Donald Trump, according to The Wall Street Journal poll of mid-April, gained 24 points among Republicans from December to April against Ron DeSantis. DeSantis, who was at 52 percent in December, dropped to 38 percent while Trump added 12 points from 38 to 51 percent by the first week of April.
There were several factors involved in the shift, but first and foremost was the New York DA Alan Bragg’s criminal charge against Trump that was formally announced on April 4, with the arrest and arraignment. It culminated in saturation media coverage. But coverage began in January with witnesses interviewing and testifying with Bragg’s team of prosecutors and before the grand jury.
Trump surged in the polls during this period. He won sympathy in being attacked by New York Democrats. Many party leaders rallied to him and he ignited his supporters with social media.
DeSantis was lost in the coverage and had to support Trump. The WSI poll showed Trump and DeSantis were both running close to Joe Biden for the presidential contest, costing DeSantis his argument Trump was a loser. Also Trump’s base was unaffected by a possible conviction. Finally, Trump’s allies began running attack ads which weren’t countered. Can DeSantis recover? Yes, it’s many months until a primary but Trump has demonstrated his strength.
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