(The Hill) — Former President Donald Trump holds a 17-point lead over Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in a hypothetical GOP primary matchup, according to a new poll.
A Morning Consult poll released Wednesday showed Trump with 48% support among potential Republican primary voters, followed by DeSantis with 31%. Trump’s front-runner position differs from some polls since the November midterm elections, which have shown DeSantis closing the gap with Trump or taking a lead in some cases.
Former Vice President Mike Pence came in third with 8%, followed by former Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming with 3%. Nikki Haley, a former South Carolina governor and former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas both received 2%.
Trump’s support in Morning Consult polls over the past month has stayed between 45% and 50%, while DeSantis has hovered near 30%.
Among Trump voters in the most recent poll, DeSantis is comfortably the second choice, with 44% backing the Florida governor. About 20% would support Pence, and 7% would back Cruz.
Just over a third of DeSantis supporters would vote for Trump as their second choice, while 14% would support Pence and 13% would back Haley.
Pollsters found Trump’s favorability rating among potential Republican primary voters to be improving over the past month, with 77% having a favorable view of him. Trump’s net favorability rating, taken from subtracting the percentage who view him unfavorably from the percentage who view him favorably, passed 50% in the Morning Consult polling for the first time in almost a month.
Almost 7 in 10 potential voters have a favorable view of DeSantis.
DeSantis has an advantage among potential voters who view each of them unfavorably. Only 11% said they view DeSantis unfavorably, while 23% said they view Trump unfavorably.
The poll did show that DeSantis would perform somewhat better against President Joe Biden in a hypothetical general election match-up than Trump would. DeSantis led Biden by 3 points, 44% to 41%, while Biden led Trump by 3 points, 43% to 40%.
Pollsters found two-thirds or more of respondents said they have not heard anything recently about any of the other potential candidates.
Trump became the first major Republican candidate to jump in the race in November, but several other prominent Republicans have indicated they are considering running. DeSantis has not made a public announcement but has been the subject of heavy speculation surrounding his presidential ambitions.
The poll was conducted from Jan. 13 to 15 among 829 potential Republican primary voters. The margin of error was 4 percentage points.