Then the pollster asked an open-ended question of the rest: If not Trump, then who? Fully 60 percent of those who didn’t want Trump just wanted someone else. Another 21 percent named DeSantis. And no other candidate got more than 1 percent.
Needless to say, it’s very early. People clearly haven’t thought about this much. But we will start getting a sense for where the activist wing of the party stands this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference, which will include a straw poll.
With that around the corner, we thought it would be a good time to dust off our quarterly rankings of the 10 people most likely to be the next GOP presidential nominee. Some of them will speak at CPAC; others (such as former vice president Mike Pence) notably won’t.
As usual, this list is in order of the probability of getting nominated — a formula that takes into account how likely each candidate is to run in the first place.
Also mentioned: Sen. Rick Scott (Fla.), South Dakota Gov. Kristi L. Noem, Sen. Josh Hawley (Mo.), Rep. Liz Cheney (Wyo.), Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, Sen. Tom Cotton (Ark.), former New Jersey governor Chris Christie and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott
10. Mike Pompeo: It’s not necessarily a telltale, but dropping a ton of weight and paying big bucks for media training aren’t things you have to do if your goal is merely to be a Fox News pundit. The former secretary of state and Kansas congressman is a good bet to run if Trump doesn’t. (Previous ranking: 10)
9. Chris Sununu: The New Hampshire governor broke some GOP hearts by declining to run for Senate; he would’ve been a major recruit in a key race. And since doing so, he has made some pretty interesting comments about the national GOP. He said he had been close to running, but that he spoke with GOP senators and found them lacking ambition. He suggested they were mostly interested in holding the line against President Biden. He has also suggested the party is overzealous in casting out anti-Trump Republicans. That’s, of course, a helpful thing to say for a guy running for reelection as governor in a swing state. But could it also be a national platform? Sununu in November demurred about presidential ambitions, emphasizing his 2022 campaign comes first. He’d probably be better able to massage the pro-Trump/anti-Trump divide than a lot of others on this list. (Previous ranking: N/A)
8. Glenn Youngkin: The other newcomer on this list is the governor of Virginia. Youngkin’s 2021 win in…
Read More: The top 10 GOP presidential candidates for 2024, ranked