DeSantis Makes Iowa Gains Following First Debate

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) closed some of the gap in Iowa with former President Donald Trump since the first official Republican 2024 presidential primary debate Wednesday according to a recent poll. The survey may reflect either a short-term boost for the candidate or a larger shift for the first contest for the Republican nomination.

While Trump maintained a double-digit lead in Iowa, the new Public Opinion Strategies poll showed DeSantis moving closer to the former president. The poll was commissioned on behalf of the DeSantis campaign.

Trump’s support remained nearly the same, falling to 41% from 42%. However, DeSantis saw his vote share increase from 14% to 21%.

While DeSantis rose in the poll, so did former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R), who increased her support from 3% in the Hawkeye State to 11% following the debate.

The only candidate to see a significant change in their poll position was businessman Vivek Ramaswamy. His support fell to 7% from 10%.

Ramaswamy carried significant support from self-described Trump supporters. Those who believed that the businessman won the debate include 60% who plan to vote for Trump and 21% who intend to vote for Ramaswamy.

Furthermore, the poll found that if paired in a one-on-one match, Trump would defeat DeSantis. The former president would bring in 43% to the Florida governor’s 40%. The previous poll found that DeSantis would have lost such a hypothetical matchup by 17%.

The same poll also rated DeSantis as the winner of the first debate, with Trump not participating. A third of those asked said that DeSantis won the fray against the other candidates. Another 34% stated that DeSantis could defeat Trump in the Republican primary.

A poll from prior to the debate found Trump with a similar significant lead over his Republican challengers.

The same Des Moines Register/NBC News/Mediacom Iowa poll found that Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) carried 9% of Iowa voters prior to the debate. Haley and former Vice President Mike Pence each tallied 6% support.