Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who hasn't officially announced 2024 presidential bid yet, finally stepped into the campaign fray Monday with a jab about Donald Trump "paying hush money to a porn star."
"I can't speak to that," DeSantis told reporters, feigning naïveté about such a sordid topic.
It was DeSantis' first real swipe at Trump after he had been absorbing body blows for over a month, but did it come too late?
A new Morning Consult tracking poll updated Tuesday suggested continued slippage for DeSantis.
Here's the breakdown of candidates who even register:
- Trump 54% (+28)
- DeSantis 26%
- Pence 7%
- Haley 4%
- Cheney 3%
- Abbott 1%
- Noem 1%
- Pompeo 1%
- Youngkin 1%
- T. Scott 1%
- Ramaswamy 1%
Morning Consult writes that DeSantis' latest showing tied his lowest level of support since the tracker began in December.
Trump has also been steadily gaining steam in the survey for the last couple months, with a 28-point lead now compared to 24 points earlier this month, up from a much weaker 16-point lead in mid-February.
Late last week, New York Times' Nate Cohn analyzed several months of data from a dozen polling outlets regularly tracking the GOP field and found that "every single one" had shown DeSantis losing momentum while Trump made gains.
Morning Consult's latest survey was conducted March 17-19, so it does not incorporate any reactions to the latest dustup between Trump and DeSantis. But it does incorporate DeSantis flip-flopping on Ukraine with his new declaration that its conflict with Russia is merely a "territorial dispute" that does not lie within America's "vital" strategic interests.
DeSantis has been enduring months of withering attacks from Trump, but things are about to get a lot hotter.
Sign the petition: Disqualify Trump from running for public office. It’s in the Constitution.
DeSantis threw Trump under the bus. MAGA world is already raging
Is DeSantis flaming out already?
DeSantis cave on Ukraine another win for Trump, loss for McConnell
Trump's withering attacks on DeSantis show signs of connecting
Everyone is beyond tired of sucky fundraising emails foretelling DOOM, but there's a better way. Joshua Karp and Jane Hughes join us on this week's episode of The Downballot to tell us how their new firm, Liftoff Campaigns, is breaking down the traditional silo between communications and digital outreach so that donors are treated like people, not piggybanks. Our guests explain why it's important for every candidate to establish their brand and earn the trust of their supporters rather than pummel them straight away with requests for money, and how best to do so.
Co-hosts David Nir and David Beard also discuss a new effort in Ohio to qualify an amendment for the November ballot that would guarantee abortion rights; the astonishing spending ratio between the two candidates running in Wisconsin's April 4 election for state Supreme Court; why GOP donors in Louisiana are desperately trying to boost an alternative candidate for governor to nutbar Attorney General Jeff Landry; and a brand-new data set from Daily Kos Elections that lets you see how every congressional and legislative district overlaps with one another and with every county in the country.