Trump Dominates the Republican Field in New Iowa Poll

Joseph Lord
By Joseph Lord
August 21, 20232024 Electionshare
Trump Dominates the Republican Field in New Iowa Poll
Former President and 2024 presidential hopeful Donald Trump visits the Iowa Pork Producers Tent during the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, Iowa, on Aug. 12, 2023. (Stefani Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images)

Former President Donald Trump still leads his rivals for the 2024 nomination by double-digits, according to a new poll carried out in the state.

The poll was carried out by the Des Moines Register, NBC News, and Mediacom, and found that President Trump maintains a strong plurality of support in the state, with 42 percent of likely Republican caucus-goers expressing support for the frontrunner.

His next closest rival, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, garnered 19 percent support, giving President Trump a broad 23-point lead over Mr. DeSantis.

Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) placed third with 9 percent support, followed by South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley at 6 percent, former Vice President Mike Pence at 6 percent, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie at 5 percent, and biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy at 4 percent.

The poll was carried out among 406 likely Republican caucus-goers with a margin of error of 4.9 percent. Even on the low end of that margin of error, President Trump still leads the race by double-digits.

‘Closer Than It May First Seem’

Despite President Trump’s strong lead, J. Ann Selzer, president of the firm that conducted the poll, told The Epoch Times that there are indicators that the race could be “closer than it may first seem.”

For instance, the poll found President Trump and Mr. DeSantis roughly tied as first- and second-choice candidates for surveyed voters.

Sixty-three percent said they supported President Trump as either their first or second choice or are actively considering him. Likewise, 61 percent said the same about Mr. DeSantis.

Moreover, the poll found that while 52 percent have a first pick preference, they’re still open to changing their vote. Seven percent say they don’t have a first pick. Another 40 percent said their minds are made up about who to support.

In addition, a majority of voters, 55 percent, say they’re considering four or more candidates, 19 percent say they’re considering three candidates, and 17 percent say they’re considering two candidates. And only 7 percent of respondents said they’re considering only one candidate.

On the other hand, most of those who say they’re considering President Trump as their first option, 66 percent, say that their mind is made up to support Mr. Trump, while 34 percent say they could be persuaded to vote for someone else.

Those numbers are nearly reversed for Mr. DeSantis. Only 31 percent of Mr. DeSantis’s supporters say their mind is made up to support the candidate, while 69 percent say they could be persuaded to vote for someone else.

Governor DeSantis also slightly leads President Trump in overall favorability in the state, with 66 percent reporting a favorable opinion of Mr. DeSantis compared to 65 percent reporting a favorable opinion of Mr. Trump.

Ron DeSantis
Republican presidential candidate and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, Iowa, on Aug. 12, 2023. (Madalina Vasiliu/The Epoch Times)

Still, President Trump leads the pack of Republican contenders in polling by wider margins than any Republican since 2000, when President George W. Bush enjoyed a polling lead of 30 points in the state.

President Bush went on to win the state by 11 points.

Allies of President Trump, including senior Trump advisor Jason Miller, have also noted that these numbers include polling from those who have in the past caucused with Democrats, or have caucused for both parties, suggesting that President Trump’s support among lifelong Republicans is even higher in the state. Eleven percent surveyed said they had only caucused with Democrats in the past, while 8 percent said they had caucused with both in the past.

Other Takeaways

The polling broke support for candidates into three groups, including whether the candidate was voters’ first choice, second choice, or a candidate they were actively considering.

The top-line numbers, which show a substantial lead for President Trump, narrow somewhat when these other options are taken into account.

Among the former president’s supporters, 42 percent say he’s their first choice, 10 percent say he’s their second choice, and 12 percent say they’re actively considering him, bringing him up to 63 percent support overall.

Mr. DeSantis’s has 19 percent support as a first choice, 20 percent as a second choice, and 22 percent actively considering him, bringing him to 61 percent.

Mr. Scott is in third place for total support, with 53 percent supporting him as a first or second choice or considering him and 59 percent reported a favorable opinion the South Carolina Republican.

Ms. Haley is at 40 percent total support under the expanded metric. Fifty-three percent reported a favorable opinion of Ms. Haley, compared to 26 percent who say they have an unfavorable view of the former South Carolina governor.

Mr. Ramaswamy also exceeds Vice President Pence by this metric, with 34 percent saying Ramaswamy is their first or second pick or a candidate they’re considering, compared to 31 percent for Vice President Pence.

Thirty-eight percent say that they have a favorable opinion of Mr. Ramaswamy, compared to 20 percent with an unfavorable view of the candidate.

Vice President Pence enjoys a 42 percent favorability rating. However, this is exceeded by those who report an unfavorable opinion of Mr. Pence, at 53 percent.

The poll also found that voters have overwhelmingly unfavorable opinion of Mr. Christie: only 28 percent report a favorable opinion of the former New Jersey governor, who has mounted his campaign on an anti-Trump message, while 60 percent of voters report an unfavorable opinion of Mr. Christie.

Trump to Skip Debate

The new polling comes after President Trump announced his intention to skip the first Republican presidential debate in Milwaukee on Aug. 23 after months of teasing the decision.

President Trump tied the decision in part to his performance in polling in a post on Truth Social.

“New CBS POLL, just out, has me leading the field by ‘legendary’ numbers. TRUMP 62%, 46 Points above DeSanctimonious (who is crashing like an ailing bird!), Ramaswamy 7%, Pence 5%, Scott 3%, Haley 2%, Sloppy Chris Christie 2%, ‘Aida’ Hutchinson 1%,” he wrote.

“The public knows who I am & what a successful Presidency I had, with Energy Independence, Strong Borders & Military, Biggest EVER Tax & Regulation Cuts, No Inflation, Strongest Economy in History, & much more. I WILL THEREFORE NOT BE DOING THE DEBATES!”

The decision comes as little surprise, as he has for months suggested that he would not attend the debate, saying that it would make little sense for him to give rivals and the media a chance to attack him.

“Why would I allow people at 1 or 2 percent and 0 percent to be hitting me with questions all night?” President Trump said during an interview with Fox News’s Bret Baier in June.

Meanwhile, President Trump is currently facing four criminal indictments at both the state and federal level.

However, these indictments have only boosted support for the former president among Republicans, many of whom have indicated that they perceive the indictments as a politically motivated attack on President Trump.

In an indictment unveiled against President Trump in Washington on Aug. 3, Special Counsel Jack Smith claimed that President Trump attempted to overthrow the 2020 election.

According to a recent CBS News poll conducted from Aug. 16–18, 77 percent of Republican voters consider this indictment to have been politically motivated. Only eight percent said that President Trump sought to overturn the 2020 election, while 15 percent said it was a mix of both.

Likewise, the new polling out of Iowa shows that most Republicans in the state don’t believe President Trump has committed serious crimes: 65 percent say that President Trump has not committed serious crimes, while only 26 percent say that he has.

Mimi Nguyen Li contributed to this report. 

From The Epoch Times

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