Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis leads Donald Trump in a new survey out of Iowa, following a week where he ventured some of his harshest attacks on the former president and Trump hurled back a series of insults.
The Iowa poll, conducted by Public Opinion Strategies for Axios, centers on a state that is emerging as a key political battleground for forces in the Republican Party hoping to turn back Trump.
DeSantis leads Trump by eight points, 45 to 37, in a head-to-head matchup, according to the poll.
The news comes after Trump was rallying his base once again with a rally in Waco, where he once again attacked Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg amid signs he could be on the verge of being indicted on matters related to a ‘hush’ agreement with porn star Stormy Daniels.
DeSantis does not perform as well in a crowded primary, which might come closer to approximating reality a year from now. When former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and entrepreneur Vivek Ramswamy are included, Trump and DeSantis are tied in Iowa.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis leads former President Donald Trump in a new poll out of Iowa
Trump benefitted from a free-for-all in the 2016 Republican primary, and could do so again in a large field that divides his supports.
DeSantis in an interview last week said he didn’t have anything to do with hush payments to a porn star – in a statement Trump’s camp took as an attack. Trump responded with another of his own attacks on ‘Ron DeSanctimonious.’
Trump and DeSantis were tied in New Hampshire in a poll by the same firm, with each at 39 per cent.
Former President Donald Trump has been expanding his lead over DeSantis nationally, and rallied with his base in Waco, Texas over the weekend
DeSantis bested Trump on favorability ratings, with an 81-11 rating in Iowa compared to Trump’s 74-24 among Republican voters. In New Hampshire, DeSantis was at 77-5, while Trump’s rating was 69-29.
The early state surveys come as Trump has expanded his lead over DeSantis in national surveys.
He has become a favorite of a range of Republicans who are seeking an alternative to Trump, but some of his national policy views are still being known – such as his recent comment calling Russia’s war on Ukraine a ‘territorial dispute,’ in a comment he tried to walk back.