2024 Election /

Trump Maintains Strong Lead Headed Into Iowa Caucuses

Nikki Haley holds steady in second place, but still trails Trump by 28 points

Trump Maintains Strong Lead Headed Into Iowa Caucuses

As voters prepare to kick off the 2024 election season in what will be the coldest Iowa caucuses ever, former President Donald Trump opens the day with a cushy lead over his Republican challengers.

Final polling from the Des Moines Register/NBC News/Mediacom shows Trump enjoying a 28-point lead over former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who is in second place.

The latest data shows that 48 percent of likely Republican caucusgoers plan on selecting Trump as their first choice for president, while 20 percent say they will support Haley.

Last year, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was largely expected to be the best challenger to Trump but has failed to gain ground since the first Iowa poll, which was in August, where he garnered 19 percent.

Since then, DeSantis has slipped three points and now sits in third place with 16 percent support.

Roughly a third (34 percent) of caucusgoers say this will be their first caucus, and Trump’s lead among first-time caucusgoers is wider than his overall advantage, the final polling shows.

Headed into Iowa caucuses, the results from which should begin trickling out around 8:45 p.m. EST tonight, 68 percent say their minds are made up on their presidential picks, while 25 percent say they are still persuadable. Just seven percent say they have not decided on a first-choice candidate.

Excitement for Trump remains high, with the former president having the greatest share of enthusiastic supporters, with nearly half (49 percent) saying they are extremely enthusiastic and 39 percent who say they are very enthusiastic, according to the Des Moines Register survey.

Trump also maintains the best favorability ratings among Republican candidates with 69 percent of likely caucusgoers viewing him favorably, compared to just 29 percent who view him unfavorably.

Despite the numbers, Paul Rottinghaus, a 71-year-old poll respondent, says that he is still planning to caucus for DeSantis.

“I like all four of them, but Ron, to me, has the best chance of winning,” he told the Des Monies Register. “I like what he has to say. I like what he's done in Florida. I like his right-to-life stance. I like the fact that he's willing to stand up and make a statement and move forward to get people involved to reach a resolution.”

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