Poll: Ron DeSantis in second place in Iowa, but Tim Scott’s close behind

Casey and Ron Desantis Iowa AP
Trump leads by 26 points, meanwhile.

New polling from the Hawkeye State shows Ron DeSantis way behind Donald Trump, but still ahead of the rest of the field in the 2024 Republican presidential race.

The survey of 1,126 likely caucus participants from the Trafalgar Group shows DeSantis with 16% support, 26 points behind the former President.

Close behind, however, is South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, with 13% support. Farther back are Vivek Ramaswamy (6%), Nikki Haley (5%), Mike Pence and Chris Christie (4%), and Doug Burgum (3%). Another 3% of voters are undecided, and other candidates are polling at 1% or less, including Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, at 0.2%.

Iowa’s caucuses mean that candidates can and do consolidate support on the night of the voting, at hundreds of small group meetings across the state. But this poll is the latest to show a Trump advantage, with DeSantis closer to the pack than the former President.

Despite this and other surveys showing a large deficit, the Governor says he’s undaunted.

DeSantis is trailing the former President 43% to 17% in the Race to the White House polling average, but the Governor says his campaign’s strategy of concentrating on the Hawkeye State will pay off.

“I think we’re doing very well in Iowa. I would not trade places with anybody else,” DeSantis said on the “Dana Show.” The Governor was responding to a question about whether the state was “make or break” for him.

“At the end of the day, this can be a long slog as, you know, it depends on how the field shapes up and everything. We’re built for the long haul. We’ll be there all the way until the end. But I really like what’s happening for us in the state of Iowa right now,” DeSantis added.

DeSantis has vowed to hit all 99 counties in Iowa in what is called the “Full Grassley,” a reference to U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley’s campaign style over the decades. He has suggested that not only is Iowa a two-man race between him and Trump, but that the former President is taking extraordinary measures to blunt his momentum.

During an interview on the Guy Benson ShowRon DeSantis blasted Trump for upstaging his stop at the Iowa State Fair.

“When I was at the Iowa State Fair with (Gov.) Kim Reynolds, that’s when they did their counter-program. I think he was on the ground for 45 or 50 minutes. I was the only candidate he cared about in Iowa. He came because I was there and he wanted to try to take some of the attention away from us,” DeSantis said.

DeSantis participated in a so-called “Fair Side Chat” with Reynolds Saturday, but Trump upstaged him, including by having his plane fly over the Governor’s photo op cooking pork steaks, and by having a plane with a banner that said “Be Likable, Ron” overhead when the Governor was campaigning.

Trump, who said he had a “record crowd,” was accompanied to Iowa by various Florida members of Congress who have endorsed him, including U.S. Reps. Gus BilirakisByron DonaldsMatt GaetzAnna Paulina LunaBrian MastCory MillsGreg Steube and Mike Waltz.

Gaetz, who was a help to DeSantis in 2018’s campaign for Governor, got the best line of all the members of Congress about his erstwhile ally, talking about how burgers were cooked, going from rare to well done, and saying “the most done you can be is Ron DeSantis.”

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


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