NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — A new poll shows that a majority of Republicans in the Volunteer State are shifting their support to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) ahead of the upcoming 2024 presidential race.
On Tuesday, Vanderbilt University released the latest edition of its “Vanderbilt Poll” which surveyed 1,180 registered voters in Tennessee and asked them about the 2024 election, Tennessee’s economy, education, and a host of other topics.
The poll found that a majority of registered voters are uninterested in a repeat of the 2020 presidential election with only 36% saying they would want Trump to run again for president of the United States.
However, 34% of voters say they consider themselves MAGA supporters rather than supporters of the Republican party.
In the case of a potential head-to-head matchup between DeSantis and former President Donald Trump, 54% say they will support DeSantis.
John Geer, Vanderbilt’s Dean of the College of Arts and Science, says he finds the results surprising considering that Trump won a majority of the Republican vote in Tennessee in previous elections.
“It’s highly unusual, and it’s unusual for a number of reasons,” said Geer, “First of all, a former president who has widespread name recognition is running again, that in of itself is pretty unusual. You have a governor from Florida, who certainly made a name for himself, but still is the governor of Florida, not Tennessee. So, name recognition should hugely benefit Trump, and Trump has a strong base with many Republicans, especially in this state of state, that he’s won by more than 60% of the vote both in 2016 and in 2020. Yet, he’s trailing by double digits. I’m surprised by that.”
Although support for Trump seems to be dwindling in Tennessee, experts say Trump winning the 2024 Republican nomination is still possible.
“Trump could easily win the primary even though he doesn’t have majority support, he might get 30-35% of the votes,” said Geer, “The way that Republicans allocate delegates is he could get all the delegates, even though he doesn’t get anywhere close to a majority.”
The poll also found that only 22% of voters in Tennessee want President Joe Biden to run again for another term.