Florida Republicans Back DeSantis Over Trump for the GOP Nomination

Last week, we polled Republican voters in Florida to gather insights about the 2024 Presidential election. We found that even with a strong embrace of Trump’s Big Lie, fealty to the former President did not automatically follow. 

Governor DeSantis leads former President Trump by 12.3% as the top choice for the GOP Presidential nomination. DeSantis attracts 50.9% overall, with the margin among GOP women 11% greater than with Republican men. Older Republicans are more likely to support Trump, but DeSantis still leads the former president in all age groupings.  Trump is tied with DeSantis among voters with some college but among high school graduates as well as college graduates and those with advanced degrees, DeSantis polls much better. 

66% of respondents say Florida Republicans believe the Big Lie and that voter fraud cost Donald Trump the election, while only 11% say most Florida Republicans don’t believe the Big Lie but will go along with the rhetoric because it energizes the base. Men were about 5% more likely than women to say their fellow Republicans believe the Big Lie. The more educated the Republican, the less support for the Big Lie, but even among those with advanced degrees, 56% believe voter fraud changed the election results. Latino Republicans are more likely to embrace the Big Lie than white Republicans.

More than a third of Florida Republicans condone intimidation of election workers. 36.3% say fellow Republicans believe that harassment and threats toward election officials by Trump supporters are to be expected. Well more than half of those who prefer Trump over DeSantis feel this way.  31.1% say Republicans believe Trump supporters went too far with threats and harassment of election workers and another 32.6% are unsure. Latino Republicans are less likely to condone the threats than white Republicans.

Republicans told us that 47% of those who believe in the Big Lie accept the legitimacy of this election worker intimidation. For those Republicans who don’t believe voter fraud cost Trump the election, about one in five sanction the harassment.

You can find full weighted crosstabs and toplines here.