Trump favorability did not suffer even though he skipped GOP debate

By Victor Winston, updated on September 3, 2023

The recent decision by former President Donald Trump to abstain from the first Republican primary debate did not dent his favorability, according to a new survey.

The latest Morning Consult survey revealed that Trump's favorability remains unchanged. A significant 76% of potential Republican primary voters still view him in a positive light. This percentage has been consistent for the past two weeks.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, on the other hand, holds the second-highest favorability. Currently, 63% of respondents have a favorable opinion of him. This is a slight decrease from the 65% he garnered two weeks prior.

Interestingly, last week saw Trump and DeSantis tied in unfavorability. However, DeSantis has now edged past Trump. About 24% of those surveyed have an unfavorable view of DeSantis, while 22% feel the same about Trump.

Other candidates' standings post-debate

Businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, known for his anti-woke stance, enjoys a 53% favorability rating after the debate. However, a notable 13% of respondents admitted to not knowing him. Additionally, 19% now have an unfavorable opinion of him, Breitbart reported.

Most candidates who participated in the Milwaukee debate last week have a net positive rating. This includes former Vice President Mike Pence, former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, and South Carolina Senator Tim Scott. Yet, 48% view former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie unfavorably, while only 22% have a positive view of him.

Former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson also faces challenges. A quarter of those surveyed have an unfavorable opinion of him, while only 17% view him favorably.

Trump's decision to skip the debate

The survey was conducted between August 24-27, 2023, and included 791 potential Republican primary voters. It has a margin of error of +/- 4%.

Trump's allies believe his decision to skip the Fox News debate was the right one. Instead of participating, Trump promoted his exclusive interview with Tucker Carlson, which was released just five minutes before the debate began.

Trump hasn't been silent post-debate. He continues to mock his challengers on social media, especially targeting Ron DeSantis. He compared DeSantis's situation to that of Chris Christie, who, according to Trump, spent most of his final year as New Jersey Governor in New Hampshire.

Recent data on DeSantis's performance

Trump highlighted the "really BAD Polling for Ron DeSanctimonious." He suggested that DeSantis should focus more on Florida.

Trump recalled how Christie left New Jersey with a record-low 8% approval rating and was subsequently rejected by New Hampshire.

Recent data from Victory Polling indicates that DeSantis is losing ground in his home state. Trump seems to be asserting his dominance in the race. Over the summer, there has been a significant 36-point swing from DeSantis to Trump in Florida.

According to the data:

2024 Florida Republican Primary (Shift since 5/27):
Trump 59% (+21)
DeSantis 23% (-15)
Christie 4%
Ramaswamy 3% (+3)
Haley 2% (-1)
Pence 1% (-2)
Scott 1% (-2)

Conclusion and reflections

It's evident that Trump's decision to skip the debate did not harm his favorability. His consistent ratings and the shift in DeSantis's numbers in Florida are testament to this. Other candidates have had varied results post-debate, with some seeing a rise in unfavorability.

  • Trump's favorability remains steady at 76%.
  • DeSantis's favorability has slightly decreased to 63%.
  • Most candidates from the Milwaukee debate have a net positive rating.
  • Trump continues to mock his challengers, especially DeSantis.
  • Recent polling data shows a significant swing from DeSantis to Trump in Florida.

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About Victor Winston

Victor is a freelance writer and researcher who focuses on national politics, geopolitics, and economics.

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