2024 is a long way off, and much may happen between now and then. For one thing, Donald Trump may have been indicted and may have served some kind of sentence by then. But putting such possible drama aside, I have seen commentators suggest that Trump could be hard to beat. Even if he only draws, say, 35% of the vote in the early primaries, he could win them if the rest of the vote is split numerous ways. And his momentum could be unstoppable by the time the alternatives are reduced a single opponent.
That is not an impossible scenario, but I don’t think it will happen that way. Consider the Iowa caucuses, which are in the first phase of the process. The New York Post reports on a survey of likely Iowa caucus goers:
Iowa Republicans are turning away from former President Donald Trump in favor of rising star Ron DeSantis, according to a new survey.
A poll released Monday by Neighborhood Research and Media indicated that 32% of likely caucus-goers would make the 44-year-old Florida governor their first choice. Another 30% said their top pick would be the 76-year-old former president.
That is very close, obviously, but the trend is bad for Trump:
The result represents a 23-point swing in the poll from June, when Trump led DeSantis by 38% to 17% — and a 46-point swing from November of last year, when the 45th president led 56% to 12%.
“With support barely half what it was a year ago in a time when DeSantis’s vote has nearly tripled, Trump becomes a severe underdog in the race,” Rick Shaftan of Neighborhood Research and Media wrote in his analysis.
It is also notable that, while 30% of respondents say they are undecided, no other candidate got more than 3% of responses.
I think the trend away from Trump and toward DeSantis and others will continue over the next year, even if Trump is not indicted. It is quite possible that by the time the 2024 nomination process begins in earnest, he could be a spent force.