Fact Check

Was Trump's Margin of Victory in 2024 Iowa Caucuses the Smallest of Any GOP Candidate in History?

There certainly were plenty of rumors to go around about the 2024 Republican Iowa caucuses.

Published Jan 16, 2024

Former President Donald Trump speaks at his caucus night event, with sons Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr. looking on, at the Iowa Events Center on Jan. 15, 2024 in Des Moines, Iowa. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images) (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Image Via Alex Wong/Getty Images
Former U.S. President Donald Trump's margin of victory in the 2024 Republican Iowa caucuses was the smallest of any GOP candidate in history.

On Jan. 15, 2024, former U.S. President Donald Trump won the 2024 Republican Iowa caucuses. The Associated Press reported that the victory was a "commanding" and "record-setting win" for the 45th president of the United States, who was seeking to become the nation's 47th president.

On the night of the caucuses, X user Victor Shi, among others, posted that "Trump's margin of victory was the smallest of any Republican candidate in American history." A study of results from past Iowa caucuses showed that this claim was false.

A rumor said that former US President Donald Trump had in 2024 the smallest margin of victory of any GOP candidate ever in the history of the Republican Iowa caucuses.

Shi is the strategy director for Voters of Tomorrow, a youth-led organization that describes itself as "seeking to educate, empower and engage Generation Z with politics and government." At the age of 17, Shi was the youngest delegate for then-U.S. presidential candidate Joe Biden at the 2020 Democratic National Convention, according to Politico.com.

We reached out to Shi via a direct message on X to ask about the false claim and will update this story if we receive a response.

Past Results from Republican Iowa Caucuses

Ballotpedia.org – a website that describes itself as "the digital encyclopedia of American politics and elections" – defines an electoral margin of victory as "the difference between the share of votes cast for the winning candidate and the second-place candidate."

Trump received 56,260 votes in the 2024 Republican Iowa caucuses, with more than 95 percent of votes tallied, having reported in, according to The New York Times. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis placed second with 23,420 votes. Trump's margin of victory was 32,840 votes.

In the 2016 Iowa caucuses, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz received 51,666 votes. Trump placed second with 45,427 votes. Cruz's margin of victory was 6,239 votes.

In 2012, former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum edged out Mitt Romney in Iowa, who at the time was the former governor of Massachusetts, by only 34 votes. Romney later ran for and succeeded in becoming a U.S. Senator in 2019, representing the state of Utah.

The margins of victory for the winner in the remaining Republican Iowa caucuses were as follows: Mike Huckabee in 2008 (10,892 votes), George W. Bush in 2000 (9,205 votes), Bob Dole in 1996 (2,883 votes), Dole in 1988 (13,900 votes) and George H. W. Bush in 1980 (2,182 votes).

In other words, Trump's victory in the 2024 Republican Iowa caucuses truly was "record-setting," as The AP had noted.

Additional Notes

Shi's post also made a claim that said "half of caucus goers voted against [Trump]." That claim will be studied in a separate, upcoming fact check. Meanwhile, the "standing on trial tomorrow as a sexual abuser" claim in the post was a genuine reference to the civil defamation trial that was brought against Trump by columnist E. Jean Carroll.


“1996 Presidential Republican Primary Election Results - Iowa.” Dave Leip’s Atlas of U.S. Elections, LLC, https://uselectionatlas.org/RESULTS/state.php?year=1996&fips=19&f=0&off=0&elect=2.

“2000 Presidential Republican Primary Election Results - Iowa.” Dave Leip’s Atlas of U.S. Elections, LLC, https://uselectionatlas.org/RESULTS/state.php?year=2000&off=0&elect=2&fips=19&f=0.

“Final Figures Give Bush 31% of Iowa Vote.” The Buffalo Evening News via UPI via Newspapers.com, 24 Jan. 1980, p. 6, https://www.newspapers.com/image/873972657/.

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“Margin-of-Victory (MOV).” Ballotpedia, https://ballotpedia.org/Margin-of-victory_(MOV).

Neumeister, Larry, and Michael R. Sisak. “Jury Selection Begins at Donald Trump’s Defamation Trial.” The Associated Press, 16 Jan. 2024, https://apnews.com/article/trump-carroll-lawsuit-defamation-trial-5e536a371df5245b7bf390d1f864b5dc.

Peoples, Steve, et al. “Trump Notches a Commanding Win in the Iowa Caucuses as DeSantis Edges Haley for Second Place.” The Associated Press, 15 Jan. 2024, https://apnews.com/article/trump-iowa-caucus-haley-desantis-cold-voting-begins-0af10f1ba21d488af54776b2c8d4028c.

“PRIMARY RESULTS: Iowa.” CNN, 19 Jan. 2004, https://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2004/primaries/pages/states/IA/.

“Speak Out ... On Portrayal of Cherokee.” The Anniston Star via Newspapers.com, 16 Feb. 1988, p. 4, https://www.newspapers.com/image/106720086/.

Ukenye, Lawrence, et al. “Meet Biden’s Gen Z Hype Man.” POLITICO, 17 Aug. 2023, https://www.politico.com/newsletters/west-wing-playbook/2023/08/17/meet-bidens-gen-z-hype-man-00111724.

Jordan Liles is a Senior Reporter who has been with Snopes since 2016.