Public Opinion Strategies is out with yet another poll showing Florida Governor Ron DeSantis faring better against former President Donald Trump, this time in battleground Wisconsin.
But just who is paying for the polling that paints a picture of DeSantis’ presidential strength despite Trump’s significant lead in primary polls remains unclear.
The GOP firm exclusively shared the poll with WisPolitics.com, showing Republican DeSantis and Democrat President Joe Biden tied at 45 percent in a hypothetical matchup. Trump, the front-running Republican presidential candidate in the vast majority of polls, is trailing Biden by 4 percentage points (47 percent to 43 percent) in the POS survey.
Methodology documents sent to The Wisconsin Daily Star upon request show the POS poll of 500 voters was conducted April 17-20 via cellphone and landline.
Trump was within the poll’s margin of error, which was plus or minus 4.4 percentage points. Public Opinion Strategies says the partisan composition of respondents was 30 percent Republican, 29 percent Democrat, and 41 percent Other/Independent.
The POS poll drives a narrative of Trump vulnerability in the general election, noting that “supporting Trump in ’24 has already been ruled out by a significant majority of Wisconsin voters.”
“Trump’s unfavorable rating is already at 55 percent. Further, a strong majority of these general election voters (57 percent) say they would NOT be likely to vote for Trump, while just 42 percent say they would be likely to consider him,” states a POS memo.
But Trump has a 29-point spread over DeSantis in the latest RealClearPolitics average of GOP presidential primary polls. In the latest NBC News poll, the former president is up 15 points, and 24 in a Wall Street Journal survey. In several polls since late March, Trump’s lead over the Florida governor is 30 percent or more.
Meanwhile, The RealClearPolitics average shows Trump leading Biden by 1.3 percent, including a 5 percentage point lead in the latest Harvard CAPS-Harris poll conducted April 18-19.
POS has released several polls in recent weeks showing DeSantis faring much better. But questions surround the GOP polling firm’s methodology and motives.
Last week, Public Opinion Strategies released polls showing DeSantis with an edge over Biden in battlegrounds Arizona and Pennsylvania, with Trump trailing the Democrat. In late March, another POS poll showed DeSantis leading Trump by 8 percentage points in Iowa, with the two tied in New Hampshire.
Each time, the polls were exclusively released to left-leaning mainstream media outlets, which did not publish complete polling background information. In the case of the Arizona and Pennsylvania polls, an analysis found the POS demographic sample included more respondents that historically have voted against Trump and fewer Trump voters.
The Daily Star asked for and obtained methodology information on the Wisconsin poll. It was included in a memo to the Citizen Awareness Project. Just who is involved in that organization is not clear.
According to the crosstabs, DeSantis leads Biden among independent voters (43 percent‐41 percent) while Trump trails Biden among independent voters by 9 points (37 percent‐46 percent).
“Regionally, DeSantis leads Biden in the Milwaukee market (43 percent‐41 percent) yet Trump trails Biden in that market (43 percent‐46 percent),” the memo states.
Biden is expected to announce his bid for a second term, as soon as Tuesday, multiple outlets report.
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M.D. Kittle is the National Political Editor for The Star News Network.
Photo “Ron DeSantis” by Ron DeSantis and “Donald Trump” is by Donald Trump.