What the Polls Say Today: Trump Is Trouncing DeSantis and Haley in Iowa

Trump seems far from stumbling in the early going.
Photo-Illustration: Intelligencer; Photos: Getty

Five weeks away from the voting phase of the 2024 Republican presidential primary, the dynamics are clearer than ever. Donald Trump is on the high, fast road to his third straight nomination, and the winnowing of the field of rivals facing him is only adding to his strength.

There had been some hope among Trump’s opponents that he might stumble right out of the gate in Iowa, a labor-intensive caucus state where Ron DeSantis is betting the farm and Nikki Haley has been showing some momentum. Indeed, DeSantis recently predicted he’d upset the former president in the caucuses. Wild speculation about where things stood in Iowa was fed by a recent drought in reliable public polling and the gradual winnowing of the field.

But now that’s ended with the release of the latest gold-standard Iowa poll from Ann Selzer (sponsored by the Des Moines Register, NBC News, and Mediacom) showing that it’s mostly Trump who is benefiting from the smaller field. He’s gained eight points since the last Iowa poll in October, and now has a majority (51 percent) of likely caucusgoers. DeSantis (who has benefited from recent endorsements by Governor Kim Reynolds and conservative Evangelical pooh-bah Bob Vander Plaats) is grimly holding on to second place at 19 percent, and Haley (who was tied with DeSantis at 16 percent in the previous poll) is at 16 percent and not exactly showing any big momentum.

The remaining active candidates are going nowhere fast in Iowa: Vivek Ramaswamy is at 5 percent, and Chris Christie (who has barely set foot in the state) is at 4 percent. Looking deeper into the Iowa poll shows Trump really solidifying his 32-point lead. 70 percent of his supporters say their minds are made up, compared to just 34 percent of Haley supporters and 30 percent of DeSantis voters. 45 percent of Trump supporters claim to be “extremely enthusiastic” about their candidate; that’s true of just 21 percent of Haley backers and a mere 16 percent of DeSantis supporters. Trump also leads in every significant demographic category, as the Register’s write-up of the poll notes:

He leads with every age group, with self-identified Republicans and with independent caucusgoers. 

He leads with those who have a college degree and with those who do not. He leads across every income bracket. He leads with evangelicals, often a consequential voting bloc in the Iowa Caucuses. 

And he leads with rural residents, suburban residents and city dwellers …

Trump has also expanded his lead with first-time caucusgoers. 

In October, 49% of first-time caucusgoers said he was their first choice for president. That’s up to 63% now. DeSantis is at 12% and Haley is at 11%.  

73 percent of likely caucusgoers think Trump can beat Joe Biden “regardless of his legal challenges.” So much for the electability arguments of his rivals. Is there still time for DeSantis or Haley to catch Trump? Isn’t this a state where late surges have succeeded before? It seems unlikely, the Register suggests: Trump’s “lead is the largest in the Iowa Poll’s history at this point in the race for a competitive GOP contest.”

DeSantis’s ability to hold off Haley for second place is likely attributable to his big investment in the ground game, as Republican strategist Jimmy Centers of Cornerstone Public Affairs told me via text message:

The difference between Ambassador Haley’s campaign and Governor DeSantis’s campaign in Iowa right is now is that DeSantis and Never Back Down [his main super-PAC] have out-organized her. In the Iowa Caucuses a well-oiled organizational machine is worth several points.

Whoever’s up and down between Haley and DeSantis, the abiding reality is that the front-runner is smoking both of them in Iowa and nationally. Trump’s now at 60.3 percent in the RealClearPolitics national polling averages; DeSantis is at 12.7 percent, and Haley is at 12.4 percent. It’s possible that a second-place finish in Iowa by DeSantis will revive his flagging campaign and slow down the Haley Hype Train. But it probably won’t be enough to knock Haley out of the race, given her sizable leads over DeSantis in New Hampshire and South Carolina and the recent rush of donors to her campaign. It’s also possible that Haley will overtake DeSantis in Iowa and then head toward New Hampshire on a giant wave of anti-Trump excitement. Maybe DeSantis drops out and Haley and her Republican Establishment friends can talk Chris Christie into dropping out as well, given her a clean shot at the Champ. We don’t have head-to-head numbers for New Hampshire, but nationally Emerson College recently showed Trump defeating Haley in a two-candidate race by a three-to-one margin (76 percent to 23 percent).

There’s really not much evidence to refute the very high likelihood of a Trump nomination. If an upset was going to happen, Iowa — with its arcane caucus system that rewards shoe leather and where an Evangelical-leadership cadre hostile to Trump is very powerful — would be a likely venue. But it doesn’t seem to be happening there at all.

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This article was originally published by a nymag.com . Read the Original article here. .