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Trump’s Rivals Campaign Much More Than He Does, With Little Payoff

Trump’s Rivals Campaign Much More Than He Does, With Little Payoff


Source: FiveThirtyEight (polling averages)

Note: Data is as of Dec. 6.

In the 2024 Republican primary race for the White House, money matters. Polling, too. Viral debate moments. Endorsements. But one other ingredient has been helping to make this a race unlike any other: the road.

Many of Donald J. Trump’s rivals have far outpaced him campaigning, in terms of days spent on the trail. But their prolific campaigning has not shifted the dynamics of the race or the polls, which Mr. Trump continues to dominate. An analysis by The New York Times shows that who’s on top and who’s at the bottom of the polls is out of sync with who’s been hitting the campaign trail the hardest. As the Republican front-runner, Mr. Trump has been one of the most uneven campaigners, while one of the biggest long shots has been the busiest.

Mr. Trump has spent less than half the number of days campaigning as Vivek Ramaswamy, the Trumpian entrepreneur who has spent the most days campaigning.

Days campaigning 145

Polling average 5.1%

Days campaigning 55

Polling average 59.8%

The Times spent more than a year tracking the candidates and their planned events across the country and in the early voting states. The analysis counted the number of days spent campaigning rather than individual appearances. So if a candidate made six appearances on the same day, those appearances counted as a single day.

As of Tuesday, Mr. Trump had logged 55 days of campaigning, compared with 145 days by Mr. Ramaswamy. No candidate has blanketed the map more than Mr. Ramaswamy, the first millennial Republican to run for president. While he has racked up 100 days in Iowa and New Hampshire, Mr. Ramaswamy has also charted more of a national footprint, visiting Kentucky, Illinois, Maryland and other states that some of his rivals have bypassed.

Days campaigning 87

Polling average 10.5%

Nikki Haley, the former South Carolina governor, spent 87 days campaigning, the second-highest total of the top Republican contenders. Ms. Haley has spent 70 of those days in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, her home state. Rivaling her schedule is that of Asa Hutchinson, the former Arkansas governor, who has spent 84 days campaigning but who has failed to qualify for recent debates and is at less than 1 percent in the polls.

Days campaigning 79

Polling average 13%

Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida has dropped in national polls, a slide often cited by his skeptics. His standard reply to them has been, in effect: Wait until Iowa. His campaign announced on Saturday that he had visited all 99 counties of Iowa, where The Times found that he had spent 28 of his 79 total days of campaigning. His schedule stands out in another way — for breaking campaign norms. His super PAC, Never Back Down, coordinated at least 35 of his total days on the trail, handling the kind of logistics that are traditionally the work not of outside groups but of campaigns themselves and that are testing campaign finance laws.

Days campaigning 35

Polling average 2.9%

Chris Christie, a former New Jersey governor and Trump critic, has all but written off Iowa and its more conservative electorate, one that remains fiercely loyal to the 45th president. He has concentrated instead on New Hampshire, spending 22 of his 35 total days of campaigning there, as he searches for momentum with independent-minded Republicans in the state.



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