Indian American entrepreneur turned politician Vivek Ramaswamy is tied with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) for second place in the Republican presidential field in a new poll. An Emerson College poll showed DeSantis and Ramaswamy tied at 10 percent each, trailing former President Trump, who leads with 56 percent. DeSantis kept his position in second place from previous polls, but he registered a big drop from the 21 percent he had in June. Ramaswamy rose from just 2 percent then.
According to reports, the poll’s release comes as a leaked memo from the super PAC supporting DeSantis’ candidacy, Never Back Down, urged DeSantis to “take a sledgehammer” to Ramaswamy. Some polling has shown Ramaswamy closing in on DeSantis for second place, and the memo appears to acknowledge a few other candidates also gaining momentum behind the Florida governor.
“Another boring, establishment attack from Super PAC-creation ‘Robot Ron’ who is literally taking lame, pre-programmed attack lines against me for next week’s debate. ‘Hammer Ramaswamy,’” Ramaswamy responded to the memo on X, formerly known as Twitter.
Emerson College Polling Executive Director Spencer Kimball said in a release that Ramaswamy has made improvements in voters with postgraduate degrees, taking 17 percent of that group, and with younger voters, winning 16 percent of those younger than 35.
The release states that DeSantis’s drop is similar to that of Emerson’s New Hampshire poll that showed former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) surpassing DeSantis by 1 point for second place in the state, a statistical tie.
Pollsters also found somewhat more shaky support among DeSantis supporters than among those for Ramaswamy. Almost half of Ramaswamy backers said they will definitely vote for him, while only a third of DeSantis supporters said the same. Meanwhile, more than 80 percent of Trump supporters said they will definitely vote for the former president.
DeSantis, Ramaswamy and several other GOP presidential candidates will have their clearest opportunity yet to stand out on a national stage at the first Republican primary debate next week, especially with Trump seemingly planning to skip it.
More than 80 percent of Republican primary voters said they plan to watch the debate. The poll was conducted from Aug. 16 to 17 among 1,000 registered voters, including 465 who said they plan to vote in their state’s Republican primary or caucus. The credibility interval was 3 points.
On the ground, Ramaswamy has styled his politics on the agendas of the two men he hopes to usurp, making his stand against the “woke” ideology of the American left his signature policy issue. “We are in the middle of a national identity crisis,” he says darkly, accusing the country’s elites of metastasizing a “cultural cancer” — particularly when it comes to LGBTQ issues. His message has found an appreciative audience, and his book, “Woke, Inc.,” in which he develops this thesis, is currently near the top of the New York Times list of bestselling nonfiction.
While some candidates are beginning to aim their fire at former president Donald Trump, the 38-year-old Ramaswamy has moved toward the front of the chasing pack by placing himself firmly in the frontrunner’s slipstream. “I think I’m best positioned to advance our America First agenda, take it even further than Trump did, but also unite the country in the process,” the multimillionaire biotech entrepreneur recently told public broadcaster PBS.
Ramaswamy trails Trump by a seemingly unbridgeable gap, but he has spent millions of his own money in his bid to be best placed should the presumptive nominee fall by the wayside amid his growing tangle of legal problems. And the first-time candidate, a father of two young children, has been rewarded with higher poll numbers than most of his more experienced rivals.
A political novice by any measure, Ramaswamy started his campaign with no national profile but has shocked primary watchers by rising to second in the Republican primary field, five months ahead of the first vote in Iowa.