The California Republican primary for the 2022 presidency is set to be a fierce race, with 44% of Republicans likely to vote supporting Donald Trump. This is according to a recent poll by the Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies. While this result places Governor Ron DeSantis in second place, and recent backing for him is dwindling, he is still considered a real contender by most Republicans. The poll was conducted online in both English and Spanish and has a sampling error of around +/-2%.
Trump’s support is particularly strong in areas such as Orange and Los Angeles counties, with support here even reaching 51%. This is despite recent investigations into the former president’s actions, including a New York trial that found the former president guilty of sexual abuse. Interestingly, Republicans in California do not see this verdict as particularly serious, with fewer than one in four believing he committed a crime.
Alongside his strong support, it is also interesting to see which demographics are most drawn to Trump. The former President is especially popular with strongly conservative Republicans, men, those aged 50-64, and non-college graduates. While DeSantis has some backing among Republican moderates and college graduates, he is struggling to maintain his overall favorability ratings. Between February and May, his score dropped from 79% to 75%, while Trump’s score increased from 69% to 74%.
Despite the negativity surrounding his presidency, including a recent fraudulent election and allegations of collusion with Russia, Trump remains a firm favorite among Conservative Republicans. They believe that he represents an alternative to the traditional, established Democrats, and sees him as a political disruptor.
Furthermore, his detractors often misunderstand Trump’s appeal. His supporters respect him for his candid honesty even when it seems offensive, and appreciate that he externalizes rage that they feel is justified. In this sense, Trump is a release valve for their pent up frustration.
However, Trump’s support is not uniform across California, and he will need to keep up his ratings in all areas if he hopes to hold on to his lead. The Republican primary elections are notoriously unpredictable, and with many months still to go, anything could happen.
Republicans in California are especially critical of the mainstream media, with many distrusting their coverage of anything Trump related. They view the media as an institution that is fundamentally at odds with everyday people, and has become increasingly strident and forceful in its opposition to the former President.
Many Californian Republicans also feel that party leaders are out of touch with ordinary people, and see themselves as a rebuke to this political class. They feel that Trump represents a threat to the status quo, which is why they cling onto his every word.
However, Trump has recently damaged his reputation by undermining confidence in the American political system. It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the upcoming primary elections.
The issue of Trump’s sexual abuse verdict does not seem to be of concern to his followers. Many Republicans believe that this is a media smear campaign and that the charges against him are politically motivated.
At the same time, Trump’s reputation has benefitted from the recent failures of his political opponents. As more people struggle under Joe Biden’s economic policies, there is growing support for a return to Trump’s harder-line approach to taxation and business.
While DeSantis started out as a strong challenger to Trump, it seems that his star is gradually fading. His recent mishaps have not helped his cause, and many Republicans appear to have jumped the ship to support Trump.
It is clear that support for Trump is not simply about supporting his personality or policies. Rather, it is a movement against the political establishment that has gone too far, and the media that now seems to speak the language of Washington, not the people. Trump offers a way out of this, and thus becomes a symbol for a wider movement against the political elite.
That being said, Trump still needs to convince a significant portion of Republican voters if he is to win the primary and secure the party’s nomination for the next presidential election.
Despite his rival’s best efforts, however, there is little doubt that Trump is still a commanding presence in the Presidential race, with his message of strength, leadership, and change proving popular with Conservatives across California.
Overall, the coming months will prove decisive for both Trump and DeSantis, as they fight for the Republican Party’s nomination for the presidency. Whether Trump’s support can hold strong, or whether DeSantis’s will rise again, remains to be seen. However, one thing is clear – the primary elections will be a hotly contested and closely watched battle on the road to the 2022 presidential race.
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