Donald Trump leads Ron DeSantis in Georgia poll among likely GOP voters

The nation’s 45th president is under indictment in New York and may face some charges here in the Peach State.
Donald Trump arraigned in a Manhattan courthouse on criminal charges
Published: Apr. 14, 2023 at 2:59 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 14, 2023 at 3:25 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - Former president Donald Trump - under indictment in New York and possibly facing more legal charges here in Georgia - leads Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in a newly released poll, reflecting the nation’s 45th president’s political standing in the Peach State.

The University of Georgia’s School of Public and International Affairs’ poll was conducted April 2-7 and 10-12; included a total of 983 likely GOP Georgia primary voters; and had a plus/minus 3.1 percentage point margin of error.

“The difference between first-place candidate Trump’s estimated vote share and second-place candidate DeSantis’ estimated vote share, at 20.9, is statistically significant,” the poll’s summary said. “In plain English, Trump is currently leading DeSantis in the Republican presidential primary. In a Trump-DeSantis head-to-head matchup, Trump’s 10.7-point lead over DeSantis is also statistically significant.”

Trump leads DeSantis and every other announced or rumored candidate for the 2024 GOP president primary, including former Vice President Mike Pence; former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley; former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo; South Carolina U.S. Sen. Tim Scott; and South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem.

A majority of respondents also said Trump has had a “mainly positive” impact on the Republican Party, and almost 90 percent of respondents said Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s indictment of Trump should not disqualify him from seeking the White House again.

Trump’s recent arrest and subsequent arraignment makes him the the nation’s first ex-president to face criminal charges. Bragg is charging Trump with more than 30 felony counts of falsifying business records.

Trump’s indictment adds to his list of firsts in American politics:

  • First president to be impeached in the 21st century;
  • First president to be impeached twice in U.S. history, as well as the first to be acquitted twice;
  • First president in the 21st century to be defeated in a re-election bid;
  • First Republican president since George H.W. Bush in 1992 to be defeated in a re-election bid;
  • First modern ex-president to lose a re-election bid and then launch a third bid;
  • First ex-president in history to face criminal charges;
  • First ex-president in history to face criminal charges while running a White House campaign.

Last year, Fulton County DA Fani Willis opened a criminal investigation “into attempts to influence the administration of the 2020 Georgia General Election.” Willis continues alleging Trump attempted to interfere in Georgia’s election, an election that saw Joe Biden become the first Democrat to win Georgia since Bill Clinton in 1992.

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special grand jury with subpoena power was seated in May 2022 at Willis’ request. In court filings, she alleged “a multi-state, coordinated plan by the Trump Campaign to influence the results of the November 2020 election in Georgia and elsewhere.”

“The Grand Jury heard extensive testimony on the subject oft alleged election fraud from poll workers, investigators, technical experts, and State of Georgia employees and officials, as well as from persons still claiming that such fraud took place,” said the partial release of the grand jury report. “We find by unanimous vote that no widespread fraud took place in the Georgia 2020 presidential election that could result in overturning that election.”

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney decided to release only portions of the grand jury’s findings. Atlanta News First had requested, along with other media organizations, the grand jury’s full report to be made public. Willis had appealed to McBurney to keep the findings closed, but once McBurney’s decision was announced, Willis said she would not appeal his decision.

Willis said the grand jury heard from 75 witnesses. Some of the more notable figures were Gov. Brian Kemp; Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr; Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger; former lieutenant governor Geoff Duncan; former White House official Mark Meadows; former U.S. House speaker and Georgia congressman Newt Gingrich; and Republican South Carolina U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham.

Trump has accused Willis of conducting a “strictly political witch hunt.” Trump, who announced his 2024 White House candidacy last November, also continues defending his now-famous phone call with Raffensperger on Jan. 2, 2021.

Last year, Raffensperger told a congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol that Trump’s claims of 2020 election fraud “were false.”

Raffensperger, along with Gabriel Sterling, the office’s chief operating officer, appeared before the Democrat-led House Select Committee’s nationally televised public hearings.

Raffensperger told the committee that the 2020 election went “remarkably smooth,” with average ballot-casting wait times between two to three minutes statewide. “I felt we had a successful election,” he said.

Trump, who has denied any wrongdoing and has attacked both Bragg’s and Willis’ investigations, was expected to surrender to authorities next week, according to a person familiar with the matter who was not authorized to discuss a matter that remained under seal..


Atlanta News First and Atlanta News First+ provide you with the latest news, headlines and insights as Georgia continues its role at the forefront of the nation’s political scene.