A recent survey of Republican primary voters conducted by Florida Atlantic University Mainstreet PolCom Lab shows Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) trailing behind Donald Trump by 20 points in the race for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination.

DeSantis’ possible defeat in his home state sets the tone for the upcoming Republican primaries, which will start in January 2024. The poll showed that 50% of registered Florida voters would currently back Trump, and only 30% would back their own governor. The next closest candidate was Vivek Ramaswamy, with support from 4% of the participants.

Trump was arrested and arraigned last month for 37 charges pertaining to willful retention of national security information and conspiracy to obstruct justice. The former president is alleged to have kept more than 300 classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago residence and is awaiting a Florida trial.

Regardless of his legal woes, Trump is still garnering support from Floridians. DeSantis has even come under scrutiny in recent weeks for not pledging his loyalty to the former president, should he be elected as the GOP nominee. Republicans — specifically M.A.G.A. Republicans — have voiced concern that DeSantis’s anti-Trump rhetoric suggests a greater lack of respect for the party.

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In light of this, DeSantis has attempted to boost his conservative credentials by taking strong stances on policy issues. He is known for battling “wokeness” in Florida, stating in a Philadelphia speech that he aims to “leave woke ideology in the dustbin of history.” The governor has pushed through a series of anti-LGBTQ bills, most notably passing a “Don’t Say Gay” bill that limits schools’ ability to discuss gender identity and sexual orientation in the classroom.

Despite his efforts, DeSantis continues to lag in the polls. Still, questions remain about the former president’s ability to run while facing criminal charges and a possible conviction.

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