(The Hill) — Former President Donald Trump expanded his lead over Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in the Sunshine State, according to a new poll from the University of North Florida (UNF) published Tuesday.
About 60 percent of respondents sided with Trump in the poll compared to just 21 percent for DeSantis and 6 percent for former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley in a distant third.
In a head-to-head poll, Trump still leads DeSantis 59-29.
The poll represents the former president’s monumental lead in the GOP primary even though DeSantis remains popular in his home state.
“Despite historically high approval in the polls, Governor DeSantis losing steam in his home state doesn’t bode well for his national campaign,” UNF professor Michael Binder said in a statement. “Even if you wipe out the rest of the competition in a head-to-head, Trump leads DeSantis by 20 points.”
DeSantis has struggled in Florida, losing key endorsements to Trump despite his stronghold over the state’s politics. A majority of Florida’s congressional delegation have supported Trump, including Sen. Rick Scott (R), who made his Trump endorsement clear last week.
“I am optimistic that we can return America to its rightful position of economic and military strength and the undisputed moral leader of the free world, but only with strong leadership in the White House,” Scott said in a Newsweek op-ed last week.
“That is why I support my friend President Donald J. Trump to be the 47th President of the United States and encourage every Republican to unite behind his efforts to win back the White House,” he added.
A July poll placed Trump’s lead at about 20 points in Florida. Since then, the former president has shrugged off attacks from DeSantis over his mounting criminal investigations and policy record while president.
The Florida governor’s 2024 campaign has failed to deliver on high expectations and is now focusing resources on Iowa — likely an effort to drive the campaign with an upset victory in the caucuses in January.
DeSantis gained the influential endorsement of Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) on Monday.
The UNF poll reached about 800 registered voters over the course of two weeks in late October and early November. The margin of error is about 3.8 percent.