September 23, 2023

Last week brought yet another campaign reset for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis as a DailyMail.com poll found his support in the crucial early state of Iowa had crashed by nine percent.

But stop to ask the actual men and women who will take part in the first contest to choose the Republican nominee next year and they will tell you to ignore the headlines and that there is a long, long way to go.

‘I think that Trump is in the lead now, but Trump’s gonna say something dumb and make a mistake, and people are gonna turn to Ron,’ said John, 38, a pastor from Des Moines, who attended the Iowa State Fair at the weekend.

Thousands of people used the fair as a chance to cast their eye over the 2024 candidates at the fair.

And the DailyMail.com poll reveals that Republicans in the state are keeping an open mind on whether DeSantis’ presidential run is a success of failure even after another week of negative headlines. 

J.L. Partners surveyed 600 likely Republican caucus-goers in Iowa from August 1 to 7. The results carry a margin of error of +/- four percent

Ron DeSantis has spent three days in Iowa, criss crossing the state on a bus tour before appearing at the state fair on Saturday, following yet another campaign reset

Ron DeSantis has spent three days in Iowa, criss crossing the state on a bus tour before appearing at the state fair on Saturday, following yet another campaign reset

Although only 18 percent said they thought his campaign was going ‘quite well’ or ‘very well’ and 34 percent thought it was going badly, some 38 percent said it was going ‘neither well nor badly.’

Among people saying they are backing the Florida for the nomination, some 41 percent say his campaign is going well, while nine percent think it is doing poorly.

It suggests that despite the neverending negative headlines, DeSantis still has a path to the nomination among the people who will actually make the decision, according to James Johnson, co-founder of J.L. Partners 

‘They might not be saying it’s going well, but they also are not overwhelmingly saying it’s going badly. They’re more likely to say neither or don’t know,’ he said.

‘So there is a there is an open mindedness that remains among the Republican electorate around DeSantis.

‘They are waiting for the debate. If he performs very badly we may see voters turn away from him. 

‘But if he does well, or he does, okay, they’re still willing to give him a chance.’

DeSantis campaign manager Generra Peck left was replaced last week

Florida's first lady Casey DeSantis has frequently been moved center stage whenever coverage of her husband has turned hostile

Campaign manager Generra Peck (left) was replaced last week in the latest sign of turmoil, and Florida’s first lady Casey DeSantis has frequently been moved center stage whenever coverage of her husband has turned hostile

DeSantis has seen his numbers slide in Iowa, and protesters disrupted several of his appearances but most voters in the state say they are openminded about his campaign

DeSantis has seen his numbers slide in Iowa, and protesters disrupted several of his appearances but most voters in the state say they are openminded about his campaign

The fair is a chance for 2024 hopefuls to flip pork chops, eat bad food and meet the voters who will decide who they want to be nominee on January 15 next year

The fair is a chance for 2024 hopefuls to flip pork chops, eat bad food and meet the voters who will decide who they want to be nominee on January 15 next year 

Former President Donald Trump appeared on Saturday, drawing a huge crowd. He remains the easy frontrunner among likely caucus-goers in Iowa

Former President Donald Trump appeared on Saturday, drawing a huge crowd. He remains the easy frontrunner among likely caucus-goers in Iowa

Attention has been focused on Iowa for the past few days. The state fair is a big opportunity to shake hands with voters and drive home their policy promises.

Iowa holds its Republican caucus on January 15, making it the first state to choose a nominee.

It could be a make-or-break moment for a candidate like DeSantis, who shook up his leadership team yet again last week.

Out went campaign manager Generra Peck, who last year masterminded his reelection as Florida governor. In came James Uthmeier, his chief of staff from his state office.

It followed a round of staff cuts as the campaign hit a financial squeeze.

DeSantis is also now relying more heavily on an outside group. He brought David Polyansky into the campaign from the super PAC Never Back Down.

And on Thursday and Friday, he toured Iowa on a Never Back Down Bus in an effort to visit each of the state’s counties. The group is well-funded and can count on the expertise of Jeff Roe, the campaigns guru credited with helping Glenn Youngkin to a surprise win in the election to be Virginia’s governor in 2021.

J.L. Partners surveyed 600 likely Republican caucus-goers in Iowa from August 1 to August 7. The results carry a margin of error of +/- four percent. It shows that Trump remains favorite

J.L. Partners surveyed 600 likely Republican caucus-goers in Iowa from August 1 to August 7. The results carry a margin of error of +/- four percent. It shows that Trump remains favorite

Former Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen flipped pork burgers at fair

Former Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen flipped pork burgers at fair

DeSantis donor Dan Eberhart, who has not shied from criticizing the campaign, said voters didn’t care about the minutiae of personnel stories, particularly in Iowa where they took their first-in-the-nation responsibility seriously.

‘They they want to meet the other candidates, they want to think about it,’ he said. 

‘They’re really more persuadable than the than the average national voter. 

‘My second point is that, you know, the media and the beltway and people on the inside care about all this stuff, but I don’t know that the voter cares whether Ron DeSantis’ campaign is big, small, who’s been laid off, who’s in charge.’

Trump arrived at the state fair on Saturday, flying into Iowa on his 757. Thousands cheered and craned their necks as it circled over the fairground.

Not for the first time, the former president was able to steal the thunder of his rivals with a grand gesture before even setting foot at the fair.

But Iowa voters are not always won over by grand gestures.

‘He’s just pulling the attention away that needs to be on the other people running,’ said Luanne Brendlinger, 70, from Altoona, talking about his divisive politics and headline-grabbing antics.

She said she had loved Trump while he was in office but planned to caucus for DeSantis because she had been living in an RV in Florida during the pandemic and the campgrounds stayed open. (Despite the fact that she sports 

And she added that he seemed to understand the way to win over Iowa voters

‘I think what he’s doing visiting all the counties — I think if he continues that I think it’s going to work.’

 

Despite headlines about resets and missteps Iowa voters are divided on whether or not the DeSantis campaign is failing: Only a third say it is going badly in new poll, offering Florida governor a chance to fight back