How every GOP presidential candidate performed with likely caucusgoers in new Iowa Poll

Ron DeSantis, the Governor of Florida, holds a lead of more than 2-to-1 over former President Donald Trump among likely Republican caucusgoers in the 2024 presidential race in Iowa.

Nevertheless, the results of the Iowa Poll carried out by the Des Moines Register, NBC News, and Mediacom suggest that DeSantis does indeed hold a feasible position in Iowa.

His overall Iowa “footprint” lags behind Trump by 2 percentage points: 61% to 63%.

Those who are actively considering and supporting the candidate say that the candidate is their first choice, while those who are supporting the candidate say that he is their second choice. The footprint is measured by adding together the opinions of these individuals.

The poll conducted by Co & Selzer on August 17-13 showed that 406 likely Republican caucusgoers have a points percentage of 4.9, with a margin of error.

Out of the field of Republican candidates, 14 polled worse than others. Three individuals did not have a single person as their first choice for President. Two individuals only had support from one person, while the others had support from more.

Here’s a glimpse into how each candidate is perceived by probable Republican caucus attendees.

Donald Trump

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump greets supporters at the Iowa Pork Producers tent during a visit to the Iowa State Fair, Saturday, Aug. 12, 2023, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Selecting DeSantis, 19% and selecting Trump as their top preference, 42% with his nearest competitor, DeSantis, over 20 percentage points ahead of the Republican candidates, Trump leads.

Trump’s overall presence in Iowa, with a majority of 63% among potential Republican caucus attendees, encompasses:

  • 42% who claim that he is their top preference.
  • 10% who claim that he is their alternate option.
  • 12% who claim they are actively contemplating him.
  • The footprint figure may vary among all candidates due to rounding, taking into account the sum of first and second choices and those who are actively considering a candidate.

    Within the group of individuals who identify as Republicans, the ex-president maintains a more significant advantage over DeSantis, with a margin of 51% to 20%. However, when it comes to self-identified independents, he secures only 21% of the support compared to DeSantis’ 19%.

    Sixty-six percent of Trump supporters indicate that their decisions are firm, while 34% express the possibility of altering their viewpoints.

    During his 2016 campaign, Trump was viewed more favorably by Republican caucusgoers than any other candidate when he ultimately came in second place.

    Trump is viewed favorably by 65% of Republican caucusgoers, with a high intensity of common response among them. On the other hand, 33% of caucusgoers have an unfavorable feeling towards Trump.

  • Highly favorable: 42%.
  • Mostly positive: 23%.
  • Mostly negative: 14%.
  • Highly unfavorable: 19%.
  • Uncertain: 2%.
  • More: How is the Des Moines Register/NBC News/Mediacom Iowa Poll conducted? Allow us to elucidate.

    Ron DeSantis

    Republican presidential candidate Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis laughs during a Fair-Side Chat with Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds at the Iowa State Fair, Saturday, Aug. 12, 2023, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

    When probable Republican caucus attendees are prompted to select their preferred candidate, DeSantis continues to lag behind Trump by 23 percentage points, but he presents Trump with his most formidable competition in Iowa.

    However, DeSantis’ overall presence in Iowa amounts to 61% among the same caucus attendees, closely resembling Trump’s. This encompasses:

  • 19% of individuals who claim that he is their top preference.
  • 20% who claim that he is their alternate option.
  • 22% who claim they are actively contemplating him.
  • DeSantis considers Trump supporters, comprising 36% of the total, as his second preference. The percentage of individuals, amounting to 10%, who consider Trump as their alternative choice is twice the proportion of likely caucusgoers, which is 20%, who consider DeSantis as their second option.

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    The 22% of caucusgoers who are actively contemplating DeSantis is also 10 percentage points higher than the 12% considering Trump.

    Only 31% of individuals who support DeSantis indicate that their decisions are final, in contrast to 66% of Trump supporters.

    Approximately 66% of potential GOP caucusgoers hold a favorable opinion of DeSantis, whereas 29% regard him unfavorably.

  • Highly favorable: 27%.
  • Mostly positive: 38%.
  • Mostly negative: 14%.
  • Highly unfavorable: 15%.
  • Unsure: 5%.
  • Tim Scott

    Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., shares a bite of pork chop with William Morris of the Des Moines Register outside the Pork Tent at the Iowa State Fair, Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2023.

