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LUNCHTIME POLITICS: Polls Vary Weirdly in GOP Nomination Race –– Youngkin Beats Biden in Virginia, Sununu Beats Biden in New Hampshire


In Insights Posted

Your Daily Polling Update for Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Down 1 from Feb. 28

RON’S COMMENT: Today’s average is based on four polls. Biden’s disapproval rating averages 50% today (down 1 from Feb. 28), putting him at 5 points net-negative.

Among voters statewide


Among all voters statewide

  • Donald Trump over Joe Biden: +7 (50-43)
  • Ron DeSantis over Joe Biden: +9 (51-42)

RON’S COMMENT: This poll shows both Republicans beating Biden by solid margins in Florida, which was once a 50-50 swing state. DeSantis does best. (poll by Univ. of N. Florida)

Among all voters statewide

  • Chris Sununu over Joe Biden: +8 (44-36)
  • Joe Biden over Donald Trump: +4 (42-38)
  • Joe Biden over Ron DeSantis: +5 (42-37)

RON’S COMMENT: Biden beats both Trump and DeSantis in New Hampshire. In 2020, Biden won the state by about 7 points…. If Republicans want to win New Hampshire in 2024, they should nominate their governor, Sununu, for president; he beats Biden handily. (poll by Emerson Coll.)

Among all voters nationwide

  • Glenn Youngkin over Joe Biden: +16 (55-39)
  • Joe Biden over Donald Trump: +1 (47-46)
  • Ron DeSantis over Joe Biden: +5 (48-43)

RON’S COMMENT: This general election poll shows Virginia GOP Gov. Youngkin wiping out Biden in what is mostly a blue state. Many observers believe Youngkin would be the GOP’s strongest presidential nominee not only in his home state but also nationally…. Interestingly and surprisingly, Biden barely edges Trump in Virginia while DeSantis beats Biden. In 2020, Biden won Virginia by a sturdy 10 points. (poll by Roanoke Coll.)


Among Republican primary voters nationwide
% = CNN poll/ I&I-TIPP poll = Average 

  • Donald Trump: 37%/ 51% = 44
  • Ron DeSantis: 39%/ 22% = 30.5
  • Mike Pence: 6%/ 7% = 6.5
  • Nikki Haley: 7%/ 4% = 5.5
  • Mike Pompeo: 1%/ 2% = 1.5
  • Chris Sununu: 2%/ NA
  • Tim Scott: 2%/ NA
  • Glenn Youngkin: 1%/ NA
  • Kristi Noem: NA/ 1%/ NA
  • Other: 3%/ 7% = 5

RON’S COMMENT: Two polls with widely varying results. What to believe? …. The CNN poll shows DeSantis leading Trump among voters who plan to vote in the Republican primary or caucus by 2 points, but the I&I poll has Trump leading DeSantis by 29 points….. The field beats Trump 62-37 in the CNN poll and Trump beats the field 51-40 in the I&I survey. In the average, the field beats Trump 49-44…. CNN has DeSantis winning white college grads by 18 and those making more than $50k income by 8. Trump wins Republicans by 3, independents who lean Republican by 8 and “very conservative” voters by 5. In the second-choice trial heat, DeSantis beats Trump 31-20 and Pence rises to 17%…. In the I&I poll, 59% of Republicans say they’d like to see a Trump vs. DeSantis race.

Among Republican primary voters statewide
% = PPP-D/ Susquehanna = Average

  • Donald Trump: 49%/ 32% = 40.5
  • Ron DeSantis: 31%/ 37% = 34
  • Mike Pence: 5%/ 2% = 3.4
  • Nikki Haley: 5%/ 4% = 4.5

RON’S COMMENT: In Pennsylvania, Trump leads one poll by 18 points and DeSantis leads the other by 5 points. Who to believe? Differences may have to do with small size sizes.

Among Republican primary voters statewide

  • Ron DeSantis: 52%
  • Donald Trump: 27%
  • Mike Pence: 5%
  • Nikki Haley: 4%
  • Liz Cheney: 3%
  • Mike Pence: 2%

RON’S COMMENT: In Florida, home state governor DeSantis leads Trump, another Sunshine State resident, by 25 points. DeSantis beats the GOP field 52-42. (poll by Univ. of N. Florida)

Among Republican primary voters statewide

  • Donald Trump: 58%
  • Ron DeSantis: 17%
  • Mike Pence: 4%
  • Nikki Haley: 6%
  • Mike Pomepo: 2%
  • Tim Scott 1%
  • Kristi Noem: 1%

RON’S COMMENT: Trump wins New Hampshire by a wide margin in this poll, beating the field 58-42. Other surveys have shown it closer. (poll by Univ. of N. Florida)


Among Democratic primary voters nationwide

  • Joe Biden: 43%
  • Kamala Harris: 9%
  • Bernie Sanders: 8%
  • Michelle Obama: 8%
  • Hillary Clinton: 4%
  • Pete Buttigieg: 3%
  • Amy Klobuchar: 3%
  • Elizabeth Warren: 3%
  • Gavin Newsom: 2%
  • Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: 2%
  • Others: 7%

RON’S COMMENT: Among Democrats and leaners, the field beats Biden 49-43, even though Biden leads the second-place candidate by a wide margin…. All other Democrats tested are in single digits, even Obama and Clinton. (poll by I&I/TIPP)

SENATE: 2024
Among voters statewide


  • Matt Rosendale (R) over Sen. Jon Tester (D): +5 (OnMessage-R)

RON’S COMMENT: Rosendale is a member of the U.S. House; he was defeated by Democratic incumbent Tester in 2018 by nearly 4 points…. Tester is seen as a moderate Democrat (“your grandfather’s Democrat,” said the New York Times), but he often votes with his party’s caucus on major issues…. Another possible Republican candidate is Ryan Zinke, who holds the state’s other House seat. Zinke is a former U.S. secretary of the interior who defeated Rosendale for the U.S. House in 2014. Zinke was forced out of Trump’s cabinet due to an ethics investigation…. Rosendale, endorsed by Trump in the last two elections, has a far-right voting record; he was one of only three House members to vote against a resolution expressing support for the sovereignty of Ukraine in the face of Russia’s invasion…. Handicappers rate the race “lean D” or “toss up.”


  • Doug Mastriano: 39%
  • David McCormick: 21%
  • Kathy Barnette: 11%
  • Not sure: 29%

RON’S COMENT: This GOP primary poll is for the seat now held by Democratic Sen. Bob Casey, who is seeking re-election. Mastriano, who was the Republican nominee for governor last year but lost by a wide margin, leads the field with McCormick, who lost a close Republican primary for the Senate last year, in second place. Most political pros think McCormick would have the best chance to beat Democrat Casey in the general election. (poll by PPP-D)

Presidential job rating average based on recent nationwide polls.

Publication schedule: Lunchtime Politics publishes when important new polling data is available, usually at least once a week. When we get closer to the next round of elections, we will resume daily publication. Thanks to all our readers and best of health, Ron