DeSantis Leads Trump in Texas for 2024 on Eve of Announcement

One day out from the expected launch of Donald Trump's 2024 presidential bid, a new poll out of Texas shows the former president down by double digits to his chief rival, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, in a hypothetical Republican primary, signifying that voters in one of Republicans' mightiest voting blocs are ready for new leadership.

In a survey of Texas Republicans released by the Texas Republican Party Monday, approximately 43 percent of likely Republican primary voters say DeSantis would be their first choice for president, while fewer than one-third of likely voters said they would select Trump as their choice.

Newsweek has contacted Trump's office for comment.

The results represent a stunning turnaround from just this summer, when Trump won the support of 69 percent of attendees at this August's Conservative Political Action Conference in Dallas, compared to just 24 percent support for DeSantis.

But times have changed. Monday's poll was conducted just days after an underwhelming midterm performance for Republicans in which Trump's influence on the GOP weighed heavily on voters' minds.

Donald Trump
Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during an election night event at Mar-a-Lago on November 8 in Palm Beach, Florida. A new poll out of Texas shows the former president down by double digits to his chief rival, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, in a hypothetical Republican 2024 primary. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

In battleground states like New Hampshire and Arizona, candidates who had endorsed Trump's claims of a stolen 2020 election lost handily, while the GOP's few bright spots across the country were felt largely among more moderate members of the party.

In other states, Trump's chosen candidates—many of whom tied their brands closely to the former president's—lost numerous races they were expected to win (some by wide margins), while those who saw success did so in races they were already anticipated to do well in.

Trump's star already seemed to be fading before Monday's poll, however. The former president has faced mounting legal trouble stemming from his business dealings and his mishandling of classified documents dating back to his days in the White House, while other polling has shown a growing number of independent voters—a critical voting bloc for any candidate seeking the presidency—increasingly uneasy with the prospect of a Trump run in 2024.

After losing the independent vote in 2020, an NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll from September showed roughly two-thirds of independents did not want Trump to run again in 2024 while more moderate members of the party, like former Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, have begun contemplating longshot bids for the Republican nomination next election.

With the Texas poll, DeSantis—considered Trump's heir apparent to the helm of the GOP—now leads polling in two key states.

Before outrunning Trump's performance in his adopted home state of Florida last week, several polls showed DeSantis leading Trump in a hypothetical 2024 primary among Florida Republicans. A YouGov poll over the weekend showed DeSantis' lead over Trump to be near-double digits.

Some have already begun preparing for the changeover. GOP megadonors like hedge fund billionaire Ken Griffin have already expressed interest in backing DeSantis over Trump in the coming election, while figures like Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison have pumped millions into a super PAC aligned with fellow GOP presidential hopeful Tim Scott.

"For a litany of reasons, I think it's time to move on to the next generation," Griffin told Politico prior to Election Day.