Polling News

Trump’s Pro-Life Iowa Problem

November 02, 2023

The new Des Moines Register/NBC News/Mediacom Iowa Republican Caucus poll found while the former president maintains his lead, the number of Iowans open to voting for other candidates continues to grow. For example, in Aug., 62% of Iowa Republicans were considering Ron DeSantis. Today, that number is 67%. There’s also ballot movement: Nikki Haley grew from 6% in August to 16% now, making her tied with DeSantis for second place. Other nuggets in the poll reveal cracks in Trump’s Iowa standing.

Why It Matters: Why are caucus goers moving out of Trump’s base and into the camp of those who like him, but are considering someone else? He attacked pro-life Iowans who supported Gov. Kim Reynolds’ pro-life legislation. This disagreement with him is part of the reason that interest in alternatives to the former president have been building across Iowa.

By The Numbers:

  • Over half – 52% of likely Republican caucus goers said they disagree with Trump’s statement that Iowa’s six-week abortion ban was a “terrible mistake.” Only 36% of likely Republican caucus goers agree with his statement.

The Bottom Line: Trump has treated Iowa with diffidence, but it’s clear he now knows he has problems in the state as his campaign has increased its Iowa advertising, shaken up staff, and added events. Still, the former president can’t help himself. From bashing the popular GOP governor, to offending the pro-life Iowa Republican majority, to forgetting what city he was in, as he did on Sunday when he said Sioux Falls (that’s in South Dakota) when he was in Sioux City (which is in Iowa). His position on the ballot is formidable today, but it was also strong for Ben Carson at this point in 2015 when Dr. Carson had a twenty-point lead over the eventual Iowa Caucus winner, Sen. Ted Cruz. Trump recently said his advisers warned him not to take Iowa for granted. Considering he has given Iowa Republicans many reasons to consider another candidate, he’d benefit from listening to his handlers. 

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