    In the poll, Tim Scott, the U.S. Senator from South Carolina, is in third place with a preference of 9% among the respondents.

    Scott’s overall presence in Iowa amounts to 53% of the probable Republican caucus attendees. This encompasses:

  • 9% who claim that he is their top preference.
  • 15% of individuals who claim that he is their second preference.
  • 29% who claim they are actively contemplating him.
  • Scott is the sole contender, aside from Trump and DeSantis, whose influence extends to over 50% of the probable GOP caucusgoers.

    Among a specific demographic, Scott surpasses DeSantis. Within the category of women aged 65 and above, which constitutes a smaller subset, Scott secures 14% compared to DeSantis’ 9%. Within that particular segment, Trump takes the lead with 48%.

    Scott also receives 15% of second-preference votes, following closely behind DeSantis, at 20%. Trump stands at 10%.

    Scott is seen positively by 59% of probable GOP caucusgoers and negatively by 17%.

  • Highly favorable: 25%.
  • Mostly positive: 34%.
  • Mostly negative: 12%.
  • Highly unfavorable: 5%.
  • Unsure: 24%.
  • Nikki Haley

    GOP presidential candidate Nikki Haley speaks at the Des Moines Register Political Soapbox during day three of the Iowa State Fair on Saturday, August 12, 2023 in Des Moines.

    Nikki Haley, the ex-Governor of South Carolina and Ambassador to the United Nations, is the favored contender for 6% of prospective caucus participants.

    Haley’s overall impact in Iowa amounts to 40% of potential Republican caucus attendees. This encompasses:

  • 6% of individuals who claim that she is their top preference.
  • 5% of individuals who claim that she is their second preference.
  • 29% who claim they are actively contemplating her.
  • She receives 10% of primary support from self-identified independents who are likely to be Republican caucus attendees.

    Haley is regarded positively by 53% of potential caucusgoers and negatively by 26%.

  • Highly advantageous: 14%.
  • Mostly positive: 39%.
  • Mostly negative: 17%.
  • Highly disadvantageous: 9%.
  • Uncertain: 21%.
  • Michael Pence

    GOP presidential candidate Mike Pence speaks at the Des Moines Register political soapbox during the Iowa State Fair, Thursday, Aug. 10, 2023.

    Former Vice President Mike Pence is the preferred candidate for 6% of potential caucusgoers.

    Pence’s overall presence in Iowa accounts for 31% of potential Republican caucus attendees. This encompasses:

  • 6% of individuals who claim that he is their top preference.
  • 7% of individuals who claim that he is their secondary option.
  • 19% who claim they are actively contemplating him.
  • In general, among Republican caucusgoers, Pence garners a comparable amount of backing as he does among evangelicals, with 6% of the initial preference. Pence identifies as an evangelical Christian.

    He garners backing from a particular group, females below the age of 55, where he locks in 10% of the backing.

    Pence’s popularity among potential Republican caucus attendees is in a negative state. He is regarded positively by 42% and negatively by 53%.

  • Highly favorable: 9%.
  • Mostly positive: 33%.
  • Mostly negative: 28%.
  • Highly unfavorable: 26%.
  • Unsure: 5%.
  • Vivek Ramaswamy

    GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy speaks at the Des Moines Register Political Soapbox during day three of the Iowa State Fair on Saturday, August 12, 2023 in Des Moines.

    Entrepreneur and writer Vivek Ramaswamy is the preferred option for 4% of potential caucus attendees.

    Ramaswamy’s overall presence in Iowa amounts to slightly more than one-third (34%) of probable Republican caucus attendees. This includes:

  • 4% who claim he is their top preference.
  • 12% who claim he is their alternative option.
  • 18% who claim they are actively contemplating him.
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    Ramaswamy is the only competitor, aside from Trump, DeSantis, and Scott, who has garnered a double-digit level of backing as a backup option.

    Ramaswamy is seen positively by 38% of potential caucusgoers and negatively by 20%.

  • Highly favorable: 16%.
  • Mostly positive: 23%.
  • Mostly negative: 13%.
  • Highly unfavorable: 7%.
  • Uncertain: 41%.
  • Chris Christie

    Republican presidential candidate former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie addresses a gathering during a campaign event at V.F.W. Post 1631, Monday, July 24, 2023, in Concord, N.H.

