In the survey, published on Wednesday, Mr Vance’s support has leapt from 11 per cent in March to 23 per cent, putting him at the top of the field over previous frontrunners Josh Mandel and Mike Gibbons, who were respectively at 20 and 22 per cent in a March Fox News survey.
The change in the field comes as the largest chunk of voters, 25 per cent, are undecided meaning that the race remains just about anyone’s ballgame. Mr Vance’s recent rise in support follows his endorsement from Mr Trump on 15 April, a move that surprised some who hoped the former GOP president would support Josh Mandel, another hardline conservative who lobbied for Mr Trump’s blessing and is supported by other GOP heavyweights like Ted Cruz.
Mr Vance has wasted no time in rolling out campaign ads featuring the Trump endorsement even as he continues to be dogged by his own past remarks about the ex-president. As recently as 2016 the Hillbilly Ellegy author speculated that Mr Trump could become “America’s Hitler”.
“My god what an idiot,” he wrote of the soon-to-be-president on Twitter in late 2016.
The Fox poll also measured how Donald Trump’s endorsement specifically made GOP primary voters feel: The largest group, 42 per cent, said it made them more likely to vote for the author-turned-candidate while just under a fourth, 23 per cent, said it made them less likely to support him.
Mr Vance also had the highest overall favorability rating in the poll, with 52 per cent of GOP primary voters overall seeing him as likeable.
As with many previous polls of the GOP electorate, the Fox poll also found wide support for Donald Trump running for office again even after his failed 2020 bid and false allegations of election fraud led to the January 6 siege on the US Capitol.
Six in ten GOP voters want Mr Trump to run for office again, according to the poll, while just about a third do not.
The Fox poll collected responses from 906 Ohio Republican primary voters between 20-24 April. The margin of error is 3 percentage points.
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