Trump Maintains Lead While DeSantis Makes Inroads In the Midwest & with Hispanics in GOP Primary 

BOSTON, MA –  The latest Emerson College Polling national survey finds President Biden with a 44% job approval, consistent with his approval last month. The President’s job disapproval has increased two percentage points, from 48% to 50%. 

While Biden’s approval has remained consistent among Democratic voters, at 77% approval in January and 78% in February, the share of Democratic voters who think Biden should be the 2024 nominee has jumped by 13 points since the January Emerson poll, from 58% to 71%. Less than a third (29%) of Democratic voters think someone else should be the Democratic nominee in 2024. 

Spencer Kimball, Executive Director of Emerson College Polling, said: “Biden’s support is highest among Democratic voters under 35: 85% of whom think he should be the nominee. This sentiment decreases to 72% of those between 35 and 49, 61% of those between 50 and 64, and increases to 67% of those over 65.”

In the 2024 Republican Primary, President Donald Trump continues to hold 55% of the vote. This number reflects his standing in the January Emerson poll, as well as the June 2022 Emerson poll. A quarter of Republican primary voters (25%) support Florida Governor Ron DeSantis for the GOP nomination, a four point decrease since last month when he held 29% support. Former Vice President Mike Pence holds 8%, and former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley holds 5%. Both Pence and Haley have increased their support by two percentage points since last month.

Kimball noted, “Trump’s base consists of voters whose highest degree of education is high school or less, among whom 72% support, decreasing to 45% among those with a college degree, and 42% of those with a postgraduate degree, among which he trails DeSantis by two points.”

Kimball continued, “The Florida Governor’s strength is not only seen among this higher educated GOP block, but also among voters over 65, where he leads Trump 43% to 39%. He has gained 13 points among Midwestern voters, now only trailing Trump by eight points, compared to 32 points in January, presenting a potential issue for Trump as the Republicans look to Iowa as first in the nation.”

On a ballot of exclusively individuals who have announced their candidacy, 79% of respondents would support Donald Trump, 18% Nikki Haley, and 4% Vivek Ramaswamy.

“Of those who support DeSantis on the preliminary ballot, 62% support Trump on the declared ballot and 29% support Haley,” Kimball noted. 

Despite increased support within the Democratic Party, President Biden trails former President Trump in a hypothetical 2024 Presidential match-up, 42% to 46%; 7% would support someone else and 5% are undecided. This is similar to last month, when he trailed 41% to 44%. Against Governor DeSantis, Biden leads 44% to 40%; 9% would support someone else and 8% are undecided. Similarly, against Nikki Haley, the President leads 40% to 37%; while 12% would support someone else and 11% are undecided.

On the 2024 generic congressional ballot, 45% plan to support the Republican candidate on the ballot, while 43% plan to support the Democratic candidate; 13% are undecided. 

The economy remains the top issue for the plurality of US voters (41%), followed by healthcare (10%), immigration (10%), and “threats to democracy” (10%). Other issues of concern include crime (9%), education (6%), and abortion access (4%). 

Voters were asked about the level of action the Biden administration is taking about the multiple airborne objects that have been identified and shot down recently, including a Chinese spy balloon and three unidentified flying objects in North America. A plurality of voters (44%) think the administration is not taking enough action, 35% think they are taking the right amount of action, and 8% think they are taking too much action. Twelve-percent (12%) are unsure or have no opinion on the matter. 

As the war in Ukraine passes the one-year mark, a plurality of voters, 35%, think the United States has done the right amount to aid Ukraine, while 31% think the US has given too much aid, and 21% think it has given too little aid. 

Kimball added: “There is a stark partisan divide on the view of US aid to Ukraine: 50% of Democrats say the US is giving the right amount of aid, whereas 46% of Republicans say the US is giving too much aid.”

Voters were asked if they hold a generally favorable or unfavorable opinion of Major League Baseball (MLB), the National Basketball Association (NBA), and professional wrestling, such as World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). The MLB is most favorable as 48% of voters hold a favorable view, followed by the NBA with 46%, and WWE with 32%. Eighteen-percent (18%) hold an unfavorable view of the MLB, 26% of the NBA, and 35% of the WWE. 

“White and Hispanic respondents have most favorable views towards the MLB, with a 52% and 46% respective favorability rating, whereas Black and Asian respondents have the more favorable views of the NBA, 66% and 85%,” Kimball said.

The plurality of US voters (47%) do not consider professional wrestling to be a “real sport”, while a third (33%) do consider it to be a sport. Twenty percent are unsure or have no opinion. 

Kimball noted, “The consideration of wrestling to be a real sport decreases with age: 55% of adults under 35 see it as a real sport, compared to 44% of those between 35 and 49, 22% of those between 50 and 64, and 14% of those over 65.”


The Emerson College Polling survey of US voters was conducted February 24-25, 2023. The sample of registered voters, n=1,060, has a credibility interval, similar to a poll’s margin of error (MOE), of +/- 2.9 percentage points. The data sets were weighted by gender, education, race, party affiliation, and region based on 2024 registration modeling. It is important to remember that subsets based on demographics carry with them higher margins of error, as the sample size is reduced. Data was collected using an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system of landlines and an online panel.