Ron DeSantis’ odds at dethroning Donald Trump atop the GOP primaries have plummeted in New Hampshire, as some of his rivals’ numbers have moved to challenge him for second place in the key state.
A new CNN/University of New Hampshire poll published Wednesday revealed that the Florida Gov. holds 10 percent of the state’s likely GOP primary voters — a drop of 13 points since the last UNH survey in July, which poised DeSantis as Trump’s chief rival.
While the former president continues to hold a wide lead at 39 percent, DeSantis has fallen to within a margin of error of three other candidates. Businessman and largely self-funded candidate Vivek Ramaswamy‘s support jumped to 13 percent; former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie also moved ahead of DeSantis with 12 percent and 11 percent, respectively.
Former Vice President Mike Pence sits at 2 percent, while Tim Scott holds at 6 percent support.
Per the report, DeSantis’ tumble is rooted in a decline among moderates — with the 26 percent backing him in July falling to 6 percent, and he dropped 8 points with conservatives.
The CNN New Hampshire poll was conducted by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center and surveyed 2,107 Granite State adults online between Sept. 14 – 18.
DeSantis’ mega-donors and influential backers have grown increasingly furious at the direction of his campaign, which has floundered amid a series of financial woes, bizarre campaign decisions, and questions about his ability to connect with voters.
Numerous Republicans hoping to help place DeSantis in the White House have privately vented their rage at the current direction of the campaign. The Florida governor has also leaned harder into culture war issues that have so far failed to gain him traction with primary voters, including taking on Disney after after the company publicly opposed the administration’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill, threatening Anheuser-Busch with a lawsuit for partnering with a transgender woman during a March promotion, and suggesting that he would consider anti-vaccine conspiracy theorist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. as a potential FDA chief.
“I don’t think it’s the campaign’s fault at all; it’s his,” Republican strategist Ed Rollins told Rolling Stone in July. “I think he’s been a very flawed candidate. I know some of the people around him, and some of them are good, talented people. But every time he opens his mouth, he has a tendency to — shall we say — think out-loud, and he clearly doesn’t understand the game. … When you get into these culture wars the way that he has, the vast majority of people don’t understand what they are.”