Ron DeSantis Leads 2024 Republican Primary Polling as Florida Governor Lauded for Lifting COVID Rules

A new poll found that most Republicans would support Florida Governor Ron DeSantis in the 2024 primary for president—if Donald Trump doesn't run for the nomination.

A survey released Wednesday from the Trafalgar Group found 35 percent of likely Republican primary voters were most likely to back DeSantis to be the party's nominee, the most of any potential candidate polled.

DeSantis has been praised by conservatives for his approach to the COVID-19 pandemic. The governor lifted coronavirus restrictions in Florida before many other states and has become a leading opponent to vaccine passports.

His approval rating among statewide voters is at 55 percent, according to a survey released Wednesday by the Florida Chamber of Commerce. DeSantis' approval rating among the Sunshine State's conservative bloc was even higher at 88 percent.

In the hypothetical 2024 primary poll, Texas Senator Ted Cruz ranked second with the support of 15.3 percent of likely GOP primary voters. Utah Senator Mitt Romney garnered 10.3 percent support, trailed closely by former Vice President Mike Pence who received 10 percent support.

Former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, Missouri Representative Josh Hawley and Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse all polled below 10 percent.

Trump, who left office in January, had the highest level of support from likely Republican primary voters. If the former president decided to run for the White House again, 49.1 percent of likely voters said they'd back him for the GOP nomination.

Another 12.4 percent of likely voters said they would "likely" vote for Trump, while nearly a quarter of respondents said they were unlikely to back him. Just 4 percent of respondents said they were unsure how they'd vote.

Trump revealed last week that he is "100 percent" thinking about running for president again in 2024 and would "certainly" consider DeSantis to be his running mate.

"He's a friend of mine. I endorsed Ron and after I endorsed him he took off like a rocket ship," Trump told Fox News host Maria Bartiromo. "He's done a great job as governor."

Trump added that "a lot of people" would love a Trump-DeSantis ticket.

But if Trump decided not to run, most of his supporters said they'd turn to backing DeSantis. The Florida governor garnered 47.6 percent of the likely Republican primary voters who first expressed support for Trump.

The Trafalgar Group partnered with the Convention of States Action, a coalition pushing for a constitutional convention, to conduct the poll. The group surveyed 1,574 respondents between April 30 and May 6. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.47 percentage points.

Ron DeSantis Leads 2024 Republican Primary Polling
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks to the media about the cruise industry during a press conference at PortMiami on April 8, in Miami. A new poll found that most Republicans would support DeSantis in the 2024 primary for president—if Donald Trump doesn’t run for the nomination. Joe Raedle/Getty Images