OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.
Former President Donald Trump no doubt caught many Republican voters off-guard on Tuesday when he strongly suggested he won’t take part in any GOP primary debates.
He took to his Truth Social account to lodge a complaint at the party’s leadership that, apparently, no one went through him first since he’s the polling frontrunner: “I see that everybody is talking about the Republican Debates, but nobody got my approval, or the approval of the Trump Campaign, before announcing them. When you’re leading by seemingly insurmountable numbers, and you have hostile Networks with angry, TRUMP & MAGA hating anchors asking the ‘questions,’ why subject yourself to being libeled and abused? Also, the Second Debate is being held at the Reagan Library, the Chairman of which is, amazingly, Fred Ryan, Publisher of The Washington Post. NO!”
“It is an objectively weird flex given the 2016 primary debates are where Trump went from media curiosity to Republican nominee, despite zero experience serving in government — a trait he turned from weakness to strength. There was one primary debate in which Trump opted not to participate in protest, which led some in the chattering class to speculate that was the beginning of the end. It was not,” Mediate noted in response to Trump’s statement.
“Trump’s insistence that Republican debates run through him shows where he thinks he stands compared to the RNC, which has thus far agreed to everything he has asked for — while revealing who the most powerful person in the GOP truly is,” the media analysis outlet noted further.
Trump says that no one got his “approval, or the approval of the Trump Campaign” before announcing the RNC Primary Debates, and says NO to the current plan. pic.twitter.com/K5GFrhElrr
— Charlie Kirk (@charliekirk11) April 25, 2023
A Fox News national survey in late March showed that Trump was extending his lead over his GOP rivals and expected rivals, including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Meanwhile, President Joe Biden is facing uncertainty among Democratic primary voters.
According to the survey released on Wednesday, Republican primary voters were presented with a list of 15 declared and potential candidates for the 2024 nomination. The results show that since February, Trump has doubled his lead and is now ahead of Ron DeSantis by 30 points (54%-24%). In comparison, the former President was only 15 points ahead of DeSantis last month (43%-28%).
“No one else hits double digits. Mike Pence comes in third with 6%, Liz Cheney and Nikki Haley receive 3% each, and Greg Abbott comes in at 2%. All others receive 1% support or less, and just 3% are unsure,” the network reported.
The survey reveals that Trump gained support among nearly every major demographic, except for white men holding a college degree, where DeSantis leads in this demographic by a margin of 12 points.
Within the subset of voters who supported Trump in the 2020 general election, 60% continue to support him in the Republican primary. Meanwhile, 25% back DeSantis, and 5% support Pence.
Regarding second choice preferences, Trump primary voters would select DeSantis, and DeSantis primary voters would reciprocate and choose Trump, Fox News noted regarding its survey results.
“The rumor that Trump is going to be indicted by the district attorney in Manhattan has helped him quite a bit among Republican primary voters,” Republican pollster Daron Shaw, who conducts Fox News surveys with Democrat Chris Anderson, told the network. “They view the case as politically motivated, and it reanimates feelings that Trump is still fighting forces they see as corrupt and out of control.”
Trump is facing a legal case in New York about potential violations of federal campaign finance laws involving a suspected $130,000 payout ahead of the 2016 election to adult film star Stormy Daniels.
On the Democratic side, the survey shows that 52% of primary voters would prefer a presidential nominee other than Biden, which is similar to the percentage from last month (53%). However, the number of voters who want Biden to be the nominee has risen from 37% in February to 44%, Fox News added.
“That 7-point bump comes from the president solidifying support among women (+8), white voters (+9), voters age 45+ (+10), and White voters with no degree (+11),” said the network.
“We haven’t seen much movement at all in attitudes towards Biden this past year, but what we have has been positive,” said Anderson. “He’s holding the line and slowly bringing more people into the fold.”