The Iowa caucuses are less than a year away, and the Florida governor made a trip to the Hawkeye State last week, where he appeared in Davenport in the morning and Des Moines in the evening. DeSantis is emerging as a leading rival to Donald Trump, who is making a stop in Iowa today.
According to a compilation of polls by RealClearPolitics, the former president maintains nearly a 15-point lead over DeSantis, who has not officially entered the race. But Jenna Ellis, a former attorney for Trump who now hosts a weekday morning show on American Family Radio, says things could change quickly in the polls if/when DeSantis decides to throw his hat into the ring.
"From now until when Governor DeSantis actually does announce, I think that these polls are going to be a little bit skewed because people don't want to yet jump off the Trump train before they are certain that DeSantis is going to announce," Ellis tells AFN. "In my opinion, what's going to be very telling are the first few polls that come out right after Governor DeSantis jumps into the race."
Ellis expects some very prominent, previous Trump supporters will endorse DeSantis.
"Even Ken Cuccinelli who, of course, worked in the Trump administration [and] was a huge supporter from 2016 through the 2020 election, has now come out as a member as one of the super PACS that's going up already prompting and encouraging DeSantis to run," she notes. "So, he's jumping over [from the Trump side] even before DeSantis announces."
She adds: "DeSantis is narrowing the gap – but as soon as he announces, that's really where we need to start paying attention to what the polls look like."
In recent weeks, DeSantis has ramped up his travels across the country, speaking at donor dinners in Texas and California and, just last week, to an eager audience in Iowa. But the Florida governor has previously stated – and political pundits have repeated – that he doesn't plan to announce his intentions until after the Florida legislative session adjourns at the end of May.
"So, people and political analysts – myself included – are speculating that he'll probably announce in early June," Ellis told AFN last week.
Interestingly, DeSantis is the only political leader (Republican and Democrat) currently showing a positive "favorability" rating at RealClearPolitics. Most of the others, including Trump, show a double-digit "unfavorable" rating.