Former President Donald Trump is widening his lead over Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, even as he faces an indictment from Manhattan authorities and at least two other criminal investigations.
A new Reuters/Ipsos poll found that 48 percent of Republicans want Trump to be the presidential nominee in 2024, up from 44 percent a month ago.
Only 19 percent say they prefer DeSantis as the party’s nominee, down from 30 percent in March. Other potential rivals polled in the single digits.
“The online poll was conducted between March 31 and April 3, after news broke that Trump would face criminal charges related to hush money paid to a porn star before the 2016 election,” according to Reuters.
The polling data also found that 71 percent of Americans — including 58 percent of Republicans — find it believable that Trump made the payment to Daniels. But, 51 percent, including 80 percent of Republicans, think the charges are politically motivated, Reuters says.
As Trump’s polling numbers have soared amid his indictment by New York authorities, the GOP’s top 15 to 20 mega-donors have expressed concern that DeSantis may not be the candidate to back in the 2024 primary, complicating things for the group, which was ready to move on from Trump and fully back the DeSantis campaign.
“If DeSantis is the guy, we’re ready to go for it and we’re ready to throw our weight behind him. We want one or two of them rather than Trump,” an unnamed top donor said, as reported by Political Wire. “DeSantis should not misread early support for him, which I’m sure DeSantis hates. We’re ready to support two Trump alternative candidates, because why wouldn’t we?”
Trump said that as his polling numbers soar, staffers with the DeSantis campaign are looking to flee and to come work with the Trump campaign.
“We’re getting lots of job requests from people currently working for the Social Security/Medicare cutting (JUST WATCH!) DeSanctimonious Campaign. Ron’s Poll numbers are dropping so fast and furious that many people are speculating he’s not going to run,” Trump posted on his social media site Truth Social.
Since the announcement that Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg would be criminally indicting Trump, the Trump campaign has raised more than $10 million.