Trump establishes unprecedented lead over rivals in Iowa

Washington, Dec 11 (IANS): With just five weeks to go for the Iowa caucus, former US president Donald Trump has established an unprecedented lead over Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Nikki Haley with New Hampshire to follow in the nations most watched polls of the state.

Trump holds an unprecedented lead in Iowa with an overwhelming 32-point lead (51-19) over Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has the backing of the state governor.

According to the Des Moines Register/NBC News/Mediacom Iowa Poll, DeSantis, the once best positioned rival to Trump, is struggling for the number two position where former UN ambassador Nikki Haley is within striking distance with three points, technically making that race too close to call. The poll's margin of error's 4.4 percentage points.

Trump's lead is quite significant considering that much of Iowa's Republican political establishment is behind DeSantis, including Gov. Kim Reynolds.

According to the Register, Trump's lead is the largest at this point in the race for a competitive GOP caucus.

"The field may have shrunk, but it may have made Donald Trump even stronger than he was," pollster J. Ann Selzer, president of Selzer & Co., which conducted the Iowa Poll, told The Des Moines Register.

"I would call his lead commander at this point. There's not much benefit of fewer candidates for either Ron DeSantis or Nikki Haley."

Selzer is regarded as the "gold standard" of Iowa pollsters with her ability to closely predict the mood of the caucuses, which is difficult given the factors at play in the state, especially the potential number of first-time caucus goers, media reports said.

According to the poll, Trump's lead is so massive that he's ahead in every single demographic surveyed, the Business Insider reported.

The former president, despite his legal woes, is a hit with every age group, every type of resident (suburban, rural, or city), every income bracket, those who have a college degree or do not, those who are self-described evangelicals or not, and those who are self-described Republican caucus-goers or those will are independent for now.

Trump actually does best with those without a college degree and those who make less than $50,000 (61 per cent each), pulling off an even more dramatic repeat of a key demographic that powered his successful 2016 primary run. The former president does even better with men 65 and older and men without a college degree (66 per cent each).

DeSantis, the arch rival of Trump who calls him Ron DE - Sanctimonious in sarcasm, ought to be concerned as an earlier Iowa poll showed that he was tied with Trump amid likely Republican caucus goers. But, this is no longer true. Trump still leads when Iowans opt for Trump as their 1st choice, second-choice, and actively considering all are combined.

The former president's lead over DeSantis (76-67) narrows to nine points. Haley is the only other candidate over 50 per cent (52) in this larger sample.

DeSantis has invested a lot in his campaign's success in Iowa.

That DeSantis is losing ground despite having campaigned adroitly in each of the state's 99 counties is a major warning signal for his already faltering campaign.

No Republican has won the GOP presidential nomination without winning Iowa or one of the three other early states such as New Hampshire.

Iowa's Republican caucuses will be held on January 15.



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