By Jim Ellis — Monday, June 26, 2023
Campaign 2024: States Decide — It is already pretty clear that four states could decide the 2024 presidential election. With the electorate locked in most places either for the Democratic or Republican candidate, voters in Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin could be the ultimate deciders in Campaign 2024.
Public Opinion Strategies, polling for the DeSantis presidential campaign, released their latest survey results from three of the four key swing domains, Arizona, Georgia, and Pennsylvania.
In each instance the results find Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis leading President Joe Biden, while former President Donald Trump trails the incumbent.
The methodology in each of the three states featured interviews with 500 likely general election voters during the June 17-19 period.
In Arizona, President Biden would lead former President Trump, 45-43 percent. When Gov. DeSantis was tested as the Republican nominee, the race shifted considerably. He would lead the president by six percentage points, 47-41 percent, meaning a net swing of eight points when compared to Trump’s standing.
A similar pattern occurred in Georgia, but not quite as dramatic. The Biden-Trump pairing favored the president, 47-45 percent. Replacing Trump with DeSantis yields a swing toward the Republicans. The Biden-DeSantis match-up favors the Florida governor by a 49-45 percent spread, or a net swing of five percentage points.
The same outcome appears in Pennsylvania. Biden would lead Trump, 48-45 percent, but loses to DeSantis by the same 48-45 percent spread, a net swing of six percentage points.
To win the presidency, the Republicans need to covert states worth a total of 35 electoral votes. These particular polls show the GOP, with DeSantis leading the ticket, as having enough to defeat President Biden, since carrying Arizona (11 electoral votes), Georgia (16), and Pennsylvania (19) would yield the GOP a 46 electoral vote gain, meaning 281 national electoral votes or 11 more than needed to clinch victory.
These models assume that the other 47 states and the District of Columbia vote the same in 2024 as they did in 2020. Based upon polling, voter history, and most recent electoral trends, this is a reasonable conclusion. Yet, flipping as few as two states, Georgia and Pennsylvania, would give the GOP a national victory.
Though Gov. DeSantis appears to be the stronger opponent for President Biden, the Republican primary polling still shows large leads for former President Trump. Obviously, the DeSantis forces will use polling data such as described above to attempt to convince GOP primary voters that their only chance of ousting Biden is to nominate DeSantis.
The Trump forces, however, will counter that polling is often inaccurate, especially when Donald Trump is involved, and even if this most recent data is correct it still shows Trump easily within striking distance in each of the three targeted swing states. They will stress that President Biden doesn’t reach 50 percent in any instance when paired with Trump, and their candidate is within the polling margin of error in each place.
The DeSantis campaign’s more immediate problem is how to overcome Trump to win the Republican nomination. Gov. DeSantis and the other Republicans all trail Trump by large margins in the party primaries. Even the Florida numbers are close. The most recent polls conducted in DeSantis’ Sunshine State show he cannot be confident of a primary victory even there.
The latest two Florida polls, from Breakthrough Research and Victory Insights conducted in late May and early June, find Trump and DeSantis at parity in what should be DeSantis’s state.
While Gov. DeSantis and even some other Republican candidates may appear strong against President Biden, none are close to Trump when campaigning before a Republican voter base. Though it appears likely that Republicans will be stronger in the general election with a candidate other than the former president, the GOP electorate looks poised to award Trump the party nomination.
The candidates are working to reverse the trend, but the chances of the Republican electorate coalescing around one contender to deny Trump the nomination doesn’t appear likely at this time. The early caucus and primary states will largely tell the tale, but the current signs all point to a Biden-Trump re-match next year.