By Carl Campanile
Donald Trump has a commanding lead in Republican primary polls, but right-leaning independent voters worry if he’s the GOP presidential pick, he’ll lose again to Joe Biden, according to an analysis of swing voters conducted for a pro-Ron DeSantis PAC.
“What has changed is the number of right leaning independents expressing grave concern that Trump cannot beat Biden. For them this is a simple pragmatic realization, if Trump wins the GOP nomination, Biden gets re-elected. Importantly, DeSantis is the most preferred alternative by far,” the online monitoring firm Impact Social said in its analysis provided for the pro-DeSantis Ready to Win PAC.
But the Trump campaign immediately slammed the analysis as shoddy desperation from DeSantis’ camp, pointing out the Real Clear Politics average of recent national polling has Trump in a dead heat with Biden and leading by 5 points in the just released Harvard-Harris poll.
The new analysis by Impact Social monitored online and social media statements of 40,000 swing voters from July 5 to July 19.
In the analysis, swing voters are broken into 10 categories: disillusioned Trump voters; undecided; Biden skeptics; Never-Trumpers and more moderate Republicans; independents; those who voted for Barack Obama and then Trump; abstainers; Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders/far left supporters turned off by Biden; ex-Democrats; and third party voters.
Trump generated the most negative commentary among swing voters, with 15% expressing positive statements, 55% negative and about 30% neutral — or a minus 40 percentage points, the analysis said.
By comparison, 19% of swing voters expressed positive views of DeSantis, 31% negative and 50% neutral — or minus 12 percentage points.
Some voters’ comments from the analysis included that:
- “Trump can NOT win the general election. It’s NOT about dividing the party. It’s about winning the general election;”
- “Trump can’t win period.. I’ll roll my chances with DeSantis winning over moderate Dems and Independents – who HATE Trump’s guts with a passion;”
- “If DeSantis doesn’t win, we’re screwed” and “It’s ride or die with desantis, no one else has a shot;”
- “DeSantis will get the cross-over vote (just like Ronald Reagan did). Trump will not.”
Ready to Win counsel Dan Backer questioned the reliability of current public polling — particularly on the general election.
“Anti-polling is honest, reliable, and true. And it confirms what people already know: Donald Trump can’t beat Joe Biden. Only Ron DeSantis can, and only he can win the primary to do it,” Backer said.
“I’m not anti-Trump, after voting for him in 2016 and 2020, but he lost—badly—the last time around. Every single shred of reputable data is crystal clear: Swing voters have utterly abandoned Trump, and he cannot win a general election. Only DeSantis can.”
Trump campaign pollster John McLaughlin scoffed at the analysis.
“This is desperation. They’re grasping at straws. DeSantis is collapsing,” he told The Post on Sunday.
McLaughlin asserted Trump is running stronger than DeSantis and his own national campaign polling shows some working class voters switching from Biden to Trump.
“There are too many swing voter segments missing from this analysis,” he said. “In our national polling we have found among likely 2024 voters, 7% of all voters voted for Biden in 2020, but are not voting for him now. Half are undecided. Half are actually voting for Trump.”
“They are working class voters who overwhelmingly say the country is on the wrong track, disapprove the job Biden has done and are most concerned with inflation and immigration,” McLaughlin continued. “They are the exploited working class voter. … They exist in sizable numbers so much so Trump now leads Biden in the national popular vote. Why else is Biden trying to indict his leading opponent? Biden is worried and DeSantis is desperate.”
According to a Real Clear Politics average of recent national polls, both Trump and DeSantis are competitive against Biden — with Biden leading Trump by 0.5% and DeSantis by 1.5%, both within the margin of error.
Trump is polling well despite two criminals indictments — one alleging he mishandled classified documents after he left office and one that he falsified business records connected to hush payments to porn actress Stormy Daniels. He has denied wrongdoing and has pleaded not guilty.
Trump could also face another indictment, revealing last week his lawyers told him he’s a target of special counsel Jack Smith’s investigation into the events surrounding the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot — and that he’s prepared for “an Arrest and Indictment” in the case.