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Republicans think Trump will win — but if he doesn’t, this is who they think will be the nominee

Republican voters believe former President Donald Trump will win the GOP nomination, but most think there’s a chance another candidate could still win.

A new Deseret News/HarrisX poll of Republican voters nationwide shows that an overwhelming 86% of GOP voters believe the former president will win the party’s nomination for president in 2024. But when asked if they think there is a chance of another GOP candidate winning, 16% say there is a “strong chance” and 49% say there is “some chance.”

When those voters are asked which candidates have a chance at beating Trump, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is the top pick, with 51% of respondents choosing him. Thirty-one percent said former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley has a chance and 29% said entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy.

The poll was conducted Nov. 21-22 among 1,012 registered voters. The margin of error is +/- 3.1 percentage points.

Six weeks remain until the Iowa Republican caucuses, the first contest of the 2024 election cycle. At present, Trump maintains a 40-percentage-point lead over his closest challengers in national polls; in Iowa, he leads by over 20 points.

Of the remaining candidates polling above 3% nationally — DeSantis, Haley, Ramaswamy, Trump and Chris Christie — only the first three will participate in Wednesday’s debate in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Christie fell short of the polling requirements for the debate, and Trump declined to participate, as he did for the prior three debates.

In the Deseret News/HarrisX poll, more than 8 in 10 Republicans said they believe Trump will win the primary, but among voters generally, only 6 in 10 said so. Of those voters who said they do not think Trump will win, Haley was the favorite; 36% of those respondents, including 40% of independents, said they believe Haley will be the GOP nominee. Twenty-nine percent said DeSantis will win and 17% said Christie.

In recent weeks, the Republican field has continued to shrink. Tim Scott dropped out shortly after the November debate and withheld from endorsing another candidate; Mike Pence did the same in late October. On Monday, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum suspended his campaign.

Respondents to the Deseret News/HarrisX poll want to see the field narrow even further. When given a list of current candidates and asked who they think should continue and which should drop out, most Republicans said Christie (58%) and former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (54%) should exit the race.

Most Republicans (65%) want to see DeSantis stay in the race, followed by Haley (47%). Statistically identical portions of Republican voters want to see Ramaswamy stay in the race (36%) as want to see him drop out (34%).

If Trump wins the nomination, Haley is GOP voters’ top pick to be his running mate.

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