Iowa caucuses 2024: Trump projected to win, DeSantis 2nd

Haley finishes 3rd, Ramaswamy drops out after finishing 4th.

By538 and ABC News via five thirty eight logo
Last Updated: January 16, 2024, 12:20 AM EST

The first election of the 2024 presidential primaries is in the books, and former President Donald Trump was the big winner. ABC News projects that Trump finished first in the Iowa caucuses, about 30 percentage points ahead of second-place finisher Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley is projected to finish third, while businessman Vivek Ramaswamy is projected to finish fourth. As a result, Ramaswamy has dropped out of the presidential race.

Throughout the night, 538 reporters broke down the results in Iowa in real time with live updates, analysis and commentary. Read our full live blog below.

Latest headlines:

Here's how the news is developing. All times Eastern.
Jan 16, 2024, 12:20 AM EST

That’s a wrap!

That’s all from us for today. As of 12:30 a.m. Eastern, 95 percent of the expected vote is reporting. Trump leads with around 51 percent of the vote, followed by DeSantis with 21 percent, Haley with 19 percent and Ramaswamy with 8 percent.

To recap some of the key moments of the night: Trump’s win was projected only around 30 minutes into the caucuses; DeSantis kept his campaign alive with a respectable second-place showing; and Ramaswamy’s fourth-place result prompted him to exit the race and throw his support behind Trump.

We’ll have more analysis as to what it all means in coming days, and of course, we hope to see you back here next Tuesday as we do it all again in New Hampshire! Thanks for sticking with us.

—Tia Yang, 538

Jan 16, 2024, 12:17 AM EST

Final thought: Haley’s window is closing

Tonight’s Iowa caucuses didn’t hold many surprises. Trump was expected to win by a huge margin, