A recent New York Times survey has revealed that the majority of likely Iowa GOP caucusgoers value finding a candidate they agree with on issues more than one who can defeat Joe Biden in the 2024 presidential election. The poll, conducted between July 28 and August 1, showed that 52 percent of respondents preferred supporting a candidate they align with on the issues, while 44 percent prioritized one with the best chance of beating Biden.
This preference could potentially work in favor of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who is currently trailing in the polls. As it appears, DeSantis doesn’t necessarily have to be perceived as the strongest candidate to secure the nomination.
Interestingly, the survey also asked participants to assess whether the phrase “able to beat Joe Biden” better described former President Donald Trump or Ron DeSantis. Half of the likely Iowa GOP caucusgoers said it described Trump “a lot” or “somewhat better,” compared to 40 percent for DeSantis. Nonetheless, this doesn’t necessarily hinder DeSantis, as it suggests that voters may not require him to be the absolute best contender to garner their support.
The poll also offered insights into a potential strategy for DeSantis to win over likely GOP caucusgoers—moving further to the right. A notable 61 percent of respondents expressed a preference for a more conservative candidate in the primary, compared to 34 percent who favored a more moderate choice.
With his recent strong stance on anti-abortion policies, DeSantis has already demonstrated his conservative position, which could resonate with a significant portion of the Republican Party.
Furthermore, DeSantis could boost his standing within the party by delivering a compelling performance at the first GOP presidential debate on August 23, especially since Trump is not expected to attend. By seizing this opportunity, DeSantis might attract support from other Republican candidates’ followers and gain momentum in the race.