Trump Maintains Grip on GOP’s 2024 Field Amid Jan. 6 Hearings, but DeSantis Sees Boost
Former President Donald Trump has lost no support among Republican voters for a third presidential bid as a special House committee reveals unflattering details about his culpability for the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, a new Morning Consult/Politico survey shows. Instead, it’s former Vice President Mike Pence — whose associates have been key to some of the panel’s revelations — who is losing ground with the party’s voters, apparently to the benefit of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
The latest 2024 GOP primary data
- According to the June 24-26 survey, 53% of Republican voters would back Trump if the 2024 primary were today, unchanged from a survey conducted just before the House panel began holding its high-profile public hearings in early June.
- Pence, a potential 2024 contender who recently has stumped for candidates targeted by Trump in Republican primaries and seen his associates elevated as important committee witnesses, is backed by 8% of Republican voters, down from 13% before the hearings began.
- Over the same time period, support for DeSantis has increased from 16% to 22% — marking his highest level of support yet. That finding nationally comes after a recent University of New Hampshire survey of that early primary state found Trump effectively tied with the Florida governor.
- The survey tested support for a dozen other potential contenders, from former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley to Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), the Jan. 6 committee’s vice chair. Aside from Trump, DeSantis and Pence, no candidate garnered more than 3% support.
How Jan. 6 is impacting GOP voters’ views on Trump
Very few Republicans (around 15%) said they have seen, read or heard “a lot” about the special panel’s daytime hearings over the course of two weeks, but that doesn’t mean bad coverage about the former president hasn’t been noticed. A Morning Consult survey conducted June 23-25 found 41% of GOP voters had seen, heard or read something “mainly negative” about Trump in recent weeks — up from 24% the weekend before the June 9 hearing in prime time.
While Trump has retained support for a presidential bid and continues to boast a strong favorability rating (84%) with voters in his party, there are signs that the past several weeks, which have kept a steady focus on the worst moments of his presidency, have slightly dampened his standing.
Since a May 19-22 survey, the share of GOP voters who said Trump should play a “major role” in the party fell from 60% to 51%, with those voters increasingly saying he should play either a minor role or no role at all.
While some Republicans may hope that the Jan. 6 proceedings will help them push Trump out of the party, the trend data suggests that might be a tad optimistic. There is, however, still the possibility that the former president’s chances of another GOP presidential bid will be hindered by the criminal justice system, and the latest Morning Consult data — from surveys conducted before former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson’s bombshell testimony Tuesday — already shows ample support for prosecution of the former president.
Voters’ views on the criminality of Trump’s behavior
- Roughly two-thirds of voters (65%) believe Trump attempted to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election in the lead-up to the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, including 88% of Democrats, 68% of independents and 40% of Republicans.
- Among voters who believe Trump attempted to overturn the 2020 result, 3 in 4 think Trump committed a crime, accounting for roughly half of the overall electorate.
- Most Republicans who believe Trump worked to overturn the 2020 outcome say his actions were not criminal, at 57%, while 87% of Democrats and 60% of independents say they constitute a crime that merits prosecution.
The latest Morning Consult/Politico survey was conducted June 24-26, 2022, among a representative sample of 2,005 registered U.S. voters, with an unweighted margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.
Eli Yokley is a senior data reporter at Morning Consult covering politics and campaigns. @eyokley