Polls of likely Republican voters nationally and of those in the early-voting states – Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada – have consistently shown former President Donald Trump well ahead of his rivals at this stage of the race.
Trump held a clear lead over his rivals in a Des Moines Register/NBC News/Mediacom poll of likely Iowa GOP caucusgoers released Monday, though just over half say they are not locked in to their choice and could be persuaded to support someone else.
Overall, 42% say Trump is their first choice, followed by 19% supporting Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. No other candidate reaches double digits. Behind them, 9% back South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, 6% each back former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and former Vice President Mike Pence, 5% support former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, 4% back entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, 2% back North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, and 1% support former Texas Rep. Will Hurd, with the rest of the field tested landing below 1%.
About two-thirds say they have favorable impressions of DeSantis (66%) and Trump (65%), with majorities also expressing positive views of Scott (59%) and Haley (53%). Views of Christie (60% unfavorable to 28% favorable) and Pence (53% unfavorable to 42% favorable) break negative. Many of the other candidates have low name recognition, with four in 10 or more not sure about them.
About half, 52%, of likely caucusgoers say they could be persuaded to support someone other than their first choice candidate, while 40% say their minds are made up. Trump’s supporters are more likely to be locked in (66% say so), yet a third say they could be persuaded to back someone else (34%). Among those backing a candidate other than Trump, 69% say they could be persuaded to support someone else, and 31% say that their mind is made up.
The poll was conducted by Selzer and Co. August 13-17 among a random sample of 406 likely Republican caucusgoers in Iowa. It has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4.9 percentage points.
New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, who considered his own presidential run before passing earlier this year, said Monday on CNN’s “Inside Politics” that the GOP primary field needs to narrow before the race reaches the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary.
He said candidates who are mired in the low-single digits in the polls by early December should drop out.
“By New Hampshire you need three or four candidates in the race to really make it, you know, a real opportunity and an option for the Republican voter,” he said.
And Sununu dismissed Trump’s steady national polling leads, saying that his lead would fall “as we get around to Christmas,” while pointing to early state polls, where the former president still leads, though by a smaller margin.