Over the past week, the trend lines showing the steady erosion of support for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in a head-to-head matchup against Donald Trump have become undeniable. Last week, The New York Times' Nate Cohn noted that a dozen polls over the past several months demonstrated DeSantis' declining fortunes. A Morning Consult poll this week showed a similar progression.
Now Monmouth University polling finds that over the past three months, Trump has gained 15 points while DeSantis has lost 12 points. So while DeSantis held a solid edge over Trump in Dec. at 39%-26%, the reverse is now true with Trump dominating at 41%-27%. Just last month, the two were tied at 33% each.
“The movement Trump created is sticking by their standard-bearer. That’s enough for Trump to overcome weaker support among the less MAGA portion of the Republican electorate, at least for now,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.
CNN analyst and electoral data guru Ronald Brownstein saw shades of 2016 in the poll's cross tabs.
"Getting some strong 2016 vibes from this @MonmouthPoll," tweeted Brownstein. "Like then, Trump ~40% overall & 47% w/non col Rs-exactly his 2016 showing. He’s only at 24% w/col+ Rs, even less than then, but as in 16 they are split: DeSantis leads w/them but at just 33%. Miles to go but similar patterns."
Civiqs tracking of DeSantis' favorability rating shows a similar downward trend. While DeSantis' favorables in mid-December were roughly even at 46%, he is now 10 points underwater, 41%-51%.
Most of that change has come among independents, though his favorable rating among Republicans has decreased about a handful of points since December.
But the shift was more dramatic among independent voters, who favored DeSantis by 11 points in December, 51%-40% but now show a 7-point deficit in favorability, 42%-49%—a -18-point net shift.
It’s early—voting doesn't even begin until early next year. But DeSantis simply can't afford to show this type of vulnerability with the grassroots now as he tries to bring more donors and high-profile endorsements into the fold.
For Trump, it's a dream. The early stumbling by DeSantis reinforces the idea that Trump’s invincible, which could become a self-fulfilling prophecy in the Republican primary.