring.
Club for Growth President David McIntosh told The Hill his group invited all the names on the poll, including DeSantis, Pence, Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, among others, to their donor retreat - except for Trump.
"What the club believes the Republican Party should do is make sure whoever we nominate will actually win," McIntosh said. "The party should be open to looking at a different candidate. DeSantis is in the strongest position."
Polling this week from ABC and The Washington Post showed that Republican voters were nearly split between wanting to move on from Trump and believing he should be the nominee in 2024.
The Club for Growth polling of 3,015 likely Republican primary voters also found that support for Trump and DeSantis within the party was fractured between more conservative Republicans and those who identified as moderate.
In the head-to-head match-up, Trump won 52 percent of the vote from people who identified as very conservative.
DeSantis was more popular than Trump with voters who said they were either somewhat conservative or moderate/liberal, securing 56 percent and 51 percent of their support respectively.
McIntosh said the club does not consider itself "never Trump" by any means.
"Anything's possible," he said. "And if he gets the nomination, we'll help him try to win. But the last three elections show that he's lost."
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