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Trump’s favorite DeSantis stat is very bad

Donald Trump is no stranger to misleading with statistics, making up statistics and, of course, misleading with made up statistics.

His favorite talking point about his relative electoral strength and that of Ron DeSantis in Florida falls squarely into the latter category.

The 2022 election left Trump electorally bruised and DeSantis smelling the rose after a 19-point re-election. That was a problem considering the two were set to face off in 2024, so Trump proceeded to roll out a stat meant to question DeSantis’ superior eligibility.

“[S]shouldn’t it be said that in 2020 I got 1.1 million more votes in Florida than Ron D got this year, 5.7 million to 4.6 million? I was just asking?” Trump wrote on Truth Social on Nov. 9.

In February, the claim was adjusted upwards, with Trump saying he “got 1.2 million more votes than Ron DeSanctimonious in the great state of Florida.”

During a dinner in Florida in April: “We did much better in 2020 in Florida. I got 1.2 million more votes than your governor’s successful campaign.

Two weeks ago: “I got 1.2 million votes more than him.”

Last week: “I got 1.2 million more votes in Florida than DeSanctus.”

And this week: “PS I got 1.2 million more votes in Florida than Ron, a little reported fact!”

It is little reported because it is not a fact. But more than that, insofar as it’s theoretically true, it’s entirely misleading, and it doesn’t reflect Trump as well as he would have his supporters believe.

Trump in the 2020 election in Florida received 5,668,731 votes. DeSantis in the 2022 election in Florida received 4,614,210 votes. That’s a difference of about 1.055 million votes, or less than 1.2 million. Even if you round for Trump and for DeSantis, the difference is 1.1 million.

But this difference is absolutely not surprising. For what? Because, of course, voter turnout is higher in presidential elections. Virtually every presidential candidate will get many more votes than a gubernatorial candidate who runs midterm two years before or after because many more people vote. Trump’s advantage sounds like a lot because there are a lot of people and a lot of voters in Florida.

For example, while Trump had 1.055 million more votes than DeSantis, President Biden actually won. 2.2 million more votes than DeSantis’ 2022 Democratic opponent Charlie Crist – 5.3 million to 3.1 million.

And even if you’re somehow unaware that Trump’s four-point margin in the state was well below DeSantis’ 19-point margin two years later, Trump’s raw vote advantage is rather disappointing.

The state had about 10 million registered voters in the 2022 election, according to the US Census Bureau. That means Trump’s raw vote advantage over DeSantis is about 10.8% of voters there.

That 10.8% actually ranks at the bottom of Trump’s raw vote scale on 2022 gubernatorial candidates. Among competing states, it was lower than Pennsylvania, Nevada, Michigan, Texas. , Minnesota, Arizona and Iowa. It was higher only in Wisconsin, Ohio, Georgia and New Hampshire.

What do these last three states have in common with Florida? A wildly popular Republican governor who hasn’t exactly aligned with Trump — and, not coincidentally, fared much better than him.

Of course, it’s not really about winning the argument with facts or making a compelling and logical case. As is almost always the case with Trump, it’s about muddying the waters — this time over what is arguably DeSantis’ best argument for securing the 2024 GOP nomination: eligibility. And right now, Trump is succeeding in doing just that.


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