NEW: Trump, DeSantis Make It Close

Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis

( – Former President Donald Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis are locked in a very tight race for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination in the Republican caucuses in Iowa, a poll has found.

Iowa is the first state to hold 2024 Republican presidential nomination primaries and caucuses, followed by New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada.

Even though DeSantis has not even announced his intention to run for president in 2024, he is almost equal with Trump in terms of popularity among Iowa’s GOP voters, according to the survey by The Des Moines Register and Mediacom.

The poll found that 80% of the GOP voters in the state had a “very favorable” or “mostly favorable” view of Trump.

The New York Post reported that the share was 75% for DeSantis.

The former president enjoyed a slight lead in the “very favorable view” category, with 44% of the Iowa Republicans seeing him “very favorably,” while DeSantis got 42%.

The poll found that 47% of the GOP voters in Iowa would “definitely” vote for Donald Trump if he were to win the party’s 2024 presidential nomination.

In June 2021, that share stood at 69%, indicating a decline of 22 percentage points in less than two years.

At the same time, the share of Iowa Republicans who would “probably not” or “definitely not” vote for Trump went up from 5% to 12% over that period.

“There’s nothing locked in about Iowa for Donald Trump,” pollster J. Ann Selzer commented.

“Iowa is where the competition starts. And someone who has already held the office and who won the state twice [in 2016 and 2020] would be presumed to be the front-runner, and I don’t know that we can say that at this point,” Selzer added.

“Trump’s hard grip on the Hawkeye State is loosening,” agreed Alice Stewart, a veteran Republican consultant.

“When the number of GOP voters who say they will support Trump if he’s the nominee drops 20 points in the last two years, that does not bode well for him. Iowa Republicans know exactly what they get with Donald Trump, and many are window shopping for a new leader,” the GOP strategist elaborated.

The same public opinion poll found that Trump’s overall favorability in Iowa declined by 11 points compared to September 2021, while his unfavorability rating grew by 11.

Meanwhile, the share of independents in Iowa who view Trump favorably dropped by 5 points since October 2022, down to 35%, while 63% view him unfavorably.

According to the survey, only 1% of Republican voters in Iowa were “not sure” how they felt about Trump, while for DeSantis, that number was 20%.

“This poll points to the group of people that we will all be watching closely in this primary — Republicans who have a favorable opinion of Trump but are not voting for him,” another GOP consultant, Brad Todd, commented.

“Every Republican has enough information about him to know all they need to know. The ones who are still shopping, despite liking him, are the ones that will pick the nominee,” he added.