A new poll from Iowa, where the presidential primary season gets underway every four years with the Iowa caucuses, shows Iowa Republicans have swung strongly toward Florida GOP Governor Ron DeSantis as their leading presidential candidate for 2024.
The Neighborhood Research and Media poll, released on Monday, showed 32% of respondents selected DeSantis as their first choice to run for president, followed by former President Donald Trump at 30%. The poll reflects a mammoth 23-point swing toward DeSantis from June, when Trump was the favorite among 38% of respondents and DeSantis was favored by only 17%, and an even bigger 46% reversal from November 2021, when Trump led 56%-12%.
“With support barely half what it was a year ago in a time when DeSantis’s vote has nearly tripled, Trump becomes a severe underdog in the race,” Rick Shaftan of Neighborhood Research and Media commented.
Iowa is a caucus state rather than one that features a primary, whom voters select as a second choice matters. When respondents were asked which candidate would be their second choice, 48% of respondents selected DeSantis, 42% picked Trump, 5% chose Pence and 1% chose Noem, whose state lies adjacent to Iowa.
As opposed to other states’ primaries, in the Iowa caucuses no secret ballot and no absentee participation is permitted; the delegates representing Iowa at the Republican National Convention are divided proportionally to the statewide vote.
30% of respondents expressed their indecision about which candidate to select. Other candidates only received miniscule support, with former Vice President Mike Pence at 3% and former Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson languished at under 1%.
Also on Monday, a Morning Consult/Politico poll was released showing 65% of voters felt Trump should “probably” or “definitely” not run; 53% asserted he “definitely” should not run.
Last Friday, a YouGov national poll showed 42% of Republicans and “Republican leaners” favored DeSantis as the 2024 GOP presidential nominee; Trump followed at 35%.
Iowa’s Republican Party chair wants to make it as difficult as possible for national Democrats to dethrone his state from its early perch in the presidential primary season, even if it means moving the state’s caucuses up by several months.
Democrats have suggested they might drop Iowa from their primary schedule because they feel it is not ethnically diverse enough. Iowa GOP Chair Jeff Kaufmann responded harshly, saying, “This is the Democrats that are pulling this crap and I’m telling you right now, they don’t want to play chicken with me. This is pure, progressive, power politics.”
“If, for some reason, California and New York dictate policy for the entire DNC and they give the middle finger to Iowa and the Midwest — if that happens, we will be first,” Kaufmann added. “I’ll move this thing to Halloween if that’s what it takes.”