The NY Times is trying to produce a horse race where none seems to be…..
Trump IS quietly bleeding support….
Former President Donald J. Trump’s pull among likely Republican voters is less dominant in Iowa than it is nationwide, though he still leads his nearest rival, Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, in the key early state by double digits, according to a new New York Times/Siena College poll.
The survey of 432 likely Iowa caucusgoers was taken before a third indictment against Mr. Trump was made public on Tuesday, this one charging him with federal crimes connected to his efforts to cling to office after losing re-election in 2020.
But any dent in his dominance in the Hawkeye state may have more to do with factors like personality flaws and voters’ fatigue after eight years of Trumpian drama than his latest legal travails. Iowa Republicans showed some real doubts about which candidate — Mr. Trump or Mr. DeSantis — is more moral, likable or able to beat President Biden in 2024.
Overall, Mr. Trump has the support of 44 percent of Iowans polled, 10 percentage points lower than the commanding position he holds with Republicans nationwide. Mr. DeSantis is second with 20 percent, slightly better than his 17 percent standing nationwide. Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina has the support of 9 percent of likely Iowa Republican caucusgoers, triple his national standing. Mr. Scott’s favorability rating among Iowa Republicans — 70 percent — is on par with Mr. Trump’s 72 percent and just behind Mr. DeSantis’s 77 percent….
The poll suggests that Mr. DeSantis’s efforts in Iowa have been having an effect, but that the challenge of defeating Mr. Trump there is doubly complicated: Several rivals are siphoning off the support he would need from voters who are open to alternatives to the former president, and Mr. Trump’s voters are still overwhelmingly behind him. And as with the national race, it seemed Mr. DeSantis was failing to win over voters with the issues he has made central to his campaign, including defeating so-called woke ideologies….