By Matt Funicello
A new Des Moines Register/NBC News/Mediacom Iowa Poll released on Monday shows Donald Trump gaining the majority of support from Republican voters over his fellow Republican challengers in the final push before the Iowa Caucuses. The polling shows Trump with a 51 percent lead over the entire field of Republicans, in addition to Ron DeSantis edging ahead of Nikki Haley, with a 19 percent lead over her 16 percent.
Trump is leading his fellow Republicans in every key demographic, as well as having 62 percent support from first-time caucus attendees. DeSantis and Haley only show 12 percent and 13 percent, respectively. The polling data shows Trump trouncing his fellow opponents by every metric. Seventy percent of Trump supporters say their minds are already made up and say they would vote for him now, if the vote were held today, with the other 30 percent saying they could be convinced to vote for someone else.
The percentage of likely caucusgoers naming Trump as their first choice has increased through the year.
- December: 51% say Trump is their first choice.
- October: 43% said he was their first choice.
- August: 42% said he was their first choice.
Trump’s overall “footprint” in Iowa also continues to grow. Now, more than three-quarters of likely Republican caucusgoers say he is either their first choice, their second choice or someone they are actively considering supporting.
As time ticks by, Trump’s favorability continues to grow as well. Trump’s favorability rating has grown on every poll since August, when he had a 65 percent favorability rating, to a massive 72 percent rating in this latest polling.
With the field of fellow Republicans vying for the nomination growing smaller as time goes on, the numbers for Trump steadily grow ever higher. His closest rival, Ron DeSantis, has only seen a marginal increase in his polling numbers; however, these numbers do not bode well when they compare to Trump’s numbers.
“The field may have shrunk, but it may have made Donald Trump even stronger than he was,” said pollster J. Ann Selzer, president of Selzer & Co., which conducted the Iowa Poll. “I would call his lead commanding at this point. There’s not much benefit of fewer candidates for either Ron DeSantis or Nikki Haley.”
The polling data also shows that 73 percent of respondents say that Trump can beat President Joe Biden, despite Trump’s legal battles that lay ahead of the 2024 election. This data point has also grown steadily since the October polling, where 65 percent of respondents said Trump can Beat Biden, despite his legal issues. Conversely, the number of respondents who say Trump’s legal fight will prevent him from winning against Biden has fallen. In October, 32 percent of respondents said that Trump’s legal issues would make it impossible for him to beat Biden, whereas in December, only 24 percent said that it would be impossible.
Trump’s performance in the December polling shows that he has the highest numbers in the Iowa polling’s history as of Monday. Every major demographic group has responded more favorably to Trump than any other Republican candidate in the poll.
The former president leads with every demographic group tested in the Iowa Poll.
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’s competitive position has improved markedly,” Selzer said.
Trump does best among those without a college degree (61%), those with an income of less than $50,000 (61%), men 65 and older (66%) and white men without a college degree (66%).
Among evangelicals, Trump leads with 51% (up from 44% in October). DeSantis gets 26% (up from 22%), Haley gets 12% (down from 15%), and Ramaswamy is at 5% (up from 3%).
At this point, the pollsters agree, saying that Donald Trump’s lead is commanding. Minus a major campaign catastrophe or a damning development in any of his legal fights, Trump’s numbers are likely to stay high, or even climb higher. Ever since August, the hypothetical/probable matchup between Biden and Trump has shown Trump gaining ground or outright beating Biden.