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Is DeSantis Floundering?

Is DeSantis Floundering?

In the early days of the 2024 presidential election, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis was looking like the political dragon slayer – with former President Trump being the dragon, of course. 

In fact, early polls split between a slight plurality for Trump and a slight plurality for DeSantis.  Neither of them was tracking with more than 50 percent of the Republican primary voters – but, in terms of polling strength, Trump and DeSantis are the only ones that count at this juncture.

But the trend has not been going in DeSantis’ favor.  Trump’s numbers have tended to move up, and DeSantis’s numbers down.  Looking at the recent Morning Consult poll, they had Trump at 45 and DeSantis at 34 in January – an 11-point gap.  In February, it was 48 percent for Trump and 30 percent for DeSantis – an 18-point gap.  In early March, Trump moved over the 50 percent mark with 52 percent to DeSantis’ 28 percent – a 24-point gap.  Later in March, Trump moved up to 54 percent, with DeSantis at 26 – a 28-point separation. 

Looking at it one way, DeSantis only dropped 6 points over the past two months.  On the other hand, it is a loss of almost 20 percent of his support

This is consistent with a recent history of frontrunners not doing well in the end.  Most pundits use that history to evaluate DeSantis’ long-term chances – but they forget that it is Trump who is the early leader.  What is past may not be prologue this year, however, since we have a very rare situation – a President attempting to seek a second non-consecutive term.  That only happened once before – and that was Grover Cleveland in 1892.

The question is whether Trump is surging or DeSantis is slipping.  Based on the Morning Consult poll, Trump seems to have gained more than DeSantis has lost.

Yes, it is much too early in the presidential campaign season to make any well-grounded predictions.  DeSantis is not yet an official candidate.  Trump has a gauntlet of sequential legal cases that are the political version of the trials of Hercules.

And as for DeSantis, he does not need to fight for the lead.  In fact, he should not. A presidential campaign is more like a marathon than a sprint.  You do not want to claim an early lead that would not be sustainable in the long run.

If DeSantis has a political Achilles Heel, it may be his seeming effort to compete with Trump for the Trump hardcore base – which I estimate to be between 15 to 20 percent of Republican primary voters.  More about that in a later commentary.

So, there ‘tis.

About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry Horist Larry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.


  1. frank stetson

    Analyzing 2024 polls before he enters the race. Really? Not your usual style. Guess your hat’s in the ring! :>)

    “If DeSantis has a political Achilles Heel, it may be his seeming effort to compete with Trump for the Trump hardcore base.” You got that right, spanky! Didn’t work in the midterms, why would it work now? Just because Trumplicant Magarat assholes grab the microphone and blackout the news spotlight, it does not mean they can grab the voter by the pussy. The press loves them, they make good copy, but the people, not so much. Most would just like to forget Trump.

    Even you had tossed Trump to the Belgian block curbs of Mar A Loser just to seen him get dragged back by those Soror’s backed Manhattan DA animals.

    DeSanctimonious (how did Trump even know how to spell my branding?) is also is getting known as the feckless warrior against the woke. He’s mostly making headline noise but no actual waves. His latest Trump extradition experiment is a feckless felonious crash n burn from the get-go, one more hot-air balloon in a string of shameless PR pufferies targeting Trump’s base, alienating many others, and ultimately doing nothing of the actionable kind which ultimately may tick everyone off. All hat, no cow.

    He’s got plenty of time, but better get truly national soon, and better start packing some punches instead of just whiffing the ball.

    And you know that we just gots to be lovin it. It’s much better than watching Biden stutter, stumble, and fall.

  2. JoeyP

    They’re both good men and would make a good president. However, I believe as good as either one of them are, POTUS Trump may probably be the FRONT runner. It’s still too early to tell at this point . . . ANYTHING can HAPPEN.

