Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley jumped to second place in a new Iowa Republican caucus poll, tying with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis but still lagging far behind the commanding lead set by former President Donald Trump.
Haley and DeSantis tied at 16% in the poll released Monday by the Des Moines Register/NBC/Mediacom. Trump kept his big lead, securing 43% of support from likely caucusgoers. Haley jumped 10% from the last poll conducted by the collection of media groups in August, while DeSantis dipped down by 3%, and Trump ticked up by 1%.
Other candidates remained largely the same in terms of their level of support. Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) secured 7% in the new poll. Tech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie each got 4%. North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum got 3%. Another 3% of respondents said they were undecided. The poll was conducted October 22-26.
Former Vice President Mike Pence dropped out of the presidential race on Saturday, so the poll rankings of the other candidates were recalibrated to reflect Pence supporters’ second choice for the Republican nomination.
Trump’s comfy lead comes amid a series of legal fights over allegations of shady business deals, election interference, mishandling of classified material, and hush money payments.
The Iowa poll found that 63% of Trump supporters have their minds made up about voting for him — a metric that more than doubles the certainty of Haley’s and DeSantis’ respective bases. The level of enthusiasm Trump supporters have far surpasses those of his opponents, with 47% saying they are extremely enthusiastic to vote for the former president. Among DeSantis supporters, only 25% said they were extremely enthusiastic, while 19% of Haley’s supporters said the same of their support for her.
Still, a series of dropouts could dampen Trump’s lead, as the former president is still short a majority of support in Iowa. DeSantis had the highest favorability of the candidates in the Iowa poll at 69%, followed by Trump at 66%, Scott at 61%, and Haley at 59%.
Republican primary polls in New Hampshire had a similar outcome. An October poll from Suffolk University/Boston Globe/USA Today showed Trump in the lead at 49%, Haley jumping to second at 19%, and DeSantis falling to 10%.