Poll: Ron DeSantis Falls to Third Place in South Carolina

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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is in a distant third place in the early primary state of South Carolina, a September Fox News poll revealed.

As has been consistent with virtually all other surveys, former President Donald Trump stands as the dominant frontrunner in the Republican primary race with 46 percent. That puts him 28 points ahead of former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who maintained her second place status, jumping four points since July to 18 percent support.

Former President Donald Trump on stage before delivering remarks at Windham High School on August 8, 2023, in Windham, New Hampshire. (Scott Eisen/Getty Images)

In July’s survey, DeSantis came in third place with 13 percent support. At that time, he was just one point behind Haley. But now, Haley’s lead has expanded, as she leads him by eight points, with DeSantis falling to ten percent support. South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott trails DeSantis by just one point, with nine percent support.

Most South Carolina primary voters, 58 percent, said they would “definitely” support Trump, but only 33 percent said the same of DeSantis.

Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley campaigns on Wednesday in Bedford, NH. (Photo by Matt Stone/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald via Getty Images)May 24, 2023
Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley campaigns on May 24, 2023, in Bedford, New Hampshire. (Matt Stone/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald via Getty Images)

Even absent of Trump, DeSantis fails to emerge as the favorite second candidate of choice. When asked to choose their second choice candidate if Trump were not in the race, 27 percent choose Haley, followed by DeSantis (22 percent), Scott (14 percent), and anti-woke businessmen Vivek Ramaswamy (11 percent).

The survey was taken September 14-18, among 809 likely GOP primary voters and has a +/- 3.5 percent margin of error.

It comes as DeSantis fails to build momentum, even in the first three states, despite identifying that as his strategy months ago, in July. His failure to do so has even confused potential donors, including Republican megadonor Ken Griffin, who said, “I don’t know his strategy. It’s not clear to me what voter base he is intending to appeal to.”

South Carolina is not the only state where DeSantis is struggling, as a recent CNN New Hampshire Primary Poll, conducted by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center, found the presidential hopeful collapsing to fifth place in the Granite State.

 

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