Earlier in the month, one of the biggest evangelical leaders in the Hawkeye State, Bob Vander Plaats, endorsed the Florida governor. His endorsement signaled that Iowa’s conservative establishment had begun to rally behind DeSantis.
According to the Associated Press, “Evangelicals are a crucial voting bloc in Iowa’s Republican caucuses. Vander Plaats, president of the Family Leader, has endorsed the eventual winner in every GOP caucus since 2008 and is potentially jeopardizing his streak by picking DeSantis, who trails far behind Trump in polls. His decision will test his sway among Iowa evangelicals, many of whom continue to support Trump.”
Now, the evangelical leader is saying that the public should not believe the polls showing that Donald Trump is running away with the GOP primary.
The Hill writes:
Bob Vander Plaats, an influential Iowa evangelical leader, said he doesn’t believe recent polling that shows evangelical voters still support former President Trump.
“I don’t believe them, and there’s a reason I don’t believe them – because it does not match up at all to what I’m hearing on the ground,” Vander Plaats told The Washington Post on Thursday.
According to Decision Desk HQ, which has recently partnered with The Hill, the latest polling shows DeSantis earning 17 percent support among Iowa voters, while Trump is in the lead with 54 percent.
While Trump remains the clear front-runner in the race for the GOP nomination, Vander Plaats said he believes his numbers are “much closer to low 40s. I don’t think he’s got a 30-point lead. And I think there’s plenty of time to make that up.”
DeSantis seemed to agree earlier in the week when he said that Trump won’t accept the results if he does not win in Iowa.
“He will say it’s stolen no matter what. He will try to delegitimize the results. He did that against Ted Cruz in 2016,” DeSantis said, referring to Cruz’s victory in the Iowa caucuses. In remarks to reporters in New Hampshire Friday, DeSantis pointed out Trump had also tried to discredit the Emmy Awards for years after his show, “The Apprentice,” failed to win any awards.
“I don’t think there’s been a single time he’s ever been in competition for something, where he didn’t get it, where he has accepted [it],” DeSantis added. “I think that that’s to be expected, but I don’t think people are gonna buy it.”
DeSantis is currently a double-digit underdog in polling in Iowa against the former president.