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Ron DeSantis’ Chances of Beating Trump in Iowa or New Hampshire: Polls

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis faces an uphill battle to beat former President Donald Trump in the key early presidential primary states of Iowa and New Hampshire, according to recent polls.

Republicans running in the 2024 presidential primary will face voters early next year in those two early-voting states. Iowa’s caucus remains unscheduled, and New Hampshire’s first in the nation primary is scheduled for March 12. Election analysts view strong showings in these states as essential for a presidential candidate, as it helps build momentum for their campaigns.

Presidential candidates from both the Republican and Democratic parties have already flocked to the states to begin campaigning to build support among the electorate there. Republican voters in these states will have the power to shape the early days of the primary between Trump, DeSantis and other Republican contenders.

Early polling shows Trump, who served as president from 2017 to 2021, as the leading candidate for Republicans in both early states. While several other Republicans are splitting the anti-Trump vote, DeSantis is viewed as the GOP candidate with the best chance of defeatingTrump. Doing so would likely require a strong showing in Iowa and New Hampshire.

DeSantis chance of beating Trump: Polls
Above, an image of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaking in Pella, Iowa on May 31. DeSantis faces an uphill battle against former President Donald Trump in early voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire, according to recent polls.SCOTT OLSON/GETTY IMAGES

Ron DeSantis’ Chances of Beating Trump in Iowa

Recent polls show Trump is the favorite to win the Republican primary election in Iowa, a traditionally competitive general election state that has shifted toward Republicans after Trump flipped it in 2016. Unlike most other states, Iowa uses a caucus system in presidential primaries. A caucus is an organized gathering of registered voters in precincts across the state to award delegates to a candidate.

A May 23 to 25 McLaughlin & Associates poll of 400 likely GOP voters in Iowa found Trump securing 49.5 percent of the vote. Meanwhile, 24 percent of likely voters said they planned to back DeSantis. This survey shows the former president with just over double the support than that of the Florida governor.

Every other candidate polled in the single digits. South Carolina Senator Tim Scott received 6.8 percent support, former Vice President Mike Pence received 4.5 percent and former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley received 4.2 percent.

Timothy Hagle, a professor of political science at the University of Iowa, told Newsweek on Saturday that Trump’s solid lead in the polls is “not surprising,” as he has higher name recognition than his challengers. He noted that it remains early in the campaign season, and that some Republicans could remain open to other candidates with a different political style to Trump.

“Of course, everyone knows Trump at this point,” he said. “It’s not surprising that he’s got a pretty solid base.”

He noted that Iowa can be particularly difficult to poll because it uses a caucus, rather than a primary, system.

“The weather could be bad. It will be cold, probably. People have to be sufficiently energized to show up for you,” he said. “It means you’ve got to have that connection with them.”

Newsweek reached out to the DeSantis campaign for comment via the campaign website.

Source: News Week