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Trump slumps while Pence and DeSantis get surprising poll boost after first GOP debate

New survey suggests 50 per cent of Republican primary voters would support the former president in 2024

Andrew Feinberg
Monday 28 August 2023 21:27 BST
All the times Donald Trump was mentioned by the GOP candidates

Support for former president Donald Trump among Republican primary voters dipped slightly after the ex-president skipped out on the first debate among GOP presidential hopefuls last week, according to a new poll from Emerson College.

The survey, which was conducted from 25 to 26 August, found just 50 per cent of GOP primary voters expressing an intention to vote for Mr Trump. That’s a six-point drop from a similar Emerson survey conducted before last week’s Milwaukee, Wisconsin debate.

But multiple candidates who participated in the face-off saw gains in the same survey compared with the drop in support for Mr Trump.

Ex-Trump administration UN Ambassador Nikki Haley saw a five-point boost in her polling, from 2 per cent to 5 per cent post-debate.

Mike Pence, Mr Trump’s former vice president, saw a four-point jump in post-debate support to seven per cent, from three per cent in the pre-debate survey.

And Florida Governor Ron DeSantis saw a two-point bump in his polling, with 12 per cent of respondents saying they’d vote for him.

While 27 per cent of voters felt biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy won the debate, his support in the poll dropped from 10 per cent to nine per cent in the post-debate poll.

The survey results show Mr Trump may not have been wise to skip the debate, which he chose to do on account of his polling lead over his primary rivals.

“While Trump saw a slight dip in support, the question from this poll is whether this is a blip for Trump or if the other Republican candidates will be able to rally enough support to be competitive for the caucus and primary season,” Spencer Kimball, executive director of Emerson College Polling, said in a statement.

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