Recent polls show that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) defeated former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) in the latest Republican presidential primary debate, which took place in Iowa.
The Daily Mail released a poll by J.L. Partners, finding that 55% of individuals who watched the Iowa GOP debate believe DeSantis won, while just 31% said the same about Haley. Nearly 15% of respondents said they were unsure who performed better in the primary debate.
Performed best in the debate:
DeSantis 55% (+24)
— Political Polls (@Politics_Polls) January 11, 2024
The co-founder of J.L. Partners, James Johnson, told the Daily Mail that based on the poll, Republicans believe DeSantis has what it takes to match up against former President Donald Trump, who has consistently trounced the Florida governor in presidential surveys.
“Republicans who watched the debate last night gave a clear message: that person should be Ron DeSantis,” Johnson told the outlet. “He was seen as the winner over Nikki Haley as well as the best to go up against Trump.”
DeSantis and Haley faced off in the Iowa GOP debate, with the two presidential contenders constantly criticizing each other on the debate stage. Haley urged viewers to visit a website of her campaign that showed what she claimed were fact-checks on the Florida governor’s attacks.
Johnson said that DeSantis’ aggressiveness against Haley on the debate stage, along with the poll showing that the Florida governor performed well, signals that the Republican Party is “one modeled in the image of Donald Trump.”
“Though a different, punchier DeSantis was on display last night, this tallies with what we have known for some time,” Johnson began. “Nationally the Republican primary audience is very socially conservative, does not want the U.S. to get involved in foreign wars, and is one modeled in the image of Donald Trump.”
Johnson claimed that DeSantis demonstrated he was a better alternative to Trump than Haley was.
“The question now is whether he can convert his debate boost into a clear second place showing in Iowa,” he added.
Johnson argued that Haley would do better than DeSantis in the New Hampshire primary because independent voters are allowed to participate, thereby reducing “DeSantis’ chance of getting down to what he and — as our poll shows — the national Republican primary audience most voters want: a showdown between DeSantis and Trump.”