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How Trump won the 2024 Iowa caucuses

Trump wins 2024 Iowa caucuses
Trump wins Iowa caucuses, first GOP 2024 nominating contest 02:23

Former President Donald Trump is the projected winner of the first contest of the Republican primary season on Monday night, further confirming his status as the GOP frontrunner. 

Trump's victory Monday night was anticipated. Recent polls showed him far ahead of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley in the Hawkeye State. A Des Moines Register/NBC News/Mediacom poll just before the Iowa caucuses showed Trump with 48% support among likely GOP caucusgoers, ahead of Haley's 20% and DeSantis's 16%. Other polls showed Trump with a similarly commanding lead. 

How did Trump get here? 

Trump has also been picking up support nationally. Support for Trump among likely GOP primary voters nationwide has increased from 58% in May 2023, to 69% now. 

Trump's supporters are also not just behind him, but behind him enthusiastically. Among likely GOP primary voters who are Trump voters, 81% say they enthusiastically support him, according to a November CBS News/YouGov poll

GOP primary voters say Trump, rather than Haley or DeSantis, is the most likely to beat President Biden. 

Among GOP primary voters, 70% think Trump would definitely beat Mr. Biden, compared to 37% who say DeSantis definitely could and 31% who say Haley definitely could. But CBS News/YouGov polling shows Haley, not Trump, would have the strongest chance against Mr. Biden, followed by DeSantis. 

What did the entrance polls say about Trump? 

Trump won the Iowa Republican caucuses with strong support from White evangelicals and very conservative voters — key voting blocs in these caucuses, and 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 caucusgoers 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.

When will we know the final results for who won Iowa?

The full results of the Iowa caucuses likely won't be available until late Monday night or early Tuesday, although a clearer picture of who will come in second, third and fourth place should be available sooner. Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis are currently fighting for second place. 

Why are the results of the Iowa caucus so important?

Iowa's first-in-the-nation status has long been an important indicator of future success and making it in the top three is typically critical for candidates. But the person who comes in first in Iowa isn't necessarily the nominee. In 2016, Sen. Ted Cruz won the Iowa caucuses. But Trump, who came in second, was the nominee. 

Jennifer De Pinto contributed to this report.

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