Former President Donald Trump has no formidable challenger among Republican presidential primary candidates, according to a poll published Saturday.
The poll, published by the Wall Street Journal, showed that Trump is the top choice of 59 percent of GOP primary voters — up 11 percentage points since April. “The new survey finds that what was once a two-man race for the nomination has collapsed into a lopsided contest in which Trump, for now, has no formidable challenger,” a WSJ article on the poll said.
Trump’s lead over Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has nearly doubled since April to 46 percentage points, the survey showed.
Compared to Trump’s 59 percent support, DeSantis garnered only 13 percent, putting him only barely ahead of the rest of the GOP primary field.
That figure represented a collapse of support for DeSantis, which was 24 percent in April.
“DeSantis collapsed,” said Democrat pollster Michael Bocian, who conducted the poll with Republican pollster Tony Fabrizio.
“The one candidate who back in April really seemed to be a potential contender, seemed to have a narrative to tell, has totally collapsed, and those votes went to Trump,” he said.
The poll showed that four indictments of Trump have not hurt him with Republican primary voters.
More than 60 percent polled said the indictments were politically motivated and without merit, according to the poll.
A 78 percent majority even said Trump’s actions after the 2020 election were legitimate efforts to ensure the vote was accurate, while only 16 percent said Trump acted illegally to try to block the certification of the election.
A near majority — 48 percent — said the indictments made them more likely to vote for Trump in 2024, while only 16 percent said they made them less likely to support him.
The poll found that changes in support for Trump are unlikely. About 76 percent of Trump supporters said they are committed to him and will not change their minds. Meanwhile, only 25 percent of DeSantis supporters said they will not change their mind.
The WSJ survey included 600 Republican voters who said they will vote in a presidential primary or caucus. The poll was conducted after the first debate, from August 24-30, which Trump did not participate in. The margin of error was plus or minus four percentage points.
The poll also showed that Republican primary voters thought businessman Vivek Ramaswamy and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley exceeded expectations in debate, but that has not translated into ballot support at five percent and eight percent respectively.
Sen. Tim Scott. (R-SC) and former Vice President Mike Pence have made little headway with only two percent support, with former Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) and Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R-AR) at one percent.