By Andy Sullivan and Jason Lange
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Donald Trump holds a wide lead over his rivals for the Republican U.S. presidential nomination just five days before the state-by-state selection contest begins, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Wednesday.
The former president is the preferred candidate of 49% of self-identified Republicans, the poll found. Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley had the support of 12% of Republicans, with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis holding 11% support.
Entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy was backed by 4% of Republicans, while no other candidate got more than 2%, the poll found. Some 18% said they did not know whom they would support.
The poll of 1,941 self-identified Republicans was conducted nationwide, meaning it may not necessarily predict who will win Monday’s caucuses in Iowa, the first of the state nominating contests that will determine who will try to unseat Democratic President Joe Biden in the Nov. 5 election.
The broad outlines of the race have changed little since the summer, even as Trump’s legal woes have mounted and his rivals have spent months on the campaign trail.
Most Reuters/Ipsos surveys conducted since August have found that Trump has commanded the support of roughly half of the Republican electorate.
His rivals, meanwhile, have failed to make headway.
Haley has benefited from a surge of money and attention from Republicans who do not want to nominate Trump for a third time, but she remains effectively tied with DeSantis, who has been hobbled by organizational woes.
Haley fared slightly better among more educated Republicans. Trump’s support among Republicans with a college degree dipped to 34%, while 21% said they backed Haley. But her support among those without a college degree, a much larger portion of the Republican electorate, was just 8%, the poll found.
The random sample of U.S. adults, conducted online, was conducted Jan. 3 through Jan. 9. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
(Reporting by Andy Sullivan and Jason Lange; Editing by Scott Malone and Jonathan Oatis)