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Majority of likely Iowa GOP caucusgoers believe Trump won the 2020 election

The new NBC News/Des Moines Register/Mediacom poll shows Trump’s unfounded claims he won the last election remain salient ahead of the Iowa GOP caucus.
People cheer as former U.S. President Donald Trump exits after speaking during a rally at the Steer 27 Stein bar at the Iowa State Fair on August 12, 2023 in Des Moines, Iowa. Republican and Democratic presidential hopefuls, including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former U.S. President Donald Trump are visiting the fair, a tradition in one of the first states to hold caucuses in 2024.
People cheer as they see former President Donald Trump at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines on Aug. 12.Brandon Bell / Getty Images

More than half of likely Iowa Republican caucusgoers say they believe former President Donald Trump’s claims that he won the 2020 presidential election, despite no evidence of widespread election fraud, a new poll from NBC News/Des Moines Register/Mediacom shows.

Fifty-one percent of respondents say they believe Trump, while 41% say they don’t, and 8% aren’t sure. The poll includes both Republican and independent voters who say they're likely to participate in the caucus.

Majorities of self-identified Republicans (60%), those making less than $70,000 a year (69%), evangelicals (62%) and those without college degrees (59%) all believe Trump’s election claims. Out of those who say Trump is their first-choice candidate, 83% say they believe he won the 2020 election.

The finding underscores the main takeaways from the poll, which are that Trump is the clear favorite among the Iowa GOP electorate less than five months before the state’s pivotal Jan. 15 caucus and that even more Republicans are open to supporting him or defending him on his claims about the 2020 election after his multiple indictments.

In the poll, 42% of likely GOP caucusgoers chose Trump as their first choice to be the party’s presidential nominee, followed by 19% who chose Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and 9% who chose Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina. And 65% say Trump — who has been indicted four times this year, including in two cases that deal with his conduct surrounding the 2020 election — hasn’t committed any serious crimes.

But respondents who don’t support Trump are far less likely to agree with his views about the 2020 election. Only 29% of likely Republican caucusgoers who are supporting candidates other than Trump say they believe he won the 2020 election, along with 37% of independents.

The NBC News/Des Moines Register/Mediacom poll was conducted Aug. 13-17 of 406 likely Republican caucusgoers who said they will definitely or probably attend the 2024 caucuses. It has an overall margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percentage points.