DeSantis Picks Up Support With Young Republicans – Places First in Nat’l Straw Poll
Governor Ron DeSantis is picking up support among younger Republican voters across the country, according to a new report. While former President Donald Trump continues to dominate the Republican primary field, DeSantis appears to be making inroads with conservatives under 30, ranking first in a recent national straw poll.
A report published by USA Today on Thursday included interviews with young Republican leaders nationwide. Conservatives in their teens, 20s, and 30s were asked to give their thoughts on the ongoing primary battle. The outlet reported overwhelming support for the Florida Governor.
“I think for young Republicans, it’s very clear who their favorite is,” said William Atkins, a freshman at Seton Hall University. Atkins, at 18 years old, is the founder and former chairman of the High School Republican National Federation.
Straw Poll Results Are In! 🗳️ YRs across the country participated in a straw poll at YRNC Dallas. And it's clear that YRs are divided between two contenders. Ron DeSantis comes in with 36.6% of the support, closely followed by Donald Trump at 35.4%.
— Young Republicans (@yrnational) August 31, 2023
Atkins was less enthusiastic about nominating Trump in 2024. In that scenario, the teen Republican predicts a landslide electoral defeat for the GOP.
“If he is the nominee, we’ll probably lose the House of Representatives. We won’t win as many seats in the Senate as we hope. And we’re not even going to end up winning the White House,” he told the outlet.
“So really, if we want to win in 2024 and if we want to make a change, we need to nominate somebody who appeals to the broader American public.”
At 31 years old, Rafael Struve says he holds a similar outlook. Struve is the communications director for the Texas Young Republicans. He expects the recent indictments of the former President will hurt his chances among independents.
“We really do need independents and moderates to sway in our direction,” Struve told USA Today.
“A lot of folks like myself – I am a two-time Trump voter – see the record of Gov. DeSantis … and young voters are starting to see it as more of a palatable alternative…”
“[Trump] sort of shook up what was maybe perceived as sort of an establishment zombie culture,” Struve added. “But I think there’s this need, there’s a desire of return to sanity.”
When asked for their thoughts on last month’s GOP primary debate, most young Republicans expressed that DeSantis had performed best.
Prominent 🇺🇸 US politicians by their age
Dianne Feinstein: 90
Nancy Pelosi: 83
Mitch McConnell: 81
Bernie Sanders: 81
Joe Biden: 80
Donald Trump: 77
Elizabeth Warren: 74
Chuck Schumer: 72
Kamala Harris: 58
Kevin McCarthy: 58
Hakeem Jeffries: 52
Marco Rubio: 52
Ted Cruz: 52
— The Spectator Index (@spectatorindex) August 30, 2023
The report’s findings appear backed up by a recent straw poll. At the National Young Republican Convention in Dallas last month, DeSantis narrowly edged out Trump by 36.6% to 35.4%. Roughly 300 attendees cast votes.
In his interview with USA Today, Atkins also cited a March poll of roughly 90 high school-aged Republicans from a leadership program in Naples. He claimed DeSantis had won by 54 to 45 percent.
In general polls of GOP primary voters, Trump, however, continues to hold a commanding lead, estimated at nearly 40 points by Real Clear Politics.
Nonetheless, younger voters continue to show concern over America’s frontrunners’ age, with Trump turning 77 in June and Biden turning 81 in November.
“The youth factor is something that is relatable to younger voters because they are nervous about the idea of having somebody who is older and might be more susceptible to health complications during their time in office,” Struve said.
“We really do need folks who have the energy, who have the vigor necessary to be able to tackle a lot of daunting challenges once they take the White House.”
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