  3. Tom

    I wonder if Trump’s numbers would be as high if he were not being dogged by that NY DA Soros employee. I think Frank got that one right. Seems to me that the rise in Trump’s numbers roughly correspond to the rise in news coverage of Trump’s potential indictment. And the way I see it, Trump wins either way and will never spend a day in jail. If Trump is found innocent of all charges, then it just proves all of his talking points. If Trump is found guilty, then we will have the “persecuted Trump convicted by a sham Dem rigged jury” running for POTUS. Either way, his base will come out big time for him. Their bruised and battered leader will rise like the Phoenix. This will be what causes DeSantis to lose because I do not think DeSantis has much of a base outside of FL, he has yet to really go national. And Trump will try his best to drag out the proceedings so that his base remains energized. All in all, right now, it seems like the DEMs are doing an excellent job of controlling the minds of the GOPs. GOPs are not smart enough to push Trump aside and back someone who has popular appeal and can win over the broader spectrum of voters in a national election. GOP is still the party of Trump. Sad, very sad.

    As for this Independent / Unaffiliated voter, I really do not care right now. Let the boys fight it out. Let the media bombard us with Trump news. Let the DEMs pull the GOP puppet strings a little while longer. It really does not matter to me. It’s spring time! Time to plant the garden and watch the miracle of Miracle Grow. Time to admire my beautiful lawn and the wonder of Scott’s 2 + 2, Time to fill my mug and watch my Phillies march to another title. Cubs are a one-hundred year team so I am not bothering with them. Time to fall in love with my beautiful queen Dow Jones. Time to watch Biden stutter, stumble, and fall his way to another nomination. Ahhhh, life is good!!!

    • larry Horist

      Tom … It should be obvious to everyone that Trump is getting a sympathy reaction from voters. Even Captain Obvious (aka Frank Stetson) figured that out. That suggests that a lot of folks are seeing the prosecutions as excessive. And as far as you contention that DeSantis does not have a national base, he has one that is already far larger than every candidate with the exception of Trump. And DeSantis is new to the scene. Trump has been part of the news everyday for 11 years. I do not believe the summer of 2024 will look anything like today.

  4. frank stetson

    Of course it’s the court case; Trump has planned it, is playing it, and will primary anyone who pushes against it from his own party. He pre-announced it. At the same time, his campaign team called the players to pay fealty to the King, or else be primaried. If you are in a tighter race, you submit. If not, you may or may not. Only a few will stand up and tell it like it is: we are a nation of laws, innocent until guilty, and let’s go to court —- fyi will probably take a year, more likely more, to even get a date. It’s time for motions and to see them get knocked down. This one has a pretty long paper trail, only the merger of laws is of real risk.

    Yes, he’s pulled in millions already, but pretty sure the Deplorables will not rise again this time like on 1.6.2021. Even the most fervent can see the result of those dangerous actions.

    Being Frank….whatever….this one will be put to sleep with a few newsbreaks for the motions, until they announce a court date. Really, the next bigger bang will be either Georgia, Mar A Document, or 1.6.2021, probably in that order. IMO, GA will be next and that one will be more fun — bring on the popcorn, roll that phone call one more time. Spoiler alert: the foreman says there are other taped phone calls. Apparently you don’t need to announce recording in Georgia, gotta love State’s rights on these laws. Just like abortion is a State’s Rights issues because, as you know, getting pregnant is different in all 50 States. So, states rights for the grand jury reveal, the phone call secret recordings — all will make for more fun, fun, fun. State’s rights or Karma’s a bitch, you be the judge, pun intended!

  5. Sarah Jones

    I found this post about the 2024 presidential election very interesting. It’s fascinating to see how the early polls are shaping up and how the numbers are changing over time. It’s clear that both Trump and DeSantis are strong contenders for the Republican nomination, but it’s also clear that Trump’s numbers have been trending upward while DeSantis’s numbers have been trending downward.

    My question is: What do you think is causing the shift in polling numbers between Trump and DeSantis? Is it because Trump still has a strong base of supporters, or is there something else at play here?

  6. Msanthrope

    What is hampering DeSantis is his lack of depth and experience on international affairs. I think at this point only Trump can deal with the international bullies of Russia and China. “Peace through Strength” . Dictators around the world feared Trump because he was unpredictable and showed strong resolve in keeping the interests of his country as his priority. I would like to see DeSantis given a major position in the Trump administration so he will be ready to carry on in 2028.