Many within Republican politics are now privately saying they expect Gov. Ron DeSantis to drop out of the 2024 presidential race.
Amid tumbling poll numbers and what some consider a rocky kickoff to his campaign, lobbyists, consultants, and lawmakers in the Sunshine State believe the question is no longer if DeSantis will end his bid for president, but when.
“You don’t get the assumption they are measuring drapes anymore — they are waiting for him to drop out,” a long-time Republican consultant in Tallahassee said of those working for the governor. The anonymous comment was one of many made to POLITICO exposing the troubles facing the DeSantis camp.
The outlet interviewed nearly two dozen lobbyists, political consultants, and lawmakers who said that DeSantis’ struggles have eroded his influence in Florida.
While DeSantis backers have largely framed the race as a contest between only him and former President Donald Trump, multiple recent polls have showed support for the governor slipping, leaving him trailing three other candidates.
A CNN/University of New Hampshire poll released this week shows DeSantis garnering just 10 percent support, trailing Trump (39 percent), Vivek Ramaswamy (13 percent), Nikki Haley (12 percent), and Chris Christie (11 percent).
This week’s Fox Business poll shows DeSantis at 15 percent (31-points behind Trump) but barely ahead of Haley who sat at 11 points. DeSantis’ position had barely changed since July, though Haley rose from 5 percent.
A Quinnipiac University poll this week shows DeSantis’s support plunging 6 points from last month, leaving him at 12 percent, which is still 50 points behind Trump.
According to a new CNN/University of New Hampshire poll, DeSantis dropped 13 points since July and now (with just 10 percent support) trails Trump, Ramaswamy, Haley, and Christie.
DeSantis has exerted considerable influence to enact one of the most conservative agendas in the country, enacting legislation aimed at reforming public schools, backing school board candidates, suspending several lawmakers and prosecutors, and taking on corporations like Disney.
But amid his slumping poll numbers, some within the Republican Party who have not favored his policies are waiting with bated breath for DeSantis’ exit from the presidential race.
“There’s no love lost between the Legislature and DeSantis. … They are faking it. They are waiting long enough to see the king drained of all his power. It’s a slow-motion coup,” a Tennessee lobbyist told POLITICO.