Are Donald Trump’s Polling Numbers Dropping?

As the 2024 election cycle begins, there is intense focus on Donald Trump’s political strength within the Republican Party. Trump remains the most prominent GOP voice after losing reelection in 2020.

But some recent polls indicate his support may be declining since leaving office. Is Trump losing his grip on the Republican base?

Let’s examine the evidence around Trump’s current polling trajectory.


Donald Trump dominates Republican Party politics even out of office. He frequently teases another presidential run in 2024 to return to power. But a few key trends in recent polling data complicate Trump’s presumed status as frontrunner:

  • Declining favorability among Republican voters in multiple polls
  • Poor performance in hypothetical 2024 matchups compared to 2020
  • Weaker polling numbers with independents and Democrats than during his presidency

These factors suggest Trump’s political capital may be diminished since the Capitol riot and leaving the White House. But other polls muddle the picture, keeping Trump near the top of the field. As usual, his polarizing effect scrambles typical survey analysis.

In this post, we’ll analyze several perspectives on Trump’s polling numbers to gauge whether they indicate fading GOP support.

Overview of Public Polling on Trump

Recent major public polls paint a murky picture regarding Trump’s current Republican support compared to 2020:

  • Down in some polls – Reuters [1], Quinnipiac [2], NBC [3]
  • Even or slightly down in other polls – Politico [4], Economist [5]
  • Up in a few polls since the 2020 election – Rasmussen [6]

So the overall public polling landscape reveals mixed signals, but leans toward erosion in Trump’s standing within the party rather than gains. Declines are generally modest so far.

Polling With GOP Primary Voters and Leaders

Surveys of just Republican voters and party leaders offer additional insight into Trump’s position:

  • Declining primary support – A January USA Today poll found 40% support in a hypothetical GOP primary, down from 53% in 2020 [7].
  • Weaker favorability – A February AP poll found GOP voters’ views of Trump up just 2% from 2020 [8].
  • Party leaders moving on – A January NBC poll showed just 44% of Republican officials want Trump as nominee in 2024 [9].

These findings reinforce the narrative of Trump’s slide among the GOP mainstream since losing the 2020 election.

Factors Contributing to Apparent Decline

Assuming the polling drops accurately reflect reality, there are several contributing factors:

  • Fallout from the Capitol riot – Trump’s actions on January 6th alienated more moderate Republicans [10].
  • Banned from social media – Losing his Twitter/Facebook megaphone may have marginalized Trump.
  • Legal troubles accumulating – Ongoing criminal investigations are concerning even to strong supporters.
  • Fresh Republican voices emerging – New stars like Ron DeSantis generate enthusiasm as alternatives.

But Trump has defied gloomy polling before, so skepticism persists around writing him off.

Reasons for Caution Around Polls

Despite troubling poll results, there are good reasons to question whether Trump has actually lost significant support:

  • Polls have underestimated Trump before – Predictions of his demise were constantly wrong during 2016 and 2020 [11].
  • Polls reflect temporary events – Dips could be short-lived depending on events nearer the election.
  • Bad matchup polls may persuade – Weak head-to-head results could galvanize supporters to prove polls wrong again.
  • Polling methodology questions – Trump backers may be undersampled due to distrust of institutions [12].

These factors suggest polling may not provide the full picture of Trump’s backing.

Scenario 1: Polls Are Right

If we assume the recent polling accurately captures Trump’s declining support, then several implications emerge for 2024:

  • He may face a competitive GOP primary rather than easily clinching the nomination.
  • Trump’s perceived electoral weakness in head-to-head matchups with Democrats could damage his odds.
  • Fundraising could suffer if big GOP donors perceive Trump as less viable.
  • Downballot Republican candidates may be less eager to associate themselves with Trump.
  • His diminished standing gives Republican leaders more freedom to break from Trump’s direction.

So significantly lower polling would jeopardize Trump’s dominance over the party.

Scenario 2: Polls Understate His Support

However, the data could also be underselling Trump’s continued control over the GOP base:

  • He could maintain an overwhelming lead once the field narrows.
  • Strong turnout from Trump diehards may outweigh softening moderates.
  • Trump’s populist style may still drive higher turnout relative to an “establishment” alternative.
  • Weak GOP rivals without clear identity could keep Trump positioned as party leader by default.
  • His connection to the base through rallies and media dwarfs potential challengers.

Thus, underestimated support could enable Trump to regain the inside track to the nomination.


Donald Trump’s apparent dip in Republican support leaves his 2024 intentions uncertain. While he faces troubling poll numbers since leaving office, Trump has proven prognosticators wrong repeatedly. He maintains significant advantages in name recognition, media presence, fundraising ability, and connection to the partisan base.

But his perceived electoral weaknesses embolden Republican rivals. The polling tea leaves remain difficult to read definitively regarding Trump’s next moves. However, Trump’s political future depends on somehow reclaiming the perception of invincibility he cultivated in 2016.

With that image now cracked, Trump at minimum faces a rockier road back to the presidency. Yet writing him off completely remains a risky wager given the political norms Trump has shattered before.


[1] Reuters/Ipsos polling on Trump favorability. [2] Quinnipiac University poll. [3] NBC News poll. [4] Politico/Morning Consult poll. [5] The Economist/YouGov poll. [6] Rasmussen Reports poll. [7] USA Today/Suffolk University poll. [8] Associated Press/Norc Center poll. [9] NBC News poll. [10] Gallup polling on Trump post-Capitol riot. [11] Langer, Gary. “Polls Showing Trump Behind Underestimated His Support in 2016. Have They Learned?” ABC News. September 6, 2020. [12] Kennedy, Courtney. “Pollsters Mostly Get Trump’s 2020 Standing Right. But What About 2024?” Pew Research Center. December 1, 2021.

Leave a Comment