Polls: Ron DeSantis Drops to Third Place in South Carolina, Donald Trump Holds Commanding Leads in Early States

Rebecca S. Gratz for The Washington Post/Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Polls out Sunday from Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina show former President Donald Trump maintaining commanding leads across the three early states in the GOP primary while Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has dropped to third place in South Carolina.

The three surveys show a diminished DeSantis sliding further and further—this is the first time he has not been the second place candidate in any survey this year, national or state-level—and a continually dominant Trump.

The South Carolina poll shows former Gov. Nikki Haley—who also served as Trump’s U.S. ambassador to the United Nations—moving past DeSantis into second place. The Iowa and New Hampshire surveys, while still showing DeSantis in second place, showing other candidates creeping up scarily close behind him suggesting they are about to overtake him there too.

The South Carolina poll, conducted by Fox Business from July 15 to July 19, found Trump at 48 percent. That near-majority support in the first-in-the-south primary state is 34 points better than Haley’s 14 percent. DeSantis, in third place, has 13 percent support, while Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) is right behind him at 10 percent support.

The South Carolina poll surveyed 808 likely GOP primary voters and has a margin of error of 3.5 percent.

GOP pollster Daron Shaw, who along with Democrat pollster Chris Anderson conducted the Fox Business poll, told the network that Trump is the dominant force in the race and there is a scramble between the three others to see who can break out against him if anyone.

“Even though it’s still early, Trump is the proverbial 800-pound gorilla in this race,” Shaw said. “The initial challenge is to see who can become the non-Trump candidate, and in South Carolina that’s currently a three-way race among DeSantis, Haley, and Scott.”

EXCLUSIVE/WATCH: Jack Posobiec: DeSantis Campaign Made “Fundamental Misread of Republican Base”

Jack Knudsen / Breitbart News

This survey was hardly the only bad news for DeSantis from the early states this weekend. An Iowa poll from Fox Business, which surveyed 806 likely Iowa caucus-goers from July 15 to July 19 and has a margin of error of 3.5 percent, also found Trump dominant over the field and DeSantis far behind him.

Trump, the Iowa survey found, is at 46 percent in the Hawkeye State—leading DeSantis by 30 percent. DeSantis, the poll found, is stuck down at just 16 percent in Iowa—while Scott is surging behind him up to 11 percent.

Those three are the only candidates in double digits there, but several other candidates are gaining support as businessman Vivek Ramasawamy has six percent, Haley has five percent, former Vice President Mike Pence has four percent, and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie both have three percent apiece.

This weekend, a new survey out of New Hampshire also shows Trump—while sliding somewhat from previous polling—leading the rest of the field by nearly 30 percent. Trump, at 42 percent in a Daily Mail poll conducted by JL Partners, is 27 points above DeSantis’s 15 percent in the first-in-the-nation primary state.

This poll shows other candidates—particularly Scott and Christie—surging in New Hampshire, eating into DeSantis’s chances of create ng a contrast directly with Trump. Both Scott and Christie are at eight percent in this poll, big swings their way from the Daily Mail’s previous poll of New Hampshire back in April when neither candidate nor DeSantis was officially in the race.

Ramaswamy and Haley are both at four percent, Burgum is at three percent, and Pence is at two percent in this poll. The poll was conducted from July 13 to July 20, surveyed 593 likely GOP New Hampshire primary voters, and has a margin of error of 3.9 percent.


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