    Despite not prioritizing his campaign in Iowa and New Hampshire, Chris Christie, former Governor of New Jersey, is the first choice of 5% of likely Republican caucusgoers.

    Christie’s overall presence in Iowa accounts for slightly more than 1 out of every 5 potential Republican caucus attendees (21%). This encompasses:

  • 5% who claim that he is their top preference.
  • 5% who claim he is their alternate option.
  • 11% who claim they are actively contemplating him.
  • Doug Burgum, the Governor of North Dakota, asserts that he has a smaller group of actively engaged caucusgoers than Christie, but he gives him a smaller footprint.

    Among Republican caucusgoers, Chris Christie, a vocal critic of Trump, is likely to have an unfavorable favorability rating. He is viewed favorably by just one-quarter of Republican caucusgoers (28%) and unfavorably by 60%.

  • Highly favorable: 6%.
  • Mostly positive: 21%.
  • Mostly negative: 29%.
  • Highly unfavorable: 31%.
  • Uncertain: 12%.
  • Doug Burgum

    Doug Burgum, Governor of North Dakota, speaks to the crowd from The Des Moines Register

    Gov. Doug Burgum of North Dakota is the preferred candidate for 2% of potential Republican caucus attendees.

    Burgum’s overall presence in Iowa amounts to almost 1 in 4 potential Republican caucus attendees (23%). This encompasses:

  • 2% of individuals who claim that he is their top preference.
  • 3% who claim that he is their alternate option.
  • 18% who claim they are actively contemplating him.
  • Burgum is viewed favorably by 38% of GOP caucusgoers and unfavorably by 16%. Among the small demographic group of older men aged 65 and above, he is the most popular, with a 58% favorable rating and a 12% unfavorable rating.

  • Highly favorable: 8%.
  • Mostly positive: 30%.
  • Mostly negative: 10%.
  • Extremely unfavorable: 6%.
  • Unsure: 46%.
  • Hurd

    Republican presidential candidate former Texas Rep. Will Hurd speaks at the Des Moines Register Political Soapbox during the Iowa State Fair, Friday, Aug. 18, 2023.

    The primary choice of 1% of probable caucus attendees is Will Hurd, a former representative from Texas.

    Hurd’s overall presence in Iowa amounts to 6% of potential Republican caucus attendees. This encompasses:

  • 1% who claim he is their top preference.
  • 1% who claim that he is their alternative option.
  • 4% who claim they are actively contemplating him.
  • “Former congressman Trump, who is now the president, stated that he was booed at the Republican Party Dinner in Lincoln, Iowa in July for his actions that could have led him to prison.”

    Hurd is seen positively by 13% of potential caucusgoers and negatively by 22%.

  • Highly advantageous: 2%.
  • Mostly positive: 10%.
  • Mostly negative: 12%.
  • Highly disadvantageous: 9%.
  • Unsure: 66%.
  • Larry Elder

    Republican presidential candidate Larry Elder speaks at the Des Moines Register Political Soapbox during day two of the Iowa State Fair on Friday, August 11, 2023 in Des Moines.

    None of the likely Republican caucusgoers polled picked former California gubernatorial candidate Elder Larry as their first choice for President, despite his conservative radio talk show host background.

    The overall impact of the elderly in Iowa amounts to 15% of the potential Republican caucus attendees. This encompasses:

  • 0% of individuals who state that he is their top preference.
  • 1% who claim that he is their alternative option.
  • 14% who claim they are actively contemplating him.
  • Elder is the final contender whose overall impact among caucus attendees exceeds ten.

    The older generation is looked upon positively by 31% of potential GOP caucusgoers and negatively by 23%.

  • Highly favorable: 6%.
  • Mostly positive: 25%.
  • Mostly negative: 15%.
  • Highly unfavorable: 8%.
  • Unsure: 46%.
  • Asa Hutchinson

    GOP presidential candidate Asa Hutchinson speaks at the Des Moines Register Political Soapbox during day 10 of the Iowa State on Saturday, August 19, 2023 in Des Moines.

    None of the probable Republican caucus attendees surveyed indicate that former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson is their top pick for president.

