Donald Trump continues to hold a commanding lead over other Republican contenders, with former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley making a significant climb to secure the second position, according to the latest Des Moines Register/NBC News/Mediacom poll. The results, considered a crucial benchmark, come less than 48 hours before the caucuses, offering insights into voter preferences.
While Trump has consistently dominated the field, the battle for the second spot has been intense. The recent poll indicates that Nikki Haley has surged to the No. 2 position with 20 percent support, surpassing Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who holds 16 percent.
Haley’s rise in support contrasts with a decline in her overall popularity among Iowa voters. Despite her favorable rating dropping to 48 percent from 59 percent in December, she has managed to secure the second position. DeSantis, too, experienced a dip in favorable ratings, although 58 percent still view him positively.
Interestingly, the poll reveals that Haley’s supporters express lower enthusiasm about participating in the caucuses compared to Trump’s and DeSantis’s backers. This disparity in enthusiasm raises questions about the strength of Haley’s support on caucus night.
Despite her decline in popularity, Haley is already looking ahead to New Hampshire, aiming to attract the state’s more moderate, independent voters. A strong showing in Iowa could provide her with momentum for the upcoming contests.
In a Suffolk University poll released concurrently, Trump leads with 54 percent support, Haley secures second place at 20 percent, and DeSantis follows with 13 percent.
The Des Moines Register/NBC News/Mediacom poll, conducted by Selzer & Co., is renowned for accurately capturing late breakout candidates. In 2016, it correctly predicted Trump’s lead and Ted Cruz’s deeper support. The current poll indicates Trump’s lead among evangelical Christians, a crucial voting bloc in Iowa.
The weather, including a blizzard and record-breaking cold, poses a complication for voter turnout. Trump canceled in-person events due to the weather, while Haley and DeSantis continued their campaigning.
Note: The Des Moines Register/NBC News/Mediacom poll was conducted by phone from Jan 7-12 among 705 Iowa registered voters attending the GOP caucuses, with a margin of sampling error of ±3.7 percentage points.