Iowa caucus entrance polls for 2024: What are the biggest issues?

CBS News projects that former President Donald Trump will win the Iowa caucuses. Former U.S. ambassador the U.N. Nikki Haley and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis are locked in a battle for second place.

Immigration is the top issue for GOP caucusgoers in Iowa, followed by the economy, according to CBS News entrance polls. And while voters want someone who shares their values, Trump’s legal troubles are not a concern for most.

It may be cold in Iowa, but the 2024 Republican primary season is heating up.

Immigration is what’s most motivating Iowa Republicans to the caucuses today, based on early interviews conducted with voters heading into the Iowa caucuses.

Throughout the campaign, immigration and the economy have been top concerns for Republicans in Iowa as well as nationwide.

What about the issue of abortion?

Most Iowa Republican caucus voters said they favor a nationwide ban on all or most abortions and those voters went for Trump.

Haley, who has attempted to moderate her message on abortion ran close behind Trump among those voters who oppose a national ban.

Abortion may play differently in a state like New Hampshire where recent CBS News polling shows 57% of GOP primary voters think abortion should be legal or in all or most cases.

Beyond issues, what are Iowa Republican voters most looking for in a candidate?

For Iowa GOP caucusgoers, the most important candidate quality they want is someone who “shares my values,” followed by someone who “fights for people like me.”

Most Iowa Republican voters are dismissing his legal woes. Six in 10 say if Trump were to be convicted of a crime, he would still be fit to be president.

Why does the Iowa caucus lean Trump?

One reason is there are a lot of “MAGA” Republicans here.

Early entrance polls tell us half of caucus voters consider themselves part of the MAGA movement. And a big majority of Iowa Republican caucus-goers do not believe Biden was elected legitimately in 2020.

And roughly nine in 10 of those who say they are backing Trump today don’t think Biden won in 2020.

Who supported Trump in Iowa caucuses?

Trump won the Iowa Republican caucuses with strong support from White evangelicals and very conservative voters — key voting blocs in these caucuses — groups he lost in 2016 when voters were less convinced of his conservative credentials.

Trump’s support was widespread: He won men, women, older voters and younger voters, and improved on his 2016 performance with all of these groups.

Most Iowa caucus-goers largely dismissed Trump’s legal woes with most saying he would still be fit for the presidency even if he were convicted of a crime.

The issue of immigration helped boost Trump, he overwhelmingly won those who picked it as their top issue.

Trump wins voters who didn’t support him in 2016

Trump won the Iowa Republican caucuses with strong support from multiple groups that he lost in 2016. White evangelicals and very conservative voters – key voting blocs in these caucuses – went for Ted Cruz eight years ago. Voters without college degrees also chose Ted Cruz. Trump not only won among these groups but more voted for him than all the other candidates combined.

In 2016, voters who said the economy was most important chose Marco Rubio, but now they went for Trump.

Haley and DeSantis locked in battle for second place

Haley and DeSantis are in a battle for second place, and who voters eventually chose between the two candidates has to do with the type of candidate they want.

The top quality sought was by far someone who shares their values – a group of voters that Trump won – but who DeSantis made significant inroads with.

Far fewer wanted someone who “had the right temperament,” but among those for whom it was most important, Haley was the clear favorite.

And while beating Biden in November wasn’t at the top of the list either, voters who said it was most important were split between Haley and Trump.

Both Haley and DeSantis are in a close fight for those who took their time to decide. They are split among voters who decided in the last few days.

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