2024 Watch: Trump enters 2022 as clear frontrunner for next GOP presidential nomination

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Former President Donald Trump begins the new year in the same political position he ended the old year – as hands down the most popular and influential politician in the GOP.

With just over 10 months to go until the starting gun in the next race for the White House, Trump remains the overwhelming front-runner in the hunt for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.

The most recent public opinion numbers come from a Reuters/Ipsos national poll conducted in mid-December and released a couple of days ago. Fifty-four percent of Republicans questioned in the survey said they’d back the former president as their party’s standard-bearer in 2024.

2021: THE YEAR THE 2024 PRESIDENITAL RACE IGNITED

Two other potential contenders – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former Vice President Mike Pence – were a distant second and third at 11% and 8% support.

Former President Donald Trump greets supporters during his Save America rally in Perry, Georgia, on Sept. 25, 2021.

Former President Donald Trump greets supporters during his Save America rally in Perry, Georgia, on Sept. 25, 2021. (AP Photo/Ben Gray)

Trump spent 2021 repeatedly flirting with another White House run. 

"I am certainly thinking about it," he told Fox News in a November interview. 

"I think a lot of people will be very happy, frankly, with the decision," the former president added, suggesting that such a decision would be announced after the 2022 midterm elections.

The Reuters/Ipsos survey is in line with other public opinion surveys of the 2024 GOP nomination race. An average of all the most recent national polls puts Trump at 52% support, light years ahead of the rest of the other possible Republican White House hopefuls.

But of note: The support for the nomination Trump grabs in these public opinion surveys is a good 20-30 points lower than his overall standing among GOP voters. Trump’s favorable rating among Republicans in the Reuters/Ipsos poll stood at 82%.

WHAT TRUMP TOLD FOX NEWS ABOUT HIS 2024 TIMETABLE

Another early 2024 barometer is fundraising – where Trump was a juggernaut in 2021.

The former president’s three main political fundraising committees reported hauling in a combined $82 million during the first six months of the 2021, with over $100 million cash on hand as of the end of July, which was the most recent filing period for the groups. Fueling much of the fundraising are Trump’s baseless claims that the 2020 presidential election was "rigged" and "stolen."

One thing Trump’s fundraising, impressive poll position, immense clout over his party, and repeated flirtations has not done is discourage other potential GOP White House hopefuls from visiting the states that kick off the presidential primary and caucus calendar.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis addresses the Republican Jewish Coalition's annual leadership meeting on Nov. 6, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis addresses the Republican Jewish Coalition's annual leadership meeting on Nov. 6, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Fox News)

As Fox News recently reported, there were 15 trips last year to Iowa – the state that for half a century’s kicked off the nominating calendar - by nine potential Republican presidential contenders. That’s not far off from the 17 visits by 11 possible candidates in 2013 at the same early point in the wide-open GOP nomination race in the 2016 cycle. 

TRUMP'S 2024 TEASE ISN'T PREVENTING OTHER POTENTIAL GOP WHITE HOUSE HOPEFULS FROM VISITING EARLY VOTING STATES

And according to a Fox News count, there were also eight visits to New Hampshire in 2021 by six potential contenders, close to the 11 visits by seven possible candidates in 2013 to the state that for a century has held the first presidential primary in the nominating calendar.

"Everybody understands that the president is very seriously looking at 2024," longtime Republican consultant John Brabender, a veteran of numerous GOP presidential campaigns, recently told Fox News. "I think the majority of candidates would be deferential to Trump if he decides to run in 2024, but what they don’t want to do is find themselves in a situation that if Trump decides he’s not running, then they've wasted a lot of time."

U.S. Capitol attack anniversary

Thursday marks one year since the deadly storming of the U.S. Capitol by right-wing extremists and other supporters of Trump, who aimed to disrupt congressional certification of now President Biden's Electoral College victory over Trump in the 2020 election.

Trump announced two weeks ago that he would hold a news conference at his south Florida resort and residence on the one-year anniversary of the attack on the Capitol.

"I will be having a news conference on January 6th at Mar-a-Lago," he said in a statement released by Save America, one of his political committees.

In announcing his news conference, Trump repeated his unfounded claims, once again describing his electoral defeat as "the rigged Presidential Election of 2020" and that "the insurrection took place on November 3rd."

In the weeks after the 2020 election, dozens of legal challenges by the then-president and his allies were shot down in the half dozen states where Biden narrowly edged Trump to secure a convincing Electoral College victory. And then-Attorney General William Barr said the Justice Department had not seen fraud on the kind of scale that could flip the election. 

CLICK HERE FOR THE LATEST FOX NEWS REPORTING ON THE JAN. 6 STORMING OF THE U.S. CAPITOL

The Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol came soon after the president urged a large crowd of supporters he addressed at a rally near the White House to march to the Capitol and show strength in protesting the certification of the election by Congress. Five people – four protesters and a Capitol Police officer – died in, or after, the riot.

Pro-Trump protesters storm the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021.

Pro-Trump protesters storm the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

In the wake of the attack, Trump was impeached by the House of Representatives for inciting the riot. Ten House Republicans joined the majority Democrats in voting to impeach the then-president.

Trump, who refused to concede his election defeat, became the first president in a century and a half to skip the inauguration of his successor.

A couple of weeks later, he was acquitted in his Senate impeachment trial. Seven Republicans joined all 50 Democrats in voting to convict Trump, 10 votes shy of the two-thirds majority required by the Constitution.

Trump headed to Arizona

The former president will hold his first campaign-style rally of 2022 in the key battleground state of Arizona.

Trump announced on Thursday that his event will be held in Florence, Arizona, which is located about 60 miles southeast of Phoenix. The rally will be the first hosted by Trump since his large rally in Iowa in early October.

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Biden edged Trump by a razor-thin margin in Arizona, becoming the first Democrat in nearly a quarter-century to carry the state in a presidential election.

Last year a Trump fueled and GOP-driven partisan audit of votes was conducted in Maricopa County, Arizona’s most populous county. Results of the review found that Trump received a couple of hundred fewer votes than the results from the certified election.