Most Americans expect Donald Trump to be the GOP nominee for president

David MontgomerySenior data journalist
January 12, 2024, 11:18 PM GMT+0

Voting in the 2024 Republican presidential primary kicks off in earnest Monday with the Iowa caucuses, and Donald Trump is widely expected to win.

That expectation holds true for the Iowa caucuses themselves, where Trump has led in the polls and where 71% of Republicans expect Trump to win.

It also holds true more widely. In the most recent Economist/YouGov poll, 57% of U.S. adult citizens expect Trump to be the Republican presidential nominee this year, compared to just 16% who pick one of the other candidates in the race or "someone else." Another 26% aren't sure.

Pluralities of Democrats, Independents, and Republicans expect Trump to be the GOP nominee, with the belief especially strong among Republicans: 76% of them expect Trump to win. (The survey was conducted before Chris Christie withdrew his candidacy; 2% expected him to win.)

This reflects the former president's commanding lead in polls among Republicans and Republican-leaning Independents nationwide. 65% of them say they would vote for Trump if the primary were held today — Trump's highest level of support since the Economist and YouGov began asking this question in June 2023.

Winning the January 15 Iowa caucuses — and the New Hampshire primary that follows on January 23 — could give a big boost to Trump or any of his rivals. 51% of Republicans say that the results of voting in Iowa and New Hampshire — the GOP’s first caucus and first primary — are very or somewhat important in deciding which candidate they will support for the GOP nomination.

None of the other Republicans running for president have support from more than 12% of Republican and Republican-leaning Independents.

In the scenario where Trump wins the Republican nomination and Democrats nominate President Joe Biden, registered voters are evenly split: 43% say they would vote for each man, with 6% saying they would vote for another candidate and 8% saying they're not sure or wouldn't vote.

But despite this dead heat, slightly more registered voters think it likely that Trump ultimately wins a rematch: 44% expect Trump to win, while 39% say Biden will.

More registered voters have expected Trump to win than Biden since late October 2023.

— Carl Bialik contributed to this article

See the toplines and crosstabs from the Economist/YouGov poll conducted on January 7 - 9, 2024 among 1,593 U.S. adult citizens.

Methodology: Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel using sample matching. A random sample (stratified by gender, age, race, education, geographic region, and voter registration) was selected from the 2019 American Community Survey. The sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, education, 2020 election turnout and presidential vote, baseline party identification, and current voter registration status. Demographic weighting targets come from the 2019 American Community Survey. Baseline party identification is the respondent’s most recent answer given prior to November 1, 2022, and is weighted to the estimated distribution at that time (33% Democratic, 31% Republican). The margin of error for the overall sample is approximately 3%.

Image: Getty (Scott Olson)