Donald Trump takes double-digit lead among California Republican primary voters, new poll says

Donald Trump has taken a wide lead in CA's 2024 Republican presidential primary -- eclipsing closest rival Fla. Gov. Ron DeSantis

Liz Kreutz Image
ByLiz Kreutz KGO logo
Tuesday, May 30, 2023
Donald Trump takes double-digit lead among CA Republicans: poll
Former president Donald Trump has taken a wide lead in California's 2024 Republican presidential primary -- eclipsing Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Former president Donald Trump has taken a wide lead in California's 2024 Republican presidential primary -- eclipsing Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, his closest rival, by double digits, according to a new poll from the Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies.

According to the poll released over the weekend, Donald Trump has 44% support among likely Republican voters in California. DeSantis -- who officially jumped into the race last week with a glitchy announcement on Twitter -- has 26% support.

It's a big change from this same poll three months ago. In February, DeSantis was beating Trump with 37% support, compared to 29% for the former president.

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In the latest poll, no other Republican presidential candidate got more than 4% support.

"Not surprising," John Dennis, the chair of the San Francisco Republican Party, told ABC7 News. "I think this is a Republican thing in particular. We like to go with the guy with whom we're familiar."

Steve Maviglio, a Democratic political strategist, said it's notable the new poll comes after the indictment of former president Trump and a jury finding Trump liable for sexual assault of E. Jean Carroll.

"The ironic part is it comes after some indictments of Donald Trump which actually made him more popular among his Republican base," Maviglio said. "And it's also interesting to see that about 80% of voters say it's all just politics, so with more coming up in the next few months, Republican voters might just shrug it off."

Asked what Democrats should take away from the poll, Maviglio said: "I think the real concern is not so much Democrats in California, but the other Republican candidates like Ron DeSantis who came in with a flurry of activity and was touted as an alternative, and has just fallen like a rock, and has had a horrible couple weeks with the debut of his official campaign."

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Dennis said he does not see another Republican candidate overtaking Trump at this point. "He has too many things on his side. Name recognition, money, infrastructure," Dennis said.

Maviglio said some Democrats believe President Biden may have a better shot winning reelection if Trump does win the nomination. "You know, it's a strange phenomenon for Democrats, because on one hand, god forbid he's reelected or becomes the nominee," he said. "On the other hand Joe Biden beat him once and Democrats are pretty confident based on the Midterm elections and the results of the last presidential election they can beat him again."

But Maviglio said with still more than six months to go before any votes are cast in the primary, he is not convinced Trump is a shoe-in for the Republican nomination.

"I think the race is early and it's very fluid," he said. "There's still a lot of room for another Republican that may emerge early in the year."

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