Despite losing his 2020 re-election bid, President Donald Trump is in a unique position to maintain his power over the Republican Party through 2024 as he currently has the support of 90 percent of GOP voters.
A roundup of year-ending 2020 polls and surveys shows that Trump holds the support of about 9 in 10—or in some cases even higher percentages—of self-identified Republicans. With no clear messaging or successor to the outgoing president, Trump’s approval rating stands at a staggering 89 percent within the GOP, the latest CNN and Gallup polls show. In the modern polling era of U.S. politics, no one-term losing president has ever left the White House with more party support than Trump.
However, in what may become just a two-party, binary battle of turnout in 2024, Trump only holds the support of between 1 and 2 percent of Democrats, the same voters who just successfully propelled President-elect Joe Biden to the Oval Office.
With job performance averages hovering at about 90 percent, Trump’s post-election polling numbers are the strongest of any president who lost their re-election campaign for a second term. No other potential 2024 GOP prospects—including Vice President Mike Pence and former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley—come within 70 percentage points of Trump.
The handful of 2024 primary polls that have been conducted as Biden prepares to take over the White House show Trump as the clear frontrunner for Republicans for the next presidential election cycle. As a CNN analysis noted Sunday morning, no other candidate who ultimately ended up running—and was polling as well as Trump is now—has ever lost their party’s primary contest.
Past presidential hopefuls such as Al Gore in 2000 and Hillary Clinton in 2016 were polling so well four years ahead of their campaigns that they crowded out almost any other potential Democratic primary challengers. As polls indicated in 2013, Clinton was polling “more like an incumbent” and she still only held about half of the support that Trump currently has among Republicans. The Guardian published a 2013 average of polls after President Barack Obama secured his second term that described Clinton as “the most formidable presidential frontrunner in [the] modern era.”
But Trump is still four years out and has just watched his Democratic opponent rack up an unprecedented 81 million-plus votes in November 2020. Very few top GOP prospects for 2024 have dared suggest themselves as potential candidates who could take on Trump. Former Republican New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is among those few, telling radio host Hugh Hewitt last Monday he would not rule out running against the president four years from now.
In a rebuke which has likely scared off other Republicans from throwing their hat in the ring already, the sitting president shared a tweet Saturday morning that declared: “The American people only want President Trump!”
The few 2024 GOP presidential primary polls that have already been conducted are clearly just a reflection of name recognition at this point. Top potential contenders include Pence, Haley, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, and even Utah Senator Mitt Romney, who previously won his party’s presidential primary in 2012 before being defeated by Barack Obama.
Newsweek reached out to the White House for additional remarks Sunday morning.