(The Center Square) – The next Republican primary debate will be held next week in Miami, and newly released polling in Iowa, the first and crucial Republican primary caucus, shows that former South Carolina Governor and U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley is building momentum.
While former President Donald Trump still holds a significant lead, Haley took second at 16 percent alongside Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, according to a new Des Moines Register/NBC News/Mediacom Iowa Poll.
Haley’s poll numbers improved by 10 points since August to reach that figure while DeSantis dropped by three points.
Trump took first place with 43 percent support in the poll while DeSantis, who was thought to be the only candidate with a real chance of challenging Trump has faltered, failing to gain momentum and close the gap on Trump.
U.S. Senator Tim Scott- R-S.C., who recently said it is “Iowa or bust” for his campaign, is in fourth place at 7% support.
“We have made the decision that it’s Iowa or bust for us, and I’m looking forward to being there,” Scott said on conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt’s show Monday.
Notably, former Vice President Mike Pence dropped out of the race over the weekend, saying “this is not my time.” Who his supporters throw their votes behind could cause a noteworthy shift in the race.
Businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, who made a splash in the previous debates, did not see much change in his Iowa support, but his unfavorable numbers rose, increasing from 20 percent viewing him unfavorably up to 37 percent.
Both Ramaswamy and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie are at four percent support in Iowa, according to the poll.
While any of these candidates have a very difficult road if they hope to catch the former president, Trump does face nearly 100 legal charges that could potentially end his presidential ambitions and make second place in the race more important than ever.
These poll numbers also play into who the Republican nominee could choose for a Vice Presidential candidate.
Real Clear Politics’ polling for New Hampshire, the second and also crucial Republican primary state, has Trump leading with 45% support and Haley in second at 14.2 percent support followed by DeSantis at 10.4 percent
Notably, that same RCP average has both Trump and Haley narrowly beating President Joe Biden in a theoretical head-to-head general election matchup. DeSantis narrowly loses in that same matchup.