If you squint hard enough, the Republican presidential race actually looks closer than the national narrative suggests. Only slightly, of course: Donald Trump still has a commanding lead in the nomination fight, even as he faces 78 criminal charges, and counting, from multiple indictments. But a new poll out of Iowa is giving a measure of comfort to his Republican rivals.
There’s been a frustrating dearth of good polling out of the early caucus and primary states, leaving us with national polling that shows Trump with a roughly 40-point lead over his closest rival, Ron DeSantis. High-quality polls are expensive, and cash-strapped news organizations are presumably waiting until the nominating contests get nearer to spend money on them. But last week, the polling gods finally smiled upon us junkies when The New York Times and Siena College dropped a detailed poll on the state of the race in Iowa. There are a lot of crappy polls out there these days. This is not one of them.