So it seems useful to understand exactly who is supporting Trump — and whether the numerous criminal charges against the former president have impacted his nomination prospects.
We are a multi-university team of social scientists working since 2010 conduct surveys regularly Americans in all 50 states as of April 2020.
Our most recent poll, conducted from June 29, 2023 to August 1, 2023, included 7,732 Republicans or Republican-leaning independents. We examined which of these respondents supported Trump in the 2024 Republican primary and how they responded to his impeachment in June 2023 withholding of secret documents.
Since no other Republican candidate While our poll garnered more than 5% support, let’s focus on Trump and his closest rival, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
In harmony with current pollswe found that Trump has a comfortable 40-point lead over DeSantis.
While Trump leads DeSantis in almost every major demographic category, his lead among Hispanic voters is particularly large. The same is true for Republicans who say they have no higher education, and for those who are very conservative, live in very rural areas, or have lower incomes.
(The Conversation, CC-BY-ND / Matthew Baum / Jonathan Schulman)
Very conservative voter support
Individuals who described themselves as “very conservative” made up 14% of Republicans in our poll. Your support for Trump in 2024 is overwhelming: you support Trump over DeSantis by a margin of 69 to 12.
A recently FiveThirtyEight report showed that the most conservative Republicans were not always such strong supporters of Trump, but their support has increased significantly since Trump’s election in 2016.
Highly conservative respondents were also the most likely to say they were certain of which 2024 candidate they supported. Only 5% of this group said they hadn’t made up their minds yet, compared to 19% of moderate Republicans who weren’t sure who to vote for.
Although the 77-year-old Trump is more than three decades older than DeSantis, he enjoys significantly more support among younger Republicans.
About 53% of Republicans ages 25 to 44 said they would support Trump, while just 9% of those people said they would vote for DeSantis. And 48% of even younger Republicans, ages 18 to 24, favored Trump, compared to 7% who support DeSantis.
In contrast, the gap between the two candidates is narrower for Republicans aged 65 and over. While 53% of this group supports Trump, 14% said they favor DeSantis.
However, Republicans aged 18 to 24 were significantly more likely to vote for a candidate other than Trump or DeSantis than people in other age groups or said they didn’t know who they would vote if the election happened today .
Hispanic and white voters
Trump has a major advantage over DeSantis across all racial and ethnic groups we surveyed, but especially Hispanic and white Republicans.
We found that Trump has a 45-point lead over DeSantis among Hispanic Republicans, who are more supportive of him than any other racial and ethnic group we’ve studied.
About 52% of white Republicans we polled said they support Trump, compared to 12.1% who favored DeSantis. Among other ethnic groups, including Asian Americans and Blacks, the difference in favoring Trump over DeSantis was smaller.
(The Conversation, CC-BY-ND / Matthew Baum / Jonathan Schulman)
No geographic or socioeconomic boundary
Trump has a sovereign lead over DeSantis in all geographic areas, but his lead is particularly large among Republicans in very rural communities.
Hispanic Republican voters were more likely to support Trump than those from any other racial or ethnic group.
Among those who describe the area they live in as “very rural,” Trump has a whopping 51-point lead over DeSantis. Trump’s share of the vote among rural Americans increased from 2016 to 2020 and remains a strong base of his support through the 2024 primary.
Trump also has a large lead over DeSantis regardless of socioeconomic status, but the gap between lower-income and lower-educated Republicans is widening.
For example, among Republicans with a college or college degree, Trump had a 45-to-15 lead over DeSantis, among Republicans without a college degree, the lead jumped to 55-to-9. Among white respondents without a college degree, Trump has a 47-point lead, which at white college-educated respondents shrinks to 29 points.
Trump’s legal troubles are not a determining factor
We randomly embedded an experiment into our poll in which we asked a series of questions about Trump’s recent indictment in the Mar-a-Lago classified document case, before or after we asked Republicans their preferred candidate for 2024.
Our goal was to test whether encouraging people to think about the impeachment influenced respondents’ support for Trump.
Trump’s impeachment has given some Republican voters pause for thought, but that concern doesn’t lead them to support DeSantis.
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Republicans who believed Trump’s impeachment was justified were significantly less likely to support Trump in the 2024 primary, but were no more likely to support DeSantis.
The impact of answering questions about Trump’s impeachment immediately before, rather than after, the 2024 primary preferences question was strongest among self-proclaimed moderate Republicans, who make up 29% of Republicans in our poll.
Among these moderate Republicans, answering questions about Trump’s impeachment before the question about the preference of the 2024 Republican primary reduced support for Trump by six percentage points.
Among moderate Republicans, answering questions about Trump’s impeachment lowered his support by six points.
Of the 18% of Republicans who believed Trump’s impeachment was justified, only 10% said they supported DeSantis in 2024, compared to 25% who still supported Trump.
However, when asked to consider Trump’s impeachment immediately before answering the 2024 nomination question, conservative and very conservative Republicans increased support for Trump by three percentage points.
This gives credibility to the idea some Republicans have articulated that impeachments could benefit Trump, albeit only among the most conservative Republicans.
The Bigger Picture
Our poll results show that Donald Trump has a significant edge over the competition at this stage in the race for the 2024 Republican Party nomination.
However, Trump’s support is not uniform among all Republicans — for example, it is significantly higher among Republicans who identify with some of these characteristics: less wealthy or educated, rural, older, Hispanic or white ethnicity, or very conservative.
The retreat from Trump by moderate Republicans after we reminded them of the classified-document charges leaves the possibility of more indictments — like the second, by the Justice Department on August 2, 2023, for attempts to overturn the 2020 election results — announced could have a negative impact on Trump’s campaign for the Republican nomination, particularly among moderate voters.
Of course, our findings also suggest that Trump’s indictments could further strengthen his ideologically conservative base.
Taken together, despite possible impeachment effects, our results paint a picture of Trump’s overwhelming dominance in nearly every branch of the Republican Party.
about Trump, DeSantis and the 2024 race