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Trump Slumps as Iowa Republicans Deliver Surprise for DeSantis

While Ron DeSantis met an excited crowd in Iowa, the Des Moines Register presented the results of a poll that should boost the governor’s confidence in a presidential run.

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DAVENPORT, IOWA – Florida Governor Ron DeSantis looked relaxed as he talked about his chart-topping memoir and sat down Friday for a chat on key issues with his Iowa counterpart Kim Reynolds.

“The vast majority of people – even not Republicans, these are blue-collar people, maybe they’re independents, their parents were Democrats – they’re looking at this and they’re seeing a difference between insanity and common sense,” the governor said regarding his historic support among Floridians in the 2022 election.

Consistent with the message in his book, the governor argued how Florida can serve as a blueprint for a freedom revival across the nation. While DeSantis took questions and further explained his policy positions, the Des Moines Register presented the results of a poll that should inject confidence in the Florida governor’s yet-to-be-announced plans for a presidential run.

According to the poll, Republican respondents who said that they would “definitely” vote for Trump in a presidential election have dropped by 20 points since June 2021. The former president is now almost tied with DeSantis when it comes to favorability, with 44 to the governor’s 42 percent. What is perhaps more serious for Trump is that 8 percent of respondents have a “very unfavorable” view of him, compared to 3 percent for DeSantis.

“Iowa is where the competition starts,” J. Ann Selzer, who conducted the Iowa Poll, told the Des Moines Register.

“And someone who has already held the office and who won the state twice would be presumed to be the front-runner, and I don't know that we can say that at this point. There's nothing locked in about Iowa for Donald Trump,” Selzer added.

Iowa has long been the first stop on the campaign trail for primary hopefuls and is known for its intimate, up-close-and-personal caucuses where the candidates are subject to down to earth scrutiny by prospective voters. DeSantis is making another stop in Des Moines on Friday afternoon, and former President Trump is expected to visit Iowa on Monday.

Reports have speculated that DeSantis’ 2017 stance on the mandatory inclusion of biofuels into gasoline could hurt his chances with the Iowa caucus. From its vast cornfields, the Hawkeye State produces nearly a third of the nation’s ethanol. Even if Big Corn would harbor animosity against the Florida governor over this, it’s hard to find a kernel of proof that this has hurt him with the wider electorate – at least from looking at today’s poll results.