Half of Republican voters in a national poll conducted after primary debate say they support Trump

September 2, 2023

According to a recent poll conducted by Emerson College, former President Donald Trump is currently in the lead for the Republican primary with the backing of 50% of Republican primary voters.

The poll was conducted on August 25-26, 2023, after the first primary candidate debate was held. It indicated that Trump was supported by 50% of respondents, 38 percentage points ahead of his nearest challenger, as Breitbart News reported.

Anti-woke businessman Vivek Ramaswamy trailed by four points behind Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis who had a support rate of 12%.

Other Candidates' Ratings

With 7% apiece, former Vice President Mike Pence and former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley are tied for third place, and former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's support came in at 5%. South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott garnered just 2% support from Republicans.

Trump still has a sizable advantage, but his support has dropped six percentage points in the previous week, while DeSantis's support has risen two percentage points. Haley gained five points in the polls since last week, and Pence gained four.

“While Trump saw a slight dip in support, the question from this poll is whether this is a blip for Trump or if the other Republican candidates will be able to rally enough support to be competitive for the caucus and primary season,” said Spencer Kimball, executive director of Emerson College Polling.

More Detailed Poll Results

When respondents were asked to pick a candidate based only on those who participated in the Milwaukee debate, the study revealed that DeSantis and Ramaswamy practically split the available votes.

Via Emerson polling results:

When presented with a Republican Primary ballot test with only the debate stage candidates, 30% of voters would support DeSantis, followed by Ramaswamy at 25%, Pence at 16%, and Haley at 12%. Christie (8%), Scott (5%), Hutchinson (3%) and Burgum (3%) round out the field.

Kimball notes, “When Trump is removed from the GOP ballot test, his voters split between DeSantis at 32% and Ramaswamy at 29%, with Pence at 16% — which suggests if Trump was to not run, a race between DeSantis and Ramaswamy could take shape.”

Even while most respondents (57%) said they would "definitely" vote for their preferred candidate, this number is five points lower than it was a week ago.

Trump did not take part in the debate, but Republican primary voters were asked who they thought won, regardless of that fact.

Twenty-seven percent of voters picked Ramaswamy, while 21% picked DeSantis, 12% picked Pence, and 11% picked Haley.

However, 20%of Republicans think there was no clear victor. Even though Trump refused to participate in the debate, a majority of respondents stated it had no impact on their vote for the former president.

The entire survey was conducted on August 25-26, 2023, and included responses from 1,000 eligible voters, with a margin of error of +/- 3 percent.

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