Mike Pence vs Donald Trump: How Their 2024 Chances Compare

Former President Donald Trump and former Vice President Mike Pence have both been the subject of speculation about their political futures since leaving the White House earlier this year.

Trump remains a powerful force in the Republican Party, offering endorsements of candidates and providing a steady stream of statements on the state of the country and the party.

By contrast, Pence's reentry into the political arena has been more muted. The one time Indiana governor has given speeches, discussed his decision-making process on January 6 and largely avoided publicly clashing with Trump, despite frequent criticism from the former president.

Pence's former press secretary, Alyssa Farah, has said the Republican is "ashamed" of Trump and may run in 2024 to poach the former president's voters.

However, polls have consistently shown that Trump remains the most popular choice for the 2024 Republican nomination, while bookmakers agree.

A YouGov poll conducted from November 4 to 8 showed Trump enjoyed 44 percent support in the Republican presidential primary, followed by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on 21 percent.

Pence recorded just 4 percent support in that poll, which surveyed 559 adults. He placed fourth behind former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations (U.N.) Nikki Haley.

It was a similar picture in a Harris poll conducted from October 27 to 28, with Trump showing 47 percent support, DeSantis on 10 percent and Pence in third place on 9 percent.

A Harris poll conducted at the same time showed Pence leading the Republican field with 23 percent when Trump is excluded, but this has not been reflected in other polls.

Pence has struggled to outpace DeSantis in a series of polls over the past two months, though the Florida governor has said he's currently focused on reelection in 2022.

The former vice president's struggle to beat Trump and DeSantis is also indicated by betting odds offered by bookmakers. Betfair, which operates the world's largest online betting exchange, was giving Trump odds of 11/10 to win the Republican nomination as of Friday.

Pence's odds at the GOP nomination stood at 12/1 - behind DeSantis on 5/1 and Haley on 6/1. The former vice president does have better odds than Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who stood at 16/1.

However, Pence's odds of winning the presidential election are somewhat better at 14/1 compared to Haley's 16/1, but he is still behind DeSantis and Trump. The former president enjoys 3/1 odds of victory - better than President Joe Biden on 4/1 - while the Florida governor stands at 9/1.

Interestingly, Vice President Kamala Harris has odds of 5/1 to win the next election, beating all potential Republican candidates except Trump.

Trump's Stranglehold on the Party

Thomas Gift, founding director of University College London's Centre on U.S. Politics, told Newsweek on Friday that if Trump runs "it's hard not to see him earning the GOP nomination. If the last 12 months have taught us anything, it's that Trump's stranglehold over the Republican Party hasn't waned."

"For other presidential hopefuls - including Mike Pence - it's almost impossible to see a pathway unless Trump declines to throw his hat in the ring. And even if Trump bows out, he'll still be a kingmaker," Gift said.

"That won't bode well for Pence, who's decision not to back Trump's bid to overturn the 2020 election results won't win him Trump's endorsement or the support of many MAGA voters," he added.

Neither Trump or Pence have announced a presidential bid yet, but the former president has repeatedly teased an announcement that will make his supporters "very happy."

Though the Republican primary campaign hasn't yet started, Trump is clearly the candidate to beat, while Pence appears to have an uphill struggle if he wants to defeat his former running mate.

Composite Image Shows Pence and Trump
This composite photo shows former Vice President Mike Pence and former President Donald Trump. Both Republicans may launch presidential bids. Getty Images