How the Democrats will run their nominating contests next year is an open question, but for Republicans, it is certain that Iowa will go first and New Hampshire will go second. Consequently, what happens in the Iowa caucuses will be the first real clue about how Ron DeSantis stacks up against Donald Trump. DeSantis understands this and, as we note above, "campaigned" there on Friday. Legendary Iowa pollster Ann Selzer ran a poll last week to gauge the field of play. To start with, 80% of Iowa Republicans have a favorable view of Trump and 75% have a favorable view of DeSantis. But DeSantis has plenty of room to grow because 20% don't know enough to have an opinion of him. During the course of this year, all of them will get to know him well enough to have an opinion, so that could grow to as much as 95%. In contrast, Trump is maxed out. Only 1% don't know enough about him to have an opinion. That means 20,000 Iowans have been hiding under rocks for 8 years. We didn't realize that Iowa had that many rocks. What is noteworthy here is that in Sept. 2021, Trump's favorability was at 91%, so it is down 11% since then.
Selzer didn't ask about the primary. Perhaps she feels it is simply too early and the results would be misleading.
However, she did ask Republicans if they would vote for Trump if he were the Republican nominee. In June 2021, 69% would definitely vote for him and another 15% would probably vote for him, for a total of 84%. Last week, 47% said they would definitely vote for him and 27% would probably vote for him, for a total of 74%. The conclusion is that Trump has lost some support over the past year in Iowa. That doesn't answer the obvious question of who will win the Iowa caucuses, but we can't imagine the question just slipped Selzer's mind. Undoubtedly she will run that poll when she thinks it would be meaningful. (V)