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‘Very’ conservative Iowa caucus electorate say they had minds made up: ANALYSIS

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(DES MOINES, IOWA) — A highly conservative electorate focused on immigration, the economy and rejection of Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory cast the first votes in the 2024 presidential contest in Monday night’s Iowa caucuses, according to preliminary entrance poll results.

Sixty-five percent of GOP voters say they didn’t think Biden legitimately won the presidency in 2020. Sixty-four percent say they’d consider Donald Trump fit for office even if he were convicted of a crime. And 49% say they’re part of the “MAGA movement” that Trump started.

The Republican candidates’ late slogging through the Iowa snow may not have mattered much as 84% of caucusgoers in these preliminary results say they either made up their minds either earlier this month — 14% — or before that, 69%.

In terms of turnout among groups, 88% say they are conservative, matching the high in Iowa caucus GOP entrance polls, including 51% “very” conservative. White voters account for 97% of caucusgoers; evangelical white Christians, 51%.

Demonstrating the prevalence of conservatives and evangelicals, 58% of GOP caucusgoers say they’d favor a federal law banning all or most abortions.

Of four issues tested as most important, two dominated: immigration, at 40%, and the economy, 35%. Foreign policy and abortion were far behind, each cited by 11%.

Top-cited candidate attributes were someone who “shares my values” and “fights for people like me.”

The Iowa Republican caucuses were essentially uncontested in 2020, as Trump sought nomination for reelection. In the 2016 caucuses, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz edged out Trump and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.

Cruz did especially well with very conservative caucusgoers, with 44% support; with those looking for a candidate who “shares my values, 38%; and with white evangelicals, 33%.

Trump did best in 2016 with those focused on immigration, with 44% support. He did 11 points better with moderates than with conservatives, 34 vs. 23 %; and lagged among white evangelicals, with 21%.

 

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