DES MOINES, Iowa. - Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is now tied with former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley in an Iowa presidential primary poll. The two candidates trail the frontrunner, former President Donald Trump, in the race to win the first state in the Republican primary election season.
The new poll, by NBC News/Des Moines Register/Mediacom, has Trump leading at 40%, compared to DeSantis and Haley at 16% each. Behind them is South Carolina Senator Tim Scott (7%), former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (4%), and tech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy (4%). Candidates Doug Burgum, Mike Pence, and Asa Hutchinson also appeared, each at 3% or less. Pence announced on Saturday. that he was dropping his presidential bid.
The tie between DeSantis and Haley is statistically notable given the wide margin between the two just a couple months ago - in August, DeSantis was polled at 19% to Haley's 6%. Polls earlier in the primary campaigns showed DeSantis much closer to Trump both nationally and in key early states.
In comments reported by Politico in September, an anonymous DeSantis campaign staffer claimed the campaign team's attitude was that a runner-up finish in Iowa was a realistic goal. The runner-up candidate in the GOP presidential primary will likely continue to trail Trump barring major developments, but could capitalize if Trump exits the race due to ongoing legal troubles.
For now, DeSantis is on the attack against former President Trump, hoping his record as Florida Governor may seem more appealing to primary voters than Trump's term as president. Beyond that, he has made an effort to bill himself as a more effective leader to enact many of Trump's signature policy proposals. "Donald Trump made one of the most famous campaign promises in history when he said he'd build the wall and have Mexico pay for it," DeSantis said in a Tuesday tweet. "Voters who believed his promise aren't 'losers' just because he failed to follow through with it."