In a commanding display of early support, former President Donald Trump has emerged as the majority of likely Iowa caucus voter’s No. 1 choice among Republican presidential nominees, according to the latest Iowa State University/Civiqs poll.
Conducted from Sept. 2-7, the survey of 1,128 registered voters reveals a significant lead for Trump in the run-up to the Iowa caucuses on Jan. 15.
Among the survey respondents who expressed intent to attend the Iowa Republican caucuses and identified themselves as Republicans or independents, 51% indicated Trump as their preferred candidate. Fla. Gov. Ron DeSantis garnered 14% support, trailed by former U.N. Ambassador and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley at 10%, and entrepreneur and political commentator Vivek Ramaswamy at 9%, according to the New York Post.
Regarding second-choice preferences among participants, DeSantis emerged as the top pick with 21% support, closely trailed by Ramaswamy at 18%. U.S. Senator Tim Scott from South Carolina garnered 16% support as the third-choice candidate. Trump ranked fourth in second-choice preferences with 13%, while Haley secured fifth place with 11%.
“The race right now is clearly President Trump, a small second tier of four candidates — DeSantis, Haley, Ramaswamy, and Scott — and then a lot of candidates without much support at all,” said Iowa State University Lucken professor of political science Dave Peterson.
“Trump’s lead is strong, but it also might be something of a ceiling because most Iowans have strong opinions about him.”
Participants also weighed in on candidates they did not support.
Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie faced significant opposition, with nearly one-third (approximately 32%) of respondents expressing disapproval of his potential nomination. Former Vice President Mike Pence followed with 20% of respondents opposing his candidacy. Additionally, Trump encountered 18% opposition among the surveyed participants, reflecting notable dissent within the group.
“Christie and Pence are in terrible shape,” said Peterson. “Christie isn’t a surprise since his campaign was always intended to make a lot of Republicans unhappy. Pence, however, is a bit surprising. He only has around 5% of the respondents who are even considering his candidacy but is actively opposed by over 20% of likely caucusgoers.”
The online survey was administered to a subset of the Civiqs research panel, with an intentional oversampling of Republicans and independents to bolster the representation of likely caucus attendees.
To ensure the survey’s findings accurately reflect the broader population of registered voters and probable Republican caucusgoers in Iowa, the results were weighted by factors including age, race, gender, education, party affiliation, and congressional district.
The survey’s margin of error stands at +/- 4.1% for registered voters and +/- 5.8% for likely Republican caucusgoers, both calculated at a 95% confidence level while accounting for the design effect inherent in the methodology. The public can anticipate the release of the next poll results in mid-October.
Jim Thomas ✉
Jim Thomas is a writer based in Indiana. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science, a law degree from U.I.C. Law School, and has practiced law for more than 20 years.
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