The latest NBC News/Des Moines Register/Mediacom poll of Iowa finds that the top issues animating likely Republican caucusgoers ahead of the first GOP presidential contest on Jan. 15 are the economy, immigration and the deficit.
Eighty-one percent of likely caucusgoers say that the economy and inflation are “extremely important” to them as they evaluate candidates for the upcoming Iowa race, while 80% say immigration and border security are equally important.
That’s followed by 72% of likely caucusgoers who believe government spending and the deficit are extremely important, and 57% who cite the Israel-Hamas war.
At the bottom of the list of the 11 different issues the poll asked are ethanol and renewable energy (27% say it’s extremely important), climate change (10%) and vaccinating against Covid (9%).
On the topic of the Israel-Hamas war, a majority of likely GOP caucusgoers — 52% — say former President Donald Trump would do the best job of handling the war.
That’s higher than the 43% of caucusgoers who pick Trump as their first-choice candidate in the poll.
Twenty-two percent of caucusgoers say former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley would do the best job of handling the war, and 9% prefer Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on the issue.
And on the subject of abortion restrictions – which 41% of caucusgoers say is “extremely important” – another majority say they disagree with Trump’s past criticism of a six-week abortion ban.
In a September interview on “Meet the Press,” Trump criticized the six-week abortion ban that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law as a “terrible thing and a terrible mistake.” Iowa has a similar six-week abortion ban.
According to the poll, 52% say they disagree with Trump calling a six-week ban a terrible mistake, versus 36% who say they agree.
Trump’s supporters are split on this question, however, with 41% of caucusgoers who select him as their first choice disagreeing with him on the issue, versus 40% who agree.
The NBC News/Des Moines Register/Mediacom poll was conducted Oct. 22-26 of 404 Iowa likely Republican caucusgoers, and has a margin of error of plus-minus 4.9 percentage points.