‘Life or death’: Political scientist weighs in on the ‘Trump Effect’

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(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

As the August primary approaches, candidate Ron DeSantis is putting his most prominent supporter front and center, with a little help from his family.

As it turns out, playing up to President Trump may be a winning campaign strategy.

After President Trump endorsed DeSantis in a June 22 tweet, he went from down 15 points in the polls to being up 17 points.

It’s what Florida Gulf Coast University political science professor Dr. Peter Bergerson calls the “Trump Effect.”

“Life or death. Significant,” Dr. Bergerson said. “You can see that not only in the polls, you can see it in the fundraising, and you can see it in the reaction by his primary opponent.”

Bergerson said President Trump appeals to the Republican base in a way no president has before, which makes him a good person to have on your side in a primary election.

“Because in a primary election, it’s the political base that turns out,” Dr. Bergerson said. “And that’s where Trump really has captured the Republican Party.”

Some voters like Adele Amico, said President Trump’s endorsement was the deciding factor in supporting DeSantis.

“He loves Trump. You gotta love Trump first,” Amico said. “If you’re not a fan of Trump, you’re not a fan of mine.”

But although President Trump may be a powerful ally in the primary, Bergerson said his message may not appeal to moderate voters in the general election.

“That will present a problem,” Dr. Bergerson said. “Because then he will probably distance himself somewhat in the November election.”

Recent polling data shows DeSantis leading Adam Putnam in the polls by 12 points, 41 percent to 29 percent.

President Trump will hold a rally with Ron DeSantis at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Tampa Fairgrounds.

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