Donald Trump may be a jury-affirmed sexual assaulter, but it's not having much of an effect on his political fortunes, if any. There have been five polls of Trump vs. DeSantis since the jury handed down its verdict on May 10. Here they are, from most to least recent:
|HarrisX/Harris Poll||May 17-18||65%||35%||Trump +30%|
|YouGov||May 13-16||58%||25%||Trump +33%|
|Premise||May 12-15||60%||28%||Trump +32%|
|Rasmussen Reports||May 11-15||62%||17%||Trump +45%|
|Morning Consult||May 12-14||61%||18%||Trump +43%|
For comparison purposes, here are the last five polls taken before the verdict came down:
|co/efficient||May 9||52%||19%||Trump +33%|
|Morning Consult||May 6-8||59%||19%||Trump +40%|
|YouGov||May 5-8||50%||36%||Trump +14%|
|Leger||May 5-8||52%||21%||Trump +31%|
|TIPP Insights||May 3-5||55%||17%||Trump +38%|
Note that some pollsters ran their polls with multiple conditions; when we had to choose, we favored the results produced by registered voters (as opposed to all adults) and by surveys of the entire Republican field (as opposed to just Trump and DeSantis).
As you can see, Trump is doing just fine with Republican voters, despite the verdict. These polls are so imprecise at this point in the cycle, and vary so much depending on the pollster, that we wouldn't want to read too much into the fact that the former president is five points stronger since the verdict that he was before. That could be for real, or it could be an anomaly, or it could be a dead-cat bounce (albeit the strangest dead-cat bounce we've ever heard of). However, the one thing that is abundantly clear is that the verdict has done no particular harm to Trump with the base.
Meanwhile, the former president is politically savvy enough, at this point, to know that DeSantis is his only real competition for the Republican presidential bid. And so, Trump has been doing what he does so well, namely tear down the Governor. In just the last week, Trump has slammed DeSantis as "disloyal," has gloated that "DeSanctimonious [got] caught in the mouse trap" and so cost Floridians money and jobs, has opined that "[DeSantis has] got no personality. And I don't think he's got a lot of political skill," and has described Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), the Party's newest 2024 presidential candidate, as "a big step up from Ron DeSanctimonious, who is totally unelectable" (more on this below).
Once DeSantis becomes an official candidate this week (or maybe next), will he start battling Trump directly? Maybe, but he hasn't exactly shown a willingness to lock horns with the former president so far. What looks much more likely is that all the non-Trump candidates are going to focus on tearing each other apart, in hopes that one of them eventually emerges as the king (or queen) of the non-Trump candidates. Because, of course, that worked oh-so-well in 2016. What was it again, that Rita Mae Brown (not Albert Einstein) said about insanity? (Z)