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Trump crushes DeSantis and Haley in Iowa as historic comeback picks up steam

Former president scores best showing in contested Iowa caucus in GOP history, winning by about 30 points.

Published: January 16, 2024 12:12am

Updated: January 16, 2024 5:40am

Former President Donald Trump cemented his status as the 2024 GOP presidential frontrunner on Monday night with a resounding win in the Iowa caucus, catapulting a once-unthinkable comeback closer to a third straight GOP nomination and a rematch with a much weakened President Joe Biden.

The 45th president scored the best showing in a contested Iowa caucus in GOP history, winning by about 30 points.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis finished second, while former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, portrayed by the media as surging in recent weeks, finished a disappointing third.

The top contenders move on quickly to next week‘s New Hampshire primary, but the Iowa results had immediate impact: millionaire businessman Vivek Ramaswamy dropped from the race after finishing a distant fourth, and immediately endorsed Trump.

Trump thanked Iowa voters for a resounding victory and urged the country to rally around him and focus its efforts on ousting an increasingly unpopular Biden.

"I really think this is time now for everybody, our country, to come together," Trump told his victory party. "We want to come together, whether it is Republican or Democrat or liberal or conservative."

Biden's approval rating has now hit a new low, according to a recent survey.

An ABC News/Ipsos poll, conducted Jan. 4-8, just 33% of respondents said they approved of Biden's job performance. His disapproval rating is now 58%.

More Americans predict that Trump would beat Biden in a general election matchup, according to the results of a new poll released by The Economist/YouGov.

One of the poll questions asked voters to predict who would win an election between Trump and Biden regardless of who they personally prefer. In response, 44% said Trump, 35% said Biden and 21% said they were not sure.

Entrance polls from the Iowa caucus showed that the number one issue for Trump voters was immigration. Trump focused heavily on illegal immigration and border security during his presidential announcement speech declaring his candidacy in the 2016 GOP primary.

Also, 71% of Trump voters in Iowa said he was fit for presidency even if convicted of a crime.

According to entrance poll data, 69% said Biden didn't legitimately win in 2020.

Trump won the contested Iowa caucus by the largest margin in GOP history compared to George W. Bush's 10 point victory in 2000 and former Sen. Bob Dole's 12.8 percentage point win in 1988.

"Most importantly we want to thank the great people of Iowa," Trump said in his victory speech. 

The candidates are moving quickly to the next contest. DeSantis announced he was going to South Carolina, and then on to New Hampshire.

Trump was taking a brief detour from the campaign trail to attend the first day of his defamation trial involving E. Jean Carroll before heading to New Hampshire.

Bush was the last Republican presidential candidate to win a contested Iowa caucus and go on to become the Republican nominee in 2000.

The next GOP primary contest takes place in New Hampshire on Jan. 23.

DeSantis and Haley both signaled they were staying in the race. 

"They threw everything at Ron DeSantis. They couldn’t kill him. He is not only still standing, but he’s now earned his ticket out of Iowa. This is going to be a long battle ahead, but that is what this campaign is built for. The stakes are too high for this nation and we will not back down," a DeSantis campaign senior official told Just the News.

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