Out of the daily spotlight and openly flirting with another White House bid, former PresidentDonald Trump will return to Iowa on Saturday with better favorability ratings than he ever saw while president.
The latest Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll shows 53% of Iowans now have a favorable view of the former Republican president and 45% have an unfavorable view — his best showing ever on either metric in the Iowa Poll. Another 2% are not sure how they feel about Trump.
The numbers come as Trump begins to reengage with the state that is expected to kick off the 2024 presidential nominating process for Republicans. And they show favorable feelings for him have not waned in his absence.
A 81 year old Iowa man, Jerry Steward, stated Trump wasn’t your typical politician. “Doesn’t make a difference whether they were Democrat or Republican — they were all politicians,” he said of Trump’s predecessors. “He is not that. I don’t know what he is, but he’s not that.”
Trump will find himself returning Saturday to Iowa for the first time since the 2020 election, holding a rally at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines. Even though this is his most prevalent entry back into Iowa politics; he has also made some quieter overtures recently. These overtures will help lay the groundwork for a potential caucus campaign, should he chose to run.
Steward said he would be excited to see Trump run again. “The situation we have now is very bad, and he will be able to correct that situation quicker than anybody else,” he said.
Although Democrats have left open the possibility of stripping Iowa of its first-in-the-nation caucuses, Republicans have not made any indication they will follow their lead.
Republicans with possible White House aspirations have already shown they believe Iowa will maintain its leadoff role in 2024, as they travel to the state for party fundraisers, forums and speaking engagements. Figures including former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, former Vice President Mike Pence and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley have all made recent appearances.
But things hang in the balance as many scurry to try and guess what the 2024 election will look like. Will Iowa’s Republican caucus goers will look to one of those newer faces in the 2024 caucuses or hold out support for Trump?
Kevin Tobey, a 58-year-old Des Moines resident and poll respondent, said he is “a big Trump fan.” He likes that Trump did what he promised to do while in office, particularly around growing the economy. But Tobey, who identifies as an independent, said that in 2024 he’d love to see Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis run for president.
“We need somebody who can articulate the Constitution,” he said. “That’s something that’s getting lost today.” If both DeSantis and Trump were to campaign in Iowa, “I would vote for DeSantis, but I would be blissfully happy with Trump,” Tobey said.
According to the polls, Trump gets strong marks among demographics that typically make up the core Republican base in Iowa: He’s viewed favorably by 73% of evangelicals and 68% of rural residents.
But there is a split among men and women. Though a majority of men — 61% — view him favorably, a majority of women — 52% — view him unfavorably.
At a time when Iowans’ favorable feelings for Trump have reached new heights, favorable feelings toward Trump’s 2020 and potentially 2024 election opponent, Joe Biden, have reached new lows. Thirty-seven percent of Iowans have favorable feelings toward the president, and 61% have unfavorable feelings, his worst marks in seven Iowa Polls dating to 2012.