Challenges Mount for Ron DeSantis in 2024 Presidential Bid: Trailing Trump, Legal Issues, and Declining Influence

Ron DeSantis, the current governor of Florida, is facing significant challenges in his bid for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination. Recent polls show that DeSantis is trailing former President Donald Trump by a substantial margin. In the RealClearPolitics polling average, Trump holds a 44-point lead over DeSantis.[0] This gap has remained consistent, with DeSantis consistently lagging behind Trump by around 45-50 points among Republican voters.[1]

In the crucial first-in-the-nation Republican caucuses in Iowa, DeSantis is trailing Trump by approximately 30 points according to the RealClearPolitics average. A recent Emerson College survey found DeSantis leading the candidate in third place, U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, by only 6 points, which falls within the poll’s margin of error.[2]

Apart from the polling challenges, DeSantis is also facing legal issues related to voter registration in Florida. Lawsuits have been filed, claiming that the state’s voter registration form lacks eligibility requirements for those with criminal convictions, leading to confusion and impeding voter registration activities.[3] Additionally, there are barriers against groups staging voter registration drives, with former felons and non-U.S. citizens barred from registering voters and subject to hefty fines. Voter registration groups are also restricted from retaining information needed for defense against potential complaints, exposing them to civil and criminal penalties.

DeSantis’s poor performance in the polls is not just affecting his bid for the presidency; it is also eroding his influence in his home state of Florida. Interviews with lobbyists, political consultants, and lawmakers reveal that his struggles as a presidential candidate have already diminished his standing. There is a widespread expectation that his candidacy will end in failure, and even allies are starting to revolt against his control.[4]

One of the major issues affecting DeSantis’s campaign is his personality.[5] Critics argue that he lacks the charisma and authenticity needed to resonate with GOP voters.[5] The New York Times points out that DeSantis is seen as “very cerebral and smart” but struggles to connect with people on a personal level. Iowa voter John Butler stated, “It feels like it can be hard to get to know him,” highlighting the challenge DeSantis faces in establishing a strong rapport with voters.[5]

DeSantis has attempted to address the criticism of his lack of charisma, dismissing it as “manufactured.”[0] In an interview with Fox News, he claimed that some of the criticism was unjustified. However, the perception of him being awkward and lacking charisma continues to impact his campaign.[0]

The challenges faced by DeSantis have led to a decline in his influence and support within the Republican Party. The state Republican Party in Florida recently revoked a loyalty pledge that would have obligated GOP primary candidates to endorse the eventual nominee, a move made at the request of Trump supporters against DeSantis’s wishes.[6] The reversal demonstrates the diminishing power and support for DeSantis within his own party.

DeSantis’s struggles on the campaign trail have also emboldened some in his party who are tired of his aggressive tactics.[4] There is a growing sentiment among lawmakers and party members that his time as a viable candidate is coming to an end. The perception of his declining power is further reinforced by the state party’s decision to reverse the loyalty pledge and the selection of a college president over a DeSantis-backed official.

Overall, it seems that DeSantis’s bid for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination is facing significant obstacles. From trailing behind Trump in the polls to legal challenges and declining influence within his party, DeSantis is confronted with a challenging path ahead. The perception of his lack of charisma and authenticity further adds to the difficulties he faces in establishing a strong connection with voters. As the campaign progresses, it remains to be seen how DeSantis will navigate these obstacles and whether he can regain momentum in his bid for the presidency.

0. “Ron DeSantis slams ‘bogus’ and ‘manufactured’ criticism he is ‘stiff’ and ‘awkward’ when Fox News anchor asks” Daily Mail, 18 Sep. 2023,

1. “Ron DeSantis falls far behind Trump in first polls for Republican 2024 candidate” PinkNews, 22 Sep. 2023,

2. “DeSantis falls back into the 2024 Republican pack as Trump’s dominance persists” Miami Herald, 20 Sep. 2023,

3. “FL is the bellwether state for voter disenfranchisement” The Miami Times, 20 Sep. 2023,

4. “DeSantis’ influence nosedives in Florida – POLITICO” POLITICO, 22 Sep. 2023,

5. “Ron DeSantis ‘Looks Miserable’ Interacting With Fans as His Campaign Limps Far Behind Donald Trump” SheKnows, 22 Sep. 2023,

6. “Home discomfort for Ron DeSantis as Florida Republicans edge away” The Guardian US, 25 Sep. 2023,

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