Trump’s biggest competition

published4 months ago
2 min read

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In this issue

  • Who is Trump's biggest competition in the Republican primary?

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Trump's biggest competition is...

Florida governor Ron DeSantis is officially running for president. The first Republican primary will take place in Iowa early next year, and the question between now and then is: Who will emerge as the preeminent challenger to Trump?

DeSantis has been fading in the polls for months and a bevy of other candidates are jumping into the race. A fractured field could make it easier for Trump to win—again. For now, DeSantis remains far and away the most serious Trump alternative. Will that change?

This week Nonrival is asking:

Will DeSantis have the highest polling among Republican presidential candidates, excluding Trump, by July 31?

​~90% (Very likely)​​​​

​​​~70% (Likely)​​​​

​​​~50% (Uncertain)​​​

​​​​~30% (Unlikely)​​​​

​​​~10% (Very unlikely)

This question will be resolved based on the RealClearPolitics polling average for the Republican primary.



Meet the candidates:

“This week, two candidates officially joined the Republican presidential field: Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina and Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida. They join four other declared candidates: Donald Trump; a former South Carolina governor and U.N. ambassador, Nikki Haley; a former Arkansas governor, Asa Hutchinson; and a businessman, Vivek Ramaswamy. Also, Chris Christie, a former governor of New Jersey, is poised to make another bid for the presidential nomination, and the governor of Virginia, Glenn Youngkin, is reconsidering his decision to take himself out of the race. Gov. Doug Burgum of North Dakota (who?) might make a run, and Trump’s former vice president, Mike Pence, continues to act as if he’s in the ring.” —Jamelle Bouie, New York Times, May 2023

In January, DeSantis was ahead of Trump in the polls—but only in a head-to-head match-up:

“A simple average of head-to-head national polls taken since the midterms puts DeSantis at 48 percent and Trump at 43 percent. But in polls with more than two candidates in the field, Trump almost always leads… Trump seems to have a better chance at recapturing the nomination in a multiway race.” —Nathaniel Rakich, Fivethirtyeight, Jan. 2023

And DeSantis has been losing steam:

“Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida has struggled in recent polling, receiving an average across polls of around 20 percent among Republicans, falling far short of former President Donald J. Trump’s roughly 50 percent. The gap between the two men has grown steadily over the past few months, as Mr. Trump’s share has increased and Mr. DeSantis has lost ground.” —Ruth Igielnik and Andrew Fischer, New York Times, May 2023

Trump regularly attacks DeSantis—and other candidates are starting to:

“Nikki Haley, a former governor of South Carolina and ambassador to the United Nations in the Trump administration, called DeSantis “a mini-Trump … without the charm” in a campaign ad this week.” —Richard Luscombe, The Guardian, May 2023


Will DeSantis have the highest polling among Republican presidential candidates, excluding Trump, by July 31?

​~90% (Very likely)​​​​

​​​~70% (Likely)​​​​

​​​~50% (Uncertain)​​​

​​​​~30% (Unlikely)​​​​

​​​~10% (Very unlikely)

The fine print

Deadline: Make a forecast by 9am ET Wednesday 5/31.

Resolution criteria: The outcome for this question will be determined using data as reported by RealClearPolitics' RCP Poll Average for the 2024 Republican Presidential Nomination.


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