AMES, Iowa – The third wave of results from the Iowa State University/Civiqs poll signals very little change among Iowa GOP voters in their presidential candidate preferences. Former President Donald Trump remains in the lead, followed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former U.N. Ambassador and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley.
Lucken Professor of Political Science Dave Peterson organized the poll, which surveyed 1,016 registered voters from Nov. 10-15. The five-part, monthly series is designed to track shifting perspectives before the Iowa caucuses on Jan. 15, 2024.
“The basic order of the candidates stayed the same, and it’s actually a little surprising because it’s been an eventful month in the campaign,” said Peterson. “We’ve seen several high-profile candidates, former Vice President Mike Pence and South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott drop out. The other big news was Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds’ endorsement of Ron DeSantis.”
Among the participants, 432 said they “definitely” or “probably” will attend the Iowa Republican Caucuses and identified themselves as Republican or independent. Over half (54%) of these likely caucus-goers picked Trump as their top choice. It's a four percent drop from the ISU/Civiqs poll results last month, but Trump far outpaces the second tier of candidates.
DeSantis and Haley each gained one percentage point, coming in 18% and 12%, respectively. Entrepreneur and political commentator Vivek Ramaswamy also gained 1%, bumping up to 6%. When asked which candidate is their second choice, 24% of likely Republican caucus-goers chose DeSantis; 20% picked Haley and 19% selected Ramaswamy.
The poll also asked about Gov. Kim Reynolds’ recent endorsement of DeSantis.
“A large majority, 70%, of likely caucus-goers approved of the job Gov. Reynolds is doing, but they were much more mixed about her endorsement,” said Peterson.
Over half (63%) of the respondents said the endorsement made no difference. About a quarter (22%) said it made them less likely to support DeSantis while 13% said it made them more likely to support him.
When asked if there were candidates that they did not support, almost a third of respondents said that they did not want former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to be the nominee. Former President Trump followed, with 18% saying they opposed him for the nomination. The only other candidate with more than 10% opposition was Haley, with 13%, a much larger percent than last month.
The online survey was sent to selected members of the Civiqs research panel. An oversample of Republicans and independents were selected to produce a larger number of likely caucus attendees.
The survey results are weighted by age, race, gender, education, party identification, and congressional district to be representative of the population of registered voters and likely Republican Caucus attendees in Iowa. The survey has a margin of error of ±4.3% for registered voters and ±5.9% for likely Republican Caucus attendees, both at the 95% confidence level, accounting for the design effect.
Results of the next poll are expected in mid-December.
Once the Iowa caucuses conclude in January, Peterson and four undergraduate student researchers will compile and publish additional findings from the monthly surveys. This includes the survey participants’ emotional reactions to presidential candidates, motivations for participating in or abstaining from the political process, and issues that unite and divide voters within the Republican Party.
Part of what makes the Iowa State University/Civiqs poll unique is that some participants are surveyed multiple times across the five months leading up to the caucuses.
Funding for the poll is provided by Iowa State’s Department of Political Science, the Lucken Professorship in Political Science and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.