Dec 14, 2022 - Politics

Former VP Mike Pence visits Raleigh, a sign 2024 is nearing

Former VP Mike Pence, speaking

Former Vice President Pence speaking in Las Vegas during the Republican Jewish Coalition's annual meeting last month. Photo: Kyle Mazza/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Former Vice President Mike Pence paid North Carolina a visit Tuesday, stopping in Charlotte and ending in the better city (Raleigh), where he spoke about foreign policy and sidestepped a question about whether he'll run for president.

Why it matters: Big-name Republicans and strategists are already assessing the playing field in North Carolina, which is likely to play a key role in the 2024 presidential election.

  • Pence is among those who could be vying for Republican voters' support in the lead up.

Context: Pence has also sought to distance himself from former President Trump since the two left the White House and has spent recent months positioning himself for a presidential run.

  • His visit to Raleigh was no different. In a speech, he touted his own accomplishments and those of the Trump administration.
  • "I'm a Christian and a conservative and Republican, in that order," Pence said.

The intrigue: The former vice president's visit coincides with the release of a new poll, provided first to Axios, showing Trump's support may be waning in a state that voted for a Trump-Pence ticket twice.

  • "You could be looking at another kind of realignment of the Republican Party here in North Carolina," said Republican operative Jim Blaine, who heads up the political consulting firm Differentiators. "It's gone from the party of McCrory and Romney to the party of Trump, and where's it headed now?"

By the numbers: The Republican-run Differentiators surveyed 500 voters who cast a Republican primary ballot between 2016 and 2022.

  • More than half of those surveyed said they'd vote for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who also appears to be positioning himself for a presidential run, over Trump. No other potential presidential candidates were included in the poll.
  • 82% of those surveyed said they had a favorable view of DeSantis, while 70% said they had a favorable view of Trump.
  • A national poll by USA Today showed similar results.

What they're saying: "What you're seeing with the image of Trump is not unlike what you've seen with the image of other political figures on both sides of the aisle," said Republican operative Paul Shumaker, who reviewed the poll at Axios' request. "Voters are growing weary of him."

Yes, but: The election is still two years away, so there's still plenty of time for the winds to shift back into Trump's favor.

Explore the survey results

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