Three Questions for Republican Pollster Frank Luntz

From a story on quoting Republican pollster Frank Luntz::

In your estimation, who is the GOP front runner at this early stage and why?

The national polling clearly has Donald Trump leading every other Republican, but that is misleading. Hillary Clinton had the same overwhelming lead over Barack Obama in 2007-08, but Obama was strong in all the early states — and that’s what really matters. His early wins in Iowa and South Carolina decimated Clinton’s massive campaign advantages, and I think we’re headed to a similar outcome in 2024.

I’m on some Trump campaign email lists, so I get to read him boasting about his national lead multiple times a week. But he never admits that DeSantis has already pulled even or ahead in Iowa and New Hampshire, and DeSantis has a lot lower negatives and much more upside than Trump.

So while I consider Trump the front runner at this moment, I think it is more likely that DeSantis wins the GOP nomination.

What effect might the Trump/DeSantis relationship have on the primary?

I’m fearful that 2024 will be even more vicious and hostile than 2016. I’m afraid that the tone and rhetoric will set a new low — and that’s not good for America or the American people.

I’m old enough to remember Ronald Reagan’s 11th commandment — thou shall not attack another Republican. Yet that’s all Trump does — attack other Republicans. Hopefully Desantis knows better and will behave better. Republicans lost several Senate seats because their primaries were so ugly and Trump-like.

Let me be even more explicit. The GOP will not win the White House or the Senate if they continue to follow the Trump playbook and tear each other apart.

Which Republican candidate would be most difficult — and easiest — for Biden to run against in the 2024 race?

I’ll give you three candidates that, if nominated, would drive Biden nuts:

Tim Scott would completely throw Biden off his game. Scott would most effectively challenge the Biden social and cultural narrative, not just about race but about the role and function of government in society.

The “Miami Miracle” Mayor, Francis Suarez, has the most compelling track record of results of any candidate. If Florida is an economic home run, Miami is a grand slam.

And there is no better debater on either side of the aisle than Chris Christie. There is no way that Trump (or Biden) would ever take the stage with Christie on it. It would be a slaughter not seen since the Roman Colosseum days.

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