Unfortunately, due to system restrictions, it is not possible to load in the default value into the front end. Only on the backend.
Your ‘add a space and then delete it.’ idea is the same as just saving the post. This will save the data to the DB and then you can load it in the front end.
Basically, without saving the post, the reference field from the value to the field object will not exist, therefore, on the front end when you use get_field, there is no way for ACF to know which field you want to load the default value from.
Sorry, but this is not possible.
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