OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.
Former President Donald Trump was already polling well against his 2024 GOP primary rivals, but his campaign just got even better news on the eve of Mike Pence’s announcement he was leaving the race.
“Trump is boasting a 49-point lead over his closest rival, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, this week’s Morning Consult survey found,” Breitbart News reported on Saturday.
“Trump now has support from 62 percent of potential Republican primary voters, which is close to his all-time high of 63 percent in this survey. This puts him 49 points ahead of his closest challenger, DeSantis. The Florida governor comes in a distant second in the lower teens with 13 percent support nationally among potential GOP primary voters. Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley comes in six points behind with seven percent support, followed by Vivek Ramaswamy (six percent),” the outlet’s report continued, citing the survey.
Pence, meanwhile, followed with 5 percent support in the survey, which helps explain the former vice president’s decision to withdraw.
According to our latest tracking, the bulk of the GOP’s electorate (62%) would back Trump if the primary or caucus were held in their state today, while 13% would support DeSantis. https://t.co/zpObC29kvJ pic.twitter.com/1UhrdvYaT1
— Morning Consult (@MorningConsult) October 24, 2023
“This is not my time,” Pence said Saturday at the Republican Jewish Coalition Annual Leadership Summit in Las Vegas.
“Traveling across the country over the past six months, I came here to say it’s become clear to me: this is not my time,” the ex-veep told the crowd. “So, after much prayer and deliberation, I have decided to suspend my campaign for president, effective today.”
“Now, I’m leaving this campaign but let me promise you, I will never leave the fight for conservative values, and I will never stop fighting to elect principled Republican leaders to every office in the land,” he said. “So help me God.”
“You know, we always knew this would be an uphill battle, but I have no regrets. The only thing that would have been harder than coming up short would have been if we’d never tried at all,” Pence added.
“Pence’s theory of his candidacy was simple – he broke from then-President Donald Trump on January 6, 2021, and refocused on the core conservative principles that founded the modern Republican Party with Ronald Reagan, his political beacon,” CNN reported after Pence dropped the news.
The outlet noted further:
Pence, who was Indiana governor and a US congressman before being vice president, announced his campaign in early June. He chose to launch his campaign in Iowa, rather than his home state of Indiana, an indication of how much importance he was placing on the early voting state.
He attempted to visit all of Iowa’s 99 counties, focusing on face-to-face interactions in intimate settings. The Midwestern native leaned on his faith and courted fellow conservative evangelicals, a crucial voting bloc in the state.
Pence’s campaign never gained much traction, and he had trouble qualifying for the first two debates. Trump’s base was particularly tough on the former VP after he announced his withdrawal.
While Trump and President Joe Biden remain neck-and-neck in most national surveys, the former president appears to be pulling ahead of Biden in critical swing states.
A new PRRI Research/Ipsos survey released late last week found that Trump is edging past Trump in a national two-person race, 48–46 percent, with 6 percent saying they did not prefer either candidate, according to Breitbart News.
“However, Trump has a clear advantage over Biden in key swing states such as Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, leading Biden by a difference of six points—49 percent to the 80-year-old’s 43 percent,” the outlet added, citing the survey’s results.
Previous surveys have also shown Trump leading Biden in the critical swing states.
Voters in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin were polled by Bloomberg/Morning Consult, and their results showed that Trump was ahead of Biden by 4 percentage points due to widespread disapproval of the vice president’s handling of the economy.