Florida GOP Governor Ron DeSantis emerged as the leading candidate for the GOP presidential nomination — ahead of former President Donald Trump — in a straw poll of attendees at a Wisconsin GOP convention.
The poll was conducted by WisPolitics.com over the weekend. DeSantis and Trump far outstripped the rest of the prospective field.
DeSantis received 38% of the vote; Trump received 32%, followed by former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley at roughly 7%, and a trio of candidates at roughly 2.5%: former Vice President Mike Pence and GOP senators Ted Cruz and Rand Paul.
Asked if they wanted Trump to run for president in 2024, the respondents were split; 43% said yes; 31% said no, and 22% were unsure.
Polls show DeSantis crushing his Democratic opposition in the gubernatorial race for 2022; a late March Saint Leo University Polling Institute Results found him leading former Florida governor Charlie Crist by 16 points, 49%-33%, Annette Taddeo, who was Crist’s running mate in the 2014 gubernatorial election and now serves as a state senator, by a whopping 19 points, 49%-30%, and Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried by a staggering 24 points, 51%-27%.
2022 #FLGov General Election Poll:
Ron DeSantis (R-Inc) 49% (+16)
Charlie Crist (D) 33%
Ron DeSantis (R-Inc) 49% (+19)
Annette Taddeo (D) 30%
Ron DeSantis (R-Inc) 51% (+24)
Nikki Fried (D) 27% @SaintLeoPolls ~ 500 LV ~ 2/28-3/12https://t.co/0LDWYZjwTa
— PollTracker (@PollTrackerUSA) March 30, 2022
The significance of the margin of dominance DeSantis displayed in Florida can be understood by reviewing Florida’s incredibly close gubernatorial elections in the past:
In 2010, GOP candidate Rick Scott defeated his Democratic opponent, Alex Sink, 49%-48%.
In 2014, as the incumbent, Scott ran against former governor Charlie Crist, who had served as a GOP governor after being elected in 2006, then became an Independent and then lost a Senate race in 2010. Scott eked out a victory over Crist in 2014, 48%-47%.
In 2018, DeSantis squeaked through by a tiny 40,000 votes over Democrat Andrew Gillum in an election in which over 8.2 million votes were cast, a difference of .4%.
Wisconsin GOP legislators have been fighting for conservative principles against the state’s Democrats for years. In June 2021, Wisconsin’s legislature passed a bill that would declare the state a “Second Amendment sanctuary.” The state Senate approved the bill but it was vetoed by Democratic Governor Tony Evers.
“If signed into law and deemed constitutional, the legislation would prevent Wisconsin law enforcement officials from confiscating guns from those convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence offenses, according to nonpartisan lawyers for the Legislature. That’s because there is no state law that corresponds with a federal law allowing guns to be taken from such offenders,” the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
The state’s GOP legislators also passed a resolution authorizing an investigation into the 2020 presidential election in March 2021. That resolution permitted the Republicans to issue subpoenas to compel testimony and gather documents, Rep. Joe Sanfelippo, the vice-chairman of the Assembly elections and campaign committee, explained.
In 2016, Trump’s presidential victory in Wisconsin became the first time a Republican candidate had won the state’s electoral votes since 1984. He received roughly 22,000 more votes than Hillary Clinton out of almost three million cast; the state’s turnout percentage, 66%, amounted to the lowest since 1966.