The former US president holds a near-30-point advantage over his nearest rival, polling data shows
Donald Trump has established a dominant lead in the US state of Iowa over his Republican rivals for the White House, polling data has shown, as the former US president stretches his advantage over closest challenger Nikki Haley to almost 30%.
The midwestern state, which has a population of around three million people, begins the 2024 US presidential election cycle on Monday with a caucus election during which voters will select their preferred Republican candidate for president.
Since 1972, Iowa – traditionally seen as a Republican stronghold – has been the first state in the US to hold its caucus in advance of the election and its results are often interpreted as a sign of how other states might sway ahead of November’s election.
Before Iowa Republicans make their selection on Monday, Trump’s campaign will have been bolstered by the results of another poll in the state –taken by NBC News/Des Moines Register/Mediacom– which showed that he holds a near 30-point advantage (48%) over his closest rival in a thinning field of GOP candidates.
Perhaps crucially, the poll also showed that Trump holds considerable support from Iowa’s most committed and enthusiastic Republican voters – a factor which may come into play as the state battles subzero temperatures and inclement weather.
Nikki Haley, the former South Carolina governor and US ambassador to the United Nations, has risen to second place in the state, the survey results show, garnering 20% of the vote – four percentage points higher than similar polling in December.
However, just 9% of Haley’s supporters responded that they were “extremely enthusiastic” supporters of her candidacy, compared to 49% of Trump’s base in the state.
“There is underlying weakness here,” J. Ann Selzer, who conducted the poll, said of a possible lack of enthusiasm among Haley’s potential voters. “If turnout is low, it seems to me that a disproportionate share of her supporters might stay at home.”
Florida governor Ron DeSantis has fallen to third place, according to the poll, dropping three points to 16%. Businessman and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy remains an outsider in the field of candidates, according to the poll, registering just 8% of support.
Trump’s 28-point lead over Haley is a four-point drop from his advantage over the second-placed candidate in December.
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