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The Growth Club marches on Trump stimulus with polls showing DeSantis beating him

The poll, McIntosh added, suggested that Trump “could help Republicans” by delaying his scheduled Tuesday announcement that he is running for president until after Georgia’s runoff.

The Club’s decision to act against Trump is part of a growing wave of dissent within the GOP. While the former president maintains a base of support, a number of party figures blame him for the Republicans’ weaker-than-expected midterm performance, arguing it’s time to move on.

According to the poll note, based on data from a survey conducted Nov. 11-13, DeSantis leads Trump by 11 percentage points in Iowa and 15 points in New Hampshire. Those numbers represent an improvement for DeSantis since August, when the previous Club for Growth poll found Trump with a 15-point lead in Iowa, while the two were tied in New Hampshire.

The memo also says DeSantis leads Trump by 26 points in Florida and 20 points in Georgia. In August, DeSantis was ahead of Trump by 7% in Florida and 6% in Georgia. The polls, conducted by Republican firm WPA Intelligence, polled likely GOP voters.

The release of the memo represents the latest twist in a complicated relationship between the Club for Growth and Trump. After trashing Trump during the 2016 campaign, the conservative group became an ally during his tenure in the White House. McIntosh was an informal adviser to Trump after his 2020 election loss, with the Club for Growth leader helping shape the former president’s endorsements in key midterm races.

But tensions surfaced in the Ohio Senate primary, when Trump backed Republican JD Vance and the Club for Growth aligned behind Josh Mandel. When Trump asked the Club for Growth to withdraw its support for Mandel, McIntosh refused.

At some point during the back and forth last spring, Trump texted McIntosh through a personal assistant that told the club leader to “fuck you.” Vance eventually won the primary and, later, the general election.

The feud escalated earlier this fall when the Club for Growth donated $2 million to support DeSantis’ re-election bid and another $1 million to a super PAC aligned with another potential challenger. of Trump, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott. The group also hosted an education policy event with Texas Sen. Ted Cruzanother possible 2024 GOP nominee in Nevada, which is holding an early nominating contest.

Taylor Budowich, who runs MAGA, Inc., the leading pro-Trump super PAC, fired back at the Club on Monday. He argued that the group had failed in many mid-term races it had invested in and questioned the accuracy of the group’s polling data.

“Unfortunately, many Conservative donors have been cheated by the Club for Growth as they funneled millions of dollars to losing candidates,” Budowich said. “Their polls are systematically flawed, seemingly concocted for the sole purpose of extracting an extra seven-figure contribution from trusted benefactors – and looking back to 2022, what do they have to show for that?”

“When they cross Trump, they lose, and that won’t change,” Budowich added, referring to the Club for Growth’s failure to defeat Trump-backed Senate candidates in states like Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Trump allies have also blamed McIntosh for persuading the former president to back Club for Growth-backed House candidates in Texas and North Carolina, who later lost their races. Club for Growth officials, however, pushed back on criticism of Trump’s orbit, saying they had spent heavily to boost the same candidates Trump had endorsed — in many cases, even more than Trump’s political operation. Trump.

The Club for Growth poll note includes numbers on a possible clash between Trump and DeSantis. It doesn’t have data on a crowded field of other potential candidates who might come forward, such as Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, former Vice President Mike Pence or Scott.

If other candidates intervene, it could lead to a splintered field of Trump rivals — potentially diluting their support and creating an opening for Trump to win contests with a plurality of primary votes. This is the scenario that played out in the 2016 GOP primary.

Another recent survey of a 2024 GOP primary, which was conducted by Morning Consult just before last week’s election, showed more favorable results for Trump. According to the poll, Trump led the pack with 48%, followed by DeSantis at 26%.

However, another poll taken after the midterms, by YouGov, showed DeSantis leading Trump 41% to 39%.

Trump has lashed out at DeSantis in recent days, nicknaming him “Ron DeSanctimonious” and saying he would release unflattering information about him if he ever showed up. DeSantis, who won a resounding re-election last week, declined to rule out a 2024 candidacy.

Beginning in January, the Club for Growth began including a question in its surveys asking whether people would support Trump or DeSantis in a 2024 primary. The poll was part of a larger effort to gauge the popularity of Trump in the party and the impact he had on the GOP primaries in the 2022 election.


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