CV NEWS FEED // Former President Donald Trump enjoys a commanding lead in the polls over his opponents for the Republican nomination, just weeks before the Iowa caucuses are set to take place.
FiveThirtyEight’s Wednesday national polling average shows the 45th president with a nearly 47-point advantage over his closest intraparty rival, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Trump’s support nationally clocked in at 59.6%. This means that according to poll results, around six in ten Republican primary voters prefer him to be the party’s nominee for the third consecutive time. DeSantis lags far behind at 12.7% support, with former Ambassador Nikki Haley in third place at 10.6%.
The rest of the Republican candidates are polling in the single digits. Wednesday’s polling average has businessman Vivek Ramaswamy with 4.9%. Ramaswamy had for months been consistently polling as the third-place candidate until Haley overtook him in late September.
The two remaining candidates are trailing badly in fifth and sixth place. While former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie averages around 2.7% of support, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson has failed to crack one percent, with an average of only 0.5% of poll respondents selecting him as their preferred candidate.
These statistics take into account the results of recent polls conducted by a variety of firms and institutions. FiveThirtyEight holds that their polling average “account[s] for each poll’s recency, sample size, methodology and house effects.”
When state polling results are taken into consideration, Trump is still overwhelmingly leading, albeit by significantly smaller margins.
In Iowa, Trump’s polling lead averages to 45.9%, also per FiveThirtyEight. DeSantis is in second at 19.7%, a difference of just over 26 percentage points. Iowa will hold its caucuses on January 15, 2024.
Also in Iowa, Haley is close behind DeSantis, with her support averaging 17.5% on Wednesday. This marks a significant surge compared to August 23, when Haley was averaging only 3.8% of support in the Hawkeye state.
On that same day in August, Ramaswamy averaged 11.0% of support in Iowa – a figure that has now dwindled to 4.8%.
DeSantis, however, has managed to increase his polling numbers in Iowa over the past few months. On August 23, he averaged 15.6%, four points less than his current level of support.
Trump has also experienced a jump of 6.9% in Iowa since August 23.
In recent months, the DeSantis campaign has invested many resources in Iowa, hoping to pull off an upset on caucus night. The Florida governor this week completed the rare feat of visiting all 99 of the state’s counties. He has gained arguably the two most important endorsements in the state – those of Gov. Kim Reynolds and influential Evangelical activist Bob Vander Plaats.
Vander Plaats’ support is notable given that his endorsed candidates have gone on to win upset victories in the last three Republican Iowa caucuses. However, all of them (Mike Huckabee in 2008, Rick Santorum in 2012, and Ted Cruz in 2016) failed to win the party’s nomination.
If DeSantis is to eke out a victory over Trump on January 15, polls show he would still have a lot of ground to make up.
New Hampshire will hold its primary just over one week after the Iowa caucuses on January 23. There, Trump is polling at 44.7%. Haley is in second place at 18.9%.
Somewhat surprisingly, Christie sits in third place at 11.6%. The scandal-plagued former governor is reportedly banking his entire strategy on performing well in the Granite State, all but writing off Iowa.
Meanwhile, New Hampshire polls show DeSantis is in a distant fourth place at 7.7%, just one point ahead of Ramaswamy at 6.7%.
It is worth noting that New Hampshire is considered by many to be the least religious state in the country. Therefore, it is reasonable that socially “moderate” candidates such as Haley and Christie would have an advantage there – especially over DeSantis, who has portrayed himself as a more socially conservative alternative to Trump.
Haley’s home state will hold its primary on February 24, almost exactly one month after the New Hampshire primary.
In South Carolina, Trump enjoys a nearly 30-point lead at 50.3% to Haley’s 20.8%. This is significant given that the former ambassador was born and raised in the state and served as its governor from 2011 to 2017. DeSantis is in third place with 11.7% polling support.
Can Trump Beat Biden?
Recent polls show Trump not only dominating his primary’s polling field but also holding an advantage over the likely Democratic nominee, President Joe Biden.
FiveThirtyEight lists eight national polls featuring both major party frontrunners which were taken within the last week.
In six of the eight polls, Trump is leading the incumbent president – from anywhere from two to eight percentage points. Half of the listed polls show Biden’s predecessor leading him by five points or more.
In one poll, Trump and Biden are statistically tied – both with 43% of support. The other poll has Biden leading by only one point: 42% to 41%.
Trump is also leading Biden in key battleground states.
FiveThirtyEight shows two polls from Georgia in the past week – one has Trump up by two points, the other has him up by three.