Former President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis are in a virtual tie for the 2024 Republican nomination for the country’s highest office, according to a poll commissioned by a super PAC run by Trump national security adviser-turned-critic John Bolton.
Trump led DeSantis 26.2% to 25.2% in a survey of 1,000 likely voters done by Carter Wrenn on behalf of John Bolton Super PAC Sept. 16-18, the organization posted on its website.
The survey delineated the voters as very conservative, somewhat conservative and moderate primary voters.
Former U.S. Attorney and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was a distant third (7.2%), followed by former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (6%), Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas (4.7%), South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (3%), Trump administration Vice President Mike Pence (2.6%), Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina (2.3%), Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida (2.3%) and Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri (1.3%).
Bolton is widely regarded as hawkish, and reports say he and Trump split over differing approaches to Afghanistan. Bolton said the new poll showed a 20% drop for his former boss compared to a similar survey in July; he attributed the decline to Trump’s Afghanistan policy of negotiated withdrawal and the disastrous unilateral action by successor Joe Biden.
“These numbers will probably come as a shock to Donald Trump,” Bolton was quoted as saying in the news release. “After 20 years in Afghanistan, it’s clear that Americans are unhappy with leaving as we did. Voters were smart enough to see that President Trump started the withdrawal and legitimized the Taliban through negotiations.”
Bolton, however, placed blame for the collapse of the Afghan government and the military rout by the Taliban with Biden.
“Biden bears the responsibly for the final embarrassing moments and his corresponding drop in support reflects that, but it’s not lost on anyone that Trump, like Biden, wanted to withdraw and shares the blame for the failure,” Bolton said in the release.
For his part, Trump has released multiple statements asserting that Biden botched the Afghanistan pullout and squandered progress that his own administration had made toward a more methodical and orderly withdrawal. Biden has most recently come under fire amid testimony before Congress in which military leaders said they'd urged him to leave some military presence in Afghanistan.
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