Donald J. Trump enjoys the support of 48% of likely caucus-goers ahead of Monday’s election, a sizable lead for the former president, according to the Iowa poll by The Des Moines Register, NBC News and Mediacom.
Nikki Haley narrowly leads the battle for second place ahead of Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, 20 percent to 16 percent, according to the survey released Saturday evening.
The poll shows Ms. Haley, the former United Nations ambassador, improving from December and Mr. Trump slipping — but only marginally. He enjoys a lead of 28 points, compared to 32 points last month.
The survey, which has acquired almost mythical status in some political circles, immediately constitutes the new baseline of expectations for Monday’s caucuses. The three main candidates have been fighting not only to win the most votes in recent days, but also to moderate their expected performances in order to claim a better-than-expected performance.
No other candidate topped the 10% mark, with Vivek Ramaswamy, a businessman who aligned with Mr. Trump and campaigned in Iowa, at 8%.
The poll — conducted by J. Ann Selzer Jan. 7-12, with a margin of error of 3.7 percentage points — comes during an unusual cold snap, even for Iowa.
The weather made turnout forecasts particularly volatile for Monday. The Trump, DeSantis and Haley campaigns have been studying the impact of the storm for any potential benefit, with non-aligned political strategists calling the cold – with subzero temperatures for the day – an unusual test of natural enthusiasm and organizational power in the final days of the race. .
“I guess you have the worst climate in history, but maybe that’s a good thing, because our people are more committed than anyone,” Mr. Trump said in a video announcing he was canceling some of its weekend events.
In the previous Iowa poll, in December, Mr. Trump was the top choice of a 51 percent majority of likely caucus attendees, and leading among all demographic groups. He led by an even wider margin among new caucus participants, with 63 percent support.
Mr. Trump was up 42 percent in August, 43 percent in October and 51 percent in December.
Mr. DeSantis had previously remained relatively stable: 19 percent in August, 16 percent in October, then 19 percent again in December.
Ms. Haley started far behind, with 6 percent in August. Then it rose to 16 percent in October and remained at 16 percent in December.