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DeSantis Leads Trump In Iowa By Eight Points In Head-To-Head Matchup After Sparring Over ‘Drama’ And ‘Porn Star’ Attack

Following a week in which he launched some of his sharpest criticisms of the outgoing president and Trump responded with a barrage of insults, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis now leads Donald Trump in a new poll out of Iowa.
The Public Opinion Strategies for Axios poll in Iowa focuses on a state that is emerging as a crucial electoral battleground for those in the Republican Party trying to dethrone Trump.

In a head-to-head debate, DeSantis leads Trump by eight points, 45 to 37, according to the poll.

The information was released shortly after Trump used a rally in Waco to reenergize his base. At the event, he renewed his criticism of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who may soon face charges related to a ‘hush’ agreement with porn star Stormy Daniels. According to Trump, if it weren’t for his support for DeSantis in his bid for governor, he would be employed at a cigar shop.

In a crowded primary, which might be more representative of reality in a year, DeSantis does not perform as well. Trump and DeSantis are deadlocked in Iowa when former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy are taken into account.

In the 2016 Republican primary, Trump benefited from a free-for-all and might do so once more in a crowded field that splits his supporters.

DeSantis said in an interview last week that he had nothing to do with hush payments made to a porn star, which Trump’s team interpreted as an attack. In response, Trump launched yet another of his own criticisms on “Ron DeSanctimonious.”

In a survey conducted by the same company in New Hampshire, Trump and DeSantis deadlocked with 39 percent of the vote apiece.
Early state polls come as Trump’s lead over DeSantis in national polls has grown.

Some of his national policy views are still well known, such as his recent comment labeling Russia’s war on Ukraine a “territorial dispute,” in a comment he tried to walk back. He has become a favorite of a range of Republicans looking for an alternative to Trump.

As the first state to host a caucus, Iowa always has disproportionate influence in the selection process. The Republican caucuses are scheduled to begin in 2024. If Trump, the former Republican president, were to lose there, it might damage his reputation as the field’s undisputed front-runner. Trump visited Davenport earlier this month; unlike DeSantis, he has declared his candidacy.
Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas narrowly defeated Trump there in 2016 (Trump accused Cruz of “fraud” at the time, when his own candidacy’s seriousness was still being judged). Since New Hampshire will host the nation’s first-ever primary in January 2024, a loss as an incumbent could have a more noticeable effect. In 2020, Trump easily defeated Bill Weld, a former Republican governor of Massachusetts. A less-than-stellar showing there might hurt Trump because it is a small state that has historically given insurgent contenders a platform to try to mount a challenge.

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