Some Wisconsin Republican voters are losing faith in former President Trump as a new statewide poll showed Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis beating him by 16 points in a head-to-head primary matchup.
Wisconsin state Sen. Duey Stroebel, a Republican, said the poll shows voters in the state are doubting Trump’s electability amid his recent indictment, while DeSantis has taken a ‘more common sense, level-headed approach’ on the campaign trail.
‘Trump, of course, did a great job as president, but DeSantis is very, very impressive,’ Stroebel told Fox News Digital. ‘And I think more and more people really are doubting Trump’s ability to win a general election, and I think these results kind of prove it.’
The Marquette University Law School Poll released last week showed Trump leading DeSantis by only one percentage point in the crowded GOP primary field. But when asked who they would vote for in a head-to-head matchup between DeSantis and Trump, respondents chose DeSantis over Trump by a whopping 57% to 41%.
John Righeimer, chairman of the Republican Party of Sawyer County, Wisconsin, said he’s noticed much more enthusiasm for DeSantis than Trump in recent months.
‘We just don’t think he can win the general,’ Righeimer said of Trump during an interview with Fox News Digital. ‘I think the Democrats want to run against Trump. I think they know they can beat Trump. Joe Biden stayed in the basement and beat Trump, basically just because of the dislike for Trump.’
‘I don’t think Joe Biden can stay in the basement if someone like Ron DeSantis is running,’ he continued. ‘It will force the Democrats to have to come out and defend what they’re doing versus just hope that the undesirables for Trump is enough for them to carry themselves to victory.’
Stroebel, the state senator, argued that Trump has a tendency to take the more liberal position on issues like abortion, while DeSantis has been ‘pretty rock solid as a conservative.’
‘The people that are paying attention now are probably generally pretty serious observers, and when they look at the issues and the approach to those issues that DeSantis is taking versus Donald Trump, I think they’re seeing a distinct difference, frankly,’ he said.
‘I think it’s extremely important that we pick someone who can win,’ he continued. ‘And, you know, as much as Trump did a great job as president, there is a certain segment of this population that there’s just no way in hell they’re going to vote for Donald Trump. And I think without some of those people, we can’t win a general election with Donald Trump as our is our choice.’
Stroebel noted that the Marquette poll showed 21% of the respondents are ‘undecided’ on picking a Republican nominee.
‘I think it’s worth pointing out that if you’re undecided on a former U.S. president, I would think that would tend to favor someone else,’ Stroebel said. ‘And in this case, DeSantis is the person who’s basically running neck and neck. So I think you could probably say that the vast majority of those undecided voters would probably end up going to DeSantis.’
Wisconsin, which has 10 electoral votes in the Electoral College, is considered a crucial swing state in the 2024 presidential election, and the Marquette poll, which has been described as the ‘gold standard in Wisconsin politics,’ has a 80% accuracy rate, according to FiveThirtyEight.
In the poll, 68% of Republicans and independents who lean Republican said they view Trump favorably, followed by DeSantis at 67%, Pence at 52%, and Haley at 32%.
If the election were held today, with DeSantis being the Republican nominee against President Biden, it would be a pretty close race. Forty-nine percent said they would vote for Biden, with 47% saying the same for DeSantis.
As for an election rematch between Trump and Biden in 2024, a victory for Republicans is more bleak, according to the poll results. Fifty-two percent of respondents said they would vote for Biden, compared to 43% who said the same for Trump.
Fox News’ Kyle Morris contributed to this report.