According to a recent survey conducted by The New York Times, the majority of likely Iowa GOP caucusgoers prioritize finding a candidate who aligns with their values and positions on key issues, rather than focusing solely on defeating Joe Biden in the 2024 presidential election. The poll, which took place from July 28 to August 1, indicated that 52 percent of respondents value supporting a candidate with shared beliefs, while 44 percent prioritize a candidate’s ability to beat Biden.
This finding may work in favor of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who is currently trailing in the polls. It suggests that DeSantis doesn’t necessarily have to be perceived as the strongest candidate in order to secure the party’s nomination. Interestingly, the survey also asked participants to compare former President Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis in terms of their ability to defeat Biden. Half of the likely Iowa GOP caucusgoers believed that Trump better fit this description, compared to only 40 percent for DeSantis. However, this does not necessarily hinder DeSantis’s chances, as it indicates that voters may not require him to be the absolute best contender to gain their support.
The poll also sheds light on DeSantis’s potential strategy to win over likely GOP caucusgoers – moving further to the right. A notable 61 percent of respondents expressed a preference for a more conservative candidate in the primary, while 34 percent favored a more moderate option. This aligns with DeSantis’s recent strong stance on anti-abortion policies, which showcases his conservative position and could resonate with a significant portion of the Republican Party.
Furthermore, by delivering a compelling performance at the first GOP presidential debate on August 23, DeSantis could enhance his standing within the party, especially considering Trump’s expected absence. This presents an opportunity for DeSantis to attract support from followers of other Republican candidates and gain momentum in the race.