While former President Donald Trump still holds a sizable lead in a recent CNN/University of New Hampshire poll of voters in the critical early primary state, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis dropped to fifth place—despite being widely recognized as Trump’s biggest contender for months.
In the poll of more than 2,100 likely Republican voters that ran from Thursday to Monday, DeSantis only received 10% support, while Trump maintained his lead, earning 39% of the vote.
DeSantis was among four contenders in a packed field far behind Trump’s lead: businessman Vivek Ramaswamy polled at 13%, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley polled at 12% and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie polled at 11%, followed by DeSantis.
DeSantis fell significantly from CNN’s July poll, in which he was the clear second choice to Trump with 23% support.
DeSantis received the most support from people who identified as listeners of Conservative radio (17%), users of X—formerly known as Twitter—(15%), voters along the seacoast (16%), and voters who identified as libertarian (15%).
Despite his poor polling in New Hampshire, FiveThirtyEight still has DeSantis in second place behind Trump in an average of national polls with 14.2% support, while Trump holds a commanding lead at 55.3%; Ramaswamy is the next closest with 7%.
DeSantis was running nearly neck and neck nationally with Trump in February, when both candidates had around 40% support, according to FiveThirtyEight’s polling average.
In 2020, President Joe Biden, then a struggling candidate in the Democratic primaries, was in a similar position. He finished fifth—behind Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigeg, Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren—in the New Hampshire primary. He earned just 8.4% of the vote.
Trump has been the leader in Republican polls for months, despite being indicted four times this year After his federal indictment over his alleged mishandling of classified documents at his home in Mar-A-Lago, Trump’s polling actually increased. He has also continued to hold his lead despite not participating in the GOP debates. During the first, he instead opted to do a sit-down interview with Tucker Carlson, and he is reportedly skipping the second to give a speech in Detroit, where United Auto Workers members are striking. Bloomberg reported Wednesday afternoon he also plans to skip the third debate. DeSantis’ campaign has struggled in recent months, going through reorganizations and troubles securing big donors. DeSantis spent the year ahead of his presidential campaign championing right-wing policies in Florida that increased his popularity there, but have made him more controversial to donors and prompted widespread criticism on the campaign trail.