Republican presidential candidates hit the Iowa trail in recent weeks as potential nominees court voters who will partake in the nation’s first caucuses.
Many of the GOP candidates attended the Iowa State Fair last month and the annual Iowa-Iowa State college football game over the weekend, trying to convince voters that they are the best option to beat President Joe Biden in 2024. State polling continues to show former President Donald Trump in a commanding lead in Iowa, but according to some recent polls, both Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis have slightly dipped as other candidates got a small boost.
Trump stands at 46.0%, and DeSantis holds second place at 15.8%, according to the latest Real Clear Politics average in Iowa. Two candidates from South Carolina have seen a recent boost in the Hawkeye State, as Sen. Tim Scott now sits at 9.0% and former Governor Nikki Haley improved to 7.0%, according to the RCP average. Tech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy (6.5%), former Vice President Mike Pence (3.5%), former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (3.5%), and North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum (2.5%) round out the polling of candidates who hit above 2% in Iowa.
Trump’s polling in Iowa dropped significantly between May and last week, according to the latest Emerson poll. The former president stood at 62%, according to an Emerson poll taken in late May, but that dropped to 49% in the poll released last week. DeSantis also took a slight tumble, according to Emerson, dropping from 20% to 14% in the same time period. The May Emerson poll showing the Florida governor at 20% was released days before he officially launched his campaign, which has struggled to gain momentum.
An Iowa State/Civiqs poll also released last week showed similar results for Trump and DeSantis as the Emerson poll and better results for Haley, who reached 10%, just four percentage points behind DeSantis. Haley’s recent boost in Iowa comes as she’s also gained some momentum nationally. A recent CNN poll showed Haley was tied for third place with Pence at 7%, and the same poll showed the former U.N. ambassador performing the best of any GOP candidate against Biden, beating him 49% to 43%.
Iowa voters will kick off the final stretch of the Republican race on January 15, 2024, when they caucus to pick their candidate for the GOP nomination. The state has a track record of picking some of the most conservative candidates to be the GOP nominee, but Republicans who won the Iowa caucuses in recent competitive races didn’t fare well in the long run. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), who won in 2016, former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA), who won in 2012, and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, who won in 2008, all went on to lose the Republican primary.