DeSantis Makes Nearly Double-Digit Gains in Iowa After Campaign Kick-Off, According to Trump’s Own Pollster

Donald Trump stands behind Ron DeSantis as he speaks at a rally

AP Photo/Butch Dill, File.

After months of falling back into a more distant second place behind former president Donald Trump, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has made gains since declaring his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination two weeks ago.

In fact, according to one GOP firm often used by Trump, DeSantis has closed the gap by almost 10 points in Iowa.

A late April survey conducted by McLaughlin and Associates pegged Trump’s support in the critical, first in the nation contest at 54%, with DeSantis following him at 20%. But a survey conducted by the same firm a month later shows Trump still with a sizable lead, garnering the votes of 49.5%, but DeSantis now attracting 24.5% of potential caucus-goers.

The two frontrunners are trailed by South Carolina Senator Tim Scott (R-SC), former Vice President Mike Pence, and former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, in that order.

The Trump campaign hired the firm to conduct polling for it in 2016 and then again in 2020, and is known to present rosy results for the former president. Owner John McLaughlin titled a memo summarizing the results of its April poll “Donald Trump Dominates Iowa Republican Caucus Ballots” before later remarking that he boasted “a commanding lead over Ron DeSantis.”

The McLaughlin poll is accompanied by a poll from DeSantis’s super PAC showing him down by 10 points to Trump in a crowded field and down only two in a head-to-head matchup.

DeSantis has been busy on the trail, holding and attending numerous events in both Iowa and New Hampshire since making his candidacy official, while Trump has been more hands-off after earning a reputation as a tireless campaigner in 2016 and 2020.

According to the Trump campaign’s website, he does not presently have any campaign events scheduled.

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