A new poll out from JL Partners underscores major weaknesses for the three men most likely to be sworn in as president on 20 January 2025, with little good news to soften the blow.
With the GOP primary now in full swing, Americans are getting a good look at the alternatives the Republican Party will present to the re-election of President Joe Biden, who was already the oldest president ever to take office when he did so in 2021.
But the top contenders in the GOP, former President Donald Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, each have debilitating labels to overcome if they have any shot of picking up ground with a general election audience, according to the survey. For Mr Trump, voters were most likely to describe him in one word as a “criminal”; others were even less flattering, such as “disgusting”, “liar”, “evil” and “dangerous” (though “patriot” also made a top-10 appearance).
The Florida governor got off arguably worse. The top two responses from voters describing Mr DeSantis were “fascist” and “unsure”, the latter indicating possible unfamiliarity with his political record or a lack of name recognition.
And while Mr Biden fares better than either of his would-be opponents, the incumbent president nevertheless remains chained to concerns about his age, which dominated the minds of the most voters asked for their one-word summation of him.
Altogether, the poll results signaled that Americans are largely unsatisfied with the options they have for leadership over the next half decade. To be sure, those three men are not the only candidates running, but no other Republican is polling at a numerically significant level at present and Mr Biden’s party is highly unlikely to facilitate a primary challenge against an incumbent president.
The poll, conducted on behalf of the Daily Mail, most likely outlines the kind of attacks that voters can expect to see in a general election scenario; concerns about Mr Biden’s age and supposed feebleness will be front and centre, as will discussion of Mr Trump’s multiple criminal investigations or Mr DeSantis’s record of support for hard-right conservative legislation in his home state of Florida should either of them be the GOP nominee.
JL Partners’ survey included responses from 1,000 likely general election voters between 12-15 June. The margin of error was 3.1 per cent.
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