Former President Trump has retaken the lead from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) among California’s likely 2024 Republican primary voters, a poll released Sunday reveals.
In the survey by the University of California-Berkeley Institute of Government Studies (IGS), 44 percent of the Golden State’s likely GOP primary voters said they supported Trump, while 26 percent said they supported DeSantis, an 18-point lead for the former president.
Just three months ago, the same poll found that Trump trailed DeSantis by 8 points, with 37 percent supporting DeSantis — who officially entered the race Wednesday — and 29 percent backing Trump, who threw his hat into the ring in November.
Twelve other Republicans were tested in the poll, but none received more than 4 percent of the state’s likely GOP voters. Thirteen percent of respondents answered “other/undecided.”
Among registered Republicans in the state, Trump’s favorability rating rose in the last three months, while DeSantis’s fell slightly. From February to this month, Trump’s favorable rating rose from 69 percent to 74 percent; Desantis’s dipped from 79 percent to 75 percent.
“The results indicate just how difficult it is for Republican candidates to gain traction with Trump in the running. Even in California, where a majority of voters view Trump unfavorably, his presence looks large, with Republican voters feeling he is being treated unfairly in the courts and public opinion,” IGS co-director G. Cristina Mora said in a press release accompanying the survey.
Berkeley IGS poll director Mark DiCamillo said Trump’s lead over DeSantis is broad-based, but he polls especially well among strongly conservative Republicans, men, non-college graduates and voters aged 50-64.
The poll also surveyed voter reactions to Trump being found liable in a sexual abuse case in New York involving writer E. Jean Carroll. Three in four respondents said they believed it was impossible for Trump to get a fair trial in New York, while 66 percent discounted the seriousness of the verdict.
Eighty-six percent of California Republicans surveyed said they think the investigations looking into Trump’s actions following the 2020 presidential election “are more about politics and political revenge than about justice and law.”
Only 35 percent of all California voters shared that view, and two-thirds of the state at large said Trump could get a fair trial in New York and the jury’s verdict should be taken seriously.
The poll was administered May 17-22 among 7,465 registered California voters, 1,853 of whom were registered Republicans, and 1,472 of whom were likely to vote in the state’s GOP presidential primary in March 2024. It was co-sponsored by the Los Angeles Times.