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President Donald J. Trump maintains a strong base of support from Iowa Republicans in a potential third Iowa Caucus bid. But, if he doesn’t decide to run again in 2024, there is also a clear alternative frontrunner.

Neighborhood Research and Media released results from a 2024 Iowa Caucus poll conducted Nov. 3-5 and 8-12. Responses were gathered from 375 Iowans who voted in either the 2016, 2018 or 2020 GOP primary and said it is “definite” or “very likely” they will participate in the 2024 Iowa Republican Caucus.

Trump received 55.7 percent from the respondents when asked who would be their first choice for President. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is the only other specific potential candidate to reach double digits as he finished with 12.3 percent.

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem was the third choice with 2.1 percent. Six other names were rattled off by those who participated, but none received more than 1.6 percent of the vote.

There is a sizeable number of Iowans who considered themselves “undecided.” In all, 20.8 percent of those surveyed said they’re undecided when it comes to their top pick for President in 2024.

Trump saw a surprising change in one regard — he was the top pick of 61.5 percent of females and 50.5 percent of males. It’s a reverse gender gap opposite from what was seen earlier in his career.

Trump led DeSantis 64-7 with women over 35. It was 49-16 among men over 35.

However, that trend was opposite among voters under 35 years old — which was a small number of those who participated. Men under 35 were “much more” pro-Trump and women under 35 were less so. Those under 35 voters made up eight percent of respondents.

When second-choice votes are counted, Trump hits 62 percent. DeSantis sees a huge bump as he increases to 38 percent. Noem garners 4 percent while Vice President Mike Pence and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz take 3 percent. Ambassador Nikki Haley totals 2 percent.

“DeSantis’s strength with men over 35, who make up a large share of the political class, is not only a long-term concern for Trump, but his strength — especially among Trump voters on the second ballot — sucks all the oxygen away from any other potential candidate,” said Neighborhood Research and Media’s Rick Shaftan. “DeSantis gets support on one of the three ballots from 39 percent of voters. Kristi Noem is next at only 5 percent.”

Adding in third-choice votes puts Trump at 65 percent, DeSantis at 39, Noem and Cruz each at 5, Pence at 4 and Haley at 3 percent.

In total, Trump failed to be picked as a top-three choice by 35 percent of respondents. This includes 14 percent of “very conservative” voters, 43 percent of “somewhat conservative” voters and half of moderates.

Noem received half of her first-place votes from the Sioux City and Sioux Falls TV markets.


Forty-five percent of respondents said they attend weekly church services and 86 percent provided a specific church name when asked. Mainline Protestants are the most enthusiastic of these voters. They represented 16 percent of the group that provided a specific church name when asked. Trump was supported 77-0 over DeSantis by this group.

Trump led 62-13 among Baptists and Non-Denominationalists (37 percent of those who provided a specific church name). It was 61-11 among Catholics (17 percent).

Trump’s lead slips among Presbyterians, Lutherans and Reformed churchgoers. His lead with those voters is 38-12 — with 6 percent also going toward Noem (mostly due to geography).

“Trump is particularly weak with Reformed voters,” according to the poll.


Among very conservative women over 35, Trump holds a 69-3 margin over DeSantis.

“While these numbers on the surface look good for the 45th President, the reverse gender gap is a cause for concern with numbers barely over 50 percent with me, and under when looking at politically influential men over 35.”

Interestingly, 61 percent of voters who said Trump is their first choice do not have a second choice. Twenty-five percent picked DeSantis second, while three said their second choice would be Pence.

The results paint a pretty clear early picture of the 2024 Iowa Republican Caucuses…

“Should Trump choose not to run, DeSantis becomes the immediate frontrunner and Republicans across America will be tripping over each other to endorse him first,” Shaftan said. “DeSantis knows this and that gives him the ability to hang back and play it cool.”

Author: Jacob Hall