(The Hill) – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) and conservative entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy are tied for second place in the Republican presidential field in a new poll.
An Emerson College poll showed DeSantis and Ramaswamy tied at 10% each, trailing former President Trump, who leads with 56%. DeSantis kept his position in second place from previous polls, but he registered a big drop from the 21% he had in June Ramaswamy rose from just 2% then.
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 in a post he shared on X (formerly Twitter).
Emerson College Polling Executive Director Spencer Kimball said in a release that Ramaswamy has made improvements in voters with postgraduate degrees, taking 17% of that group, and with younger voters, winning 16% of those younger than 35.
Meanwhile, DeSantis dropped in his support among postgraduate voters from 38% in June to 14% as of the latest poll, and only had 15% of those under 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’s backers said they will definitely vote for him, while only a third of DeSantis supporters said the same.
Meanwhile, more than 80% 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% 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.