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There is little expectation that either of Donald Trump’s remaining challengers for the Republican Party’s 2024 presidential nomination have a chance following his dominant victory in the Iowa caucuses.
Ahead of New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary, our new survey shows that 74% of potential Republican primary voters say it’s “very likely” the former president will be the party’s nominee this year, up from 66% at the beginning of December. Roughly 1 in 10 voters in the GOP’s nationwide primary electorate said the same of former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley or Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, with both figures down from last month.
The GOP electorate’s view about the state of the race is indeed reflective of Trump’s commanding primary lead: Our survey conducted after the Iowa caucuses showed Trump with his largest level of support to date in our ongoing tracking of the contest, leaving little room for Haley or DeSantis to grow their backing.
Potential primary voters’ increasing belief that Trump will obtain the Republican nomination this year mirrors that of the overall electorate, more than half of which now says the former president will be the GOP’s standard-bearer.
What it means for the general election
Looking ahead to November, there is one important chunk of the electorate that isn’t so sure about Trump’s dominance of the GOP: The 16%, per our latest tracking, who aren’t supporting Trump or Biden in November. Among these voters, just 1 in 5 are certain Trump will be the nominee. This suggests there is some potential for change in general election surveys, which currently show Biden narrowly trailing Trump.
A sizable and potentially influential chunk of the electorate that’s not yet fully tuned into politics — made up of independents and a not-insignificant share of Biden’s 2020 voters — has yet to come to terms with the notion that Trump will be the nominee. These voters appear to be the most likely subset to be turned off by Trump given their past history, suggesting they could make their way back to Biden if a man they’ve seen as a threat before takes on more prominence over the next 10 months.