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    Hutchinson’s overall presence in Iowa amounts to 9% of potential Republican caucus attendees. This encompasses:

  • 0% of individuals who state that he is their top preference.
  • 2% who claim he is their alternate option.
  • 7% who claim they are actively contemplating him.
  • Hutchinson, who has expressed disapproval of Trump, is regarded positively by 20% of potential GOP caucusgoers and negatively by 32%.

  • Highly advantageous: 2%.
  • Mostly positive: 18%.
  • Mostly negative: 21%.
  • Extremely unfavorable: 12%.
  • Unsure: 48%.
  • Perry Johnson

    Republican Businessman Perry Johnson speaks on the Des Moines Register Political soapbox on Friday, Aug. 11, 2023, at the Iowa State Fair, in Des Moines.

    None of the likely Republican caucusgoers polled say businessman and former Michigan gubernatorial candidate Perry Johnson is their first choice for president.

    Johnson’s overall presence in Iowa accounts for 9% of potential Republican caucus attendees. This encompasses:

  • 0% of individuals who state that he is their top preference.
  • 1% who claim that he is their alternative option.
  • 9% who claim to be actively contemplating him.
  • Johnson is regarded positively by 18% of potential caucus attendees and negatively by 22%.

  • Highly favorable: 6%.
  • Mostly positive: 12%.
  • Mostly negative: 15%.
  • Highly unfavorable: 7%.
  • Uncertain: 61%.
  • Ryan Binkley

    GOP presidential candidate Ryan Binkley speaks at the Des Moines Register Political Soapbox during day three of the Iowa State Fair on Saturday, August 12, 2023 in Des Moines.

    One individual surveyed expressed that Ryan Binkley, a businessman and pastor from Texas, is their top preference for the position of president.

    Binkley’s overall presence in Iowa amounts to 7% of probable Republican caucus attendees. This encompasses:

  • 0% of individuals who state that he is their top preference.
  • None of the individuals who state that he is their second option.
  • 6% who claim they are actively contemplating him.
  • Binkley is seen positively by 12% of potential caucusgoers and negatively by 21%.

  • Highly advantageous: 2%.
  • Mostly positive: 10%.
  • Mostly negative: 12%.
  • Highly unfavorable: 8%.
  • Uncertain: 68%.
  • Francis Suarez

    Miami Mayor Francis Suarez speaks on the Des Moines Register Political soapbox on Friday, Aug. 11, 2023, at the Iowa State Fair, in Des Moines.

    One individual surveyed expressed that Francis Suarez, the Mayor of Miami, is their top preference for the position of president.

    Suarez’s overall presence in Iowa accounts for 5% of potential Republican caucus attendees. This includes:

  • 0% of individuals who state that he is their top preference.
  • None of the individuals who state that he is their second option.
  • 4% who claim they are actively contemplating him.
  • Suarez is seen positively by 12% of potential caucusgoers and negatively by 23%.

  • Highly advantageous: 2%.
  • Mostly positive: 10%.
  • Mostly negative: 15%.
  • Highly disadvantageous: 9%.
  • Unsure: 65%.
  • Connect with him on Twitter at @sgrubermiller. He can be contacted via email at sgrubermil@registermedia.Com or through phone at 515-284-8169. Stephen Gruber-Miller reports on the Iowa Statehouse and political matters for the Register.

    The Iowa Caucuses in 2024 will likely or certainly be attended by registered 406 Republican voters, according to interviews conducted by Mediacom and NBC News, based on telephone interviews conducted by Des Moines Register and Selzer & Co. The Iowa Poll was conducted from August 13th to 17th, 2023.

    The Research Quantel Interviewers contacted 2,953 randomly selected voters from the voter registration list provided by the Secretary of State of Iowa. Interviews were conducted in English, and the sample was supplemented with additional phone number lookups. All responses were adjusted to reflect the proportions of voters in the congressional district by age and sex.

    The findings of this survey would not vary from the true population value by more than plus or minus 4.9 percentage points if the same methodology and the same questions were used, even if the sample size of respondents based on age or gender is smaller. This means that the maximum margin of error is 4.9 percentage points or more for the sample of 406 likely voters who plan to attend the Republican caucuses in Iowa in 2024.

    Republishing the Iowa Poll’s copyright without acknowledging The Des Moines Register, NBC News, and Mediacom is not allowed.

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