Trump holds wide lead in Iowa, Haley and DeSantis tied for second: survey

Former President Trump maintains a significant lead among Republican caucus attendees in Iowa, according to a poll released Monday, as GOP presidential candidates Ron DeSantis and Nikki Haley battle for second place.

The NBC News/Des Moines Register/Mediacom survey found that 43 percent of likely GOP caucus attendees say Trump is their first-choice candidate, giving him a 27-point lead over his closest challengers. DeSantis and Haley tied for second place, each garnering 16 percent of respondents listing them as their top candidate.

Haley is rising in Iowa, gaining 10 points since August, as nearly every other candidate held steady; only 6 percent of respondents in August had listed Haley as their top choice when asked the same questions.

All of the other GOP White House hopefuls maintained single-digit levels of support from Iowa caucusgoers. Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) came in third place, with 7 percent listing him as their first choice. Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy were tied for fourth place, each receiving 4 percent support.

Doug Burgum and Asa Hutchinson received 3 percent and 1 percent, respectively.

Pollsters noted the survey was conducted before former Vice President Mike Pence dropped out of the race Saturday. His votes were reallocated to the respondents’ second-choice candidates, but it did not significantly change the results, organizers added.

The poll found that while Trump maintains a comfortable lead, some Iowa Republicans say they are still considering other candidates.

Twenty-seven percent listed DeSantis as their second choice, and another 25 percent said they are actively considering him; 17 percent said Haley would be their second choice, with an additional 22 percent saying they are considering her.

Slightly more than 4 in 10 respondents — 41 percent — said their minds are made up on their first-choice candidate, while 54 percent said they could still be persuaded to vote for someone else. Trump’s supporters remain the most loyal, with 63 percent saying their choice is set in stone and 37 percent saying they could be persuaded.

Thirty percent who listed DeSantis as their first choice said their mind is made up, while 26 percent who selected Haley as their first choice said the same.

The poll was conducted among 404 likely GOP caucusgoers in Iowa from Oct. 22-26. It has a margin of error of 4.9 percentage points.

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