Former President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) are likely headed for a pivotal showdown in Iowa early next year. The two candidates’ different approaches to events in the Hawkeye State show that each has strengths early in the 2024 Republican primary process.
This weekend saw both Trump and DeSantis plan rallies in the state but with different results. Trump canceled his Des Moines rally following reports of potential tornadoes.
The former president wrote that “due to the Tornado Warnings in Des Moines, we are forced to cancel today’s outdoor Rally at the Lauridsen Amphitheater!”
Fake News @marcthiessen is spreading outright lies.
President Trump won BIG in Iowa. And will win again in 2024. pic.twitter.com/L9bQwIoarr
— Trump War Room (@TrumpWarRoom) May 15, 2023
DeSantis held a rally in Sioux Center, drawing about 500 people. While there, DeSantis said that the Republican Party “must reject the culture of losing that’s affected our party in recent years.”
DeSantis then made an unannounced stop in Des Moines, which received considerable attention.
While DeSantis’ record in the state remains to be seen, the former president has an established track record. Trump came in second in the 2016 Iowa Republican primaries, narrowly coming in second to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX).
Much in politics has changed in the last seven years, and Trump currently holds a commanding lead in a recent state poll. The former president leads with 44% to the Florida governor’s 26%.
Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) polled a distant third at 6%, while other candidates each finished with under 5%.
Furthermore, the polling showed some inherent strength for Trump, as 34% of prospective Republican voters said that they were “definitely” in favor of the former president, while only 15% said the same for DeSantis.
When those polled were asked about a head-to-head matchup between Trump and DeSantis, the former president came out on top, 45-33%.
Trump also carries a strong favorability rating among Iowa Republicans, with 72% viewing him favorably, and 28% unfavorably. DeSantis saw a similar 71% favorability rating and a 21% unfavorability rating.
What could be essential in the upcoming caucuses is that 87% of Iowa Republicans said that they approved of Trump’s tenure in the White House.