‘Nikki Haley tops Ron DeSantis for first time in Iowa poll’

NEW DELHI: A recent survey conducted in Iowa reveals that former President Donald Trump continues to hold a significant lead among Republican voters as the caucuses approach. Notably, this poll is the first to show former UN ambassador Nikki Haley establishing a distinct advantage over Florida governor Ron DeSantis, a Washington Post report said.
According to the Suffolk University survey of 500 likely caucus-goers, 54 percent favor Trump as their primary choice.Haley follows with 20 percent, DeSantis at 13 percent, and Vivek Ramaswamy at 6 percent. Last month’s polls in the state showed DeSantis either on par with or ahead of Haley, but Trump consistently led with over 50 percent support.
“In the Suffolk poll, Haley’s support rises to 28 percent among independents and to 42 percent among moderate and liberal likely caucus-goers, the only group where any candidate leads Trump (who received 31 percent support with this group),” the poll noted. However, these voters represent a minor portion of the Iowa electorate, with only 15 percent of Iowa Republican caucus-goers in 2016 identifying as moderate or liberal, the Washington Post report said.
Haley’s prospects look even more promising in the upcoming New Hampshire primary on January 23. A strong showing in Iowa could bolster her challenge against Trump in New Hampshire. Recent polls, including a USA Today-Boston Globe-Suffolk poll and a CNN-UNH poll, show Haley with substantial support in New Hampshire, at 26 percent and 32 percent, respectively. Trump’s support in these polls stands at 39 percent and 46 percent.
The withdrawal of former New Jersey governor Chris Christie from the race on Wednesday could further aid Haley, especially among moderate voters. In New Hampshire, Christie had garnered 12 percent support in the aforementioned polls, attracting roughly a quarter of moderate primary voters. Haley led among moderates in both surveys.
Meanwhile, in a heated CNN debate filled with accusations and sharp exchanges, DeSantis and Haley fiercely criticized each other, each striving to become the leading contender against Donald Trump as the campaign’s first votes loom.
With Trump absent from the debate, DeSantis and Haley focused their attacks on one another. DeSantis criticized Haley’s approach to politics, saying, “We don’t need another mealy-mouthed politician who just tells you what she thinks you want to hear just to try to get your vote, then to get an office and to do her donors’ bidding.”
Haley, countering DeSantis’s claims, highlighted her campaign’s effort to expose his alleged falsehoods. She launched a website documenting what she calls dozens of DeSantis’s untruths and labeled him “so desperate” at one point during the debate.
The rivalry between the two has grown increasingly bitter as the Iowa caucuses approach, with both candidates urgently seeking to disrupt Trump’s momentum towards the nomination. A recent Reuters/Ipsos poll shows Trump leading with 49% support among Republicans nationwide, significantly ahead of Haley, who is in second place with 12%.
Trump, for the fifth time, chose to skip the debate. Instead, he hosted a Fox News town hall in Des Moines, providing him with a prime-time opportunity to engage with a sympathetic audience.
Trump remains the frontrunner for the GOP presidential nomination. Approximately 60 percent of Republicans nationwide back him for the party’s nomination, as per a Post average of public polls.
(With inputs from agencies) Source

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