Donald Trump makes last-minute appeal to voters ahead of Iowa caucus

With only a day to make a difference, former President Donald Trump returned to the Iowa campaign trail Sunday.
Posted at 6:25 PM, Jan 14, 2024

Donald Trump was back on the campaign trail Sunday, making up for lost time after inches of snow, wind, and life-threatening temperatures threatened to further derail his major frontrunner status.

"We have a lot of people here. If this is any indication, the storm has had zero effect," said Trump.

During his address in a crowded Indianola venue, he followed the familiar theme of the Trump 2020 election, touching on fraud allegations, criticizing his opponents, and unveiling new endorsements from North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum and Florida's U.S. Senator Marco Rubio.

But the main message to Iowans was to turn out on Monday.

"So brave the weather and go out and save America because that's what you're doing. This is really about saving our country. Remember, your caucus location is often different from where you normally vote,” said Trump.

With deadly temperatures expected, poor turnout concerns are not unfounded. Some potential supporters even told Scripps News they don't want to deal with it.

"I am worried about the weather—it's cold; it's negative 30 degrees outside, it feels like,” said Indianola resident Miranda Deppe.

"I'm not sure I'm going to make it to the caucus... We'll just see about my schedule,” said Indianola resident Kim Naberhaus.

Others said they would be there, despite still being undecided on who to support.

"I'll get in my car. I'll get there extra early—I'll bundle up. We've had cold winters like this before. I will do it,” said Des Moines resident Robert Montgomery.

Diehard Trump supporter Daryl Nerness wasn't too concerned. He backed the former president in 2016 and 2020 and said this year feels different.

"I just think it's the people on the ground. It's a lot more organized than it was in 2016, even 2020. I know a lot of people in my polling percent that will come out regardless of the weather,” said Nerness.

It's now up to Iowans to decide their next GOP nominee, but will it be Mother Nature who ends up upsetting this race?

And let's talk specifics for the weather on Monday—the latest predictions are a negative 12 that night. More than frigid enough to burst pipes, freeze cars, and potentially kill. Very dangerous stuff.

The final Des Moines Register/NBC News poll before Monday night's caucuses shows Trump leading with 48%.

Nikki Haley is in second place at 20%, and Ron DeSantis trails with 16%.

The poll also shows that 68% of caucus-goers say their minds are made up for the candidate they'll choose.

How exactly do the Iowa caucuses work?
Pedestrian walks past a sign for the Iowa Caucuses.

How exactly do the Iowa caucuses work?

The state only offers 40 of the some 1,235 delegates needed to win the Republican nomination, but by being first in the country, it sets a tone.