Since entering the 2024 GOP primary race earlier this year, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has been in a consistent, albeit distant, second place behind former President Donald Trump.
The hierarchy might be changing, however, now that Vivek Ramaswamy is gaining ground. The tech entrepreneur has gained two percentage points according to the latest Echelon Insights survey, placing him in double-digit territory within a crowded field of contenders.
Meanwhile, DeSantis is seeing his popularity decline among Republican voters, with support dipping by three points in the same poll.
As a result, Ramaswamy now trails DeSantis by a slim six-point margin — 10% and 16%, respectively. Of course, none of the party’s White House rivals are within striking distance of Trump, who has the support of just under half of all GOP respondents.
Nevertheless, Ramaswamy’s momentum could be enough to help him overtake DeSantis, particularly if the Florida governor continues hemorrhaging support.
Even Steve Cortes, a spokesperson for the pro-DeSantis Never Back Down PAC, acknowledged that things are not playing out in the candidate’s favor at this point in the campaign.
“Right now in national polling we are way behind, I’ll be the first to admit that,” he said last week. ”I believe in being blunt and honest. It’s an uphill battle but clearly Donald Trump is the runaway front-runner.”
DeSantis and some of his surrogates in Florida are attempting to downplay his current position, however, including national GOP committeeman Peter Feaman, who declared: “I don’t think there is any concern because it’s very early in the campaign.”
He went on to advise that the campaign “will be concerned about polling numbers when it comes time for the primaries, which isn’t till 2024.”
Unlike others in the primary field, Ramaswamy has positioned himself as a supporter of Trump’s policies and someone who would advance the “Make America Great Again” movement if elected to serve in the White House.
I challenge every US Presidential candidate to join me in standing for TRUTH. Commit to pardon Donald Trump for these federal charges on Day 1, or explain why you won’t. No one should hide. Not Biden. Not DeSantis. Not Haley. Not Pence. Not RFK. Not Scott. Not anyone. Principles… pic.twitter.com/qYP3fUrE5R
— Vivek Ramaswamy (@VivekGRamaswamy) June 13, 2023
Earlier this year, he said that the “misunderstood” 45th president “sets a high bar,” though he identified a few key areas of criticism — including allowing Dr. Anthony Fauci to remain a prominent figure during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I think [Fauci] seized authority that no statute or the Constitution gave him,” Ramaswamy said. “I think he should have been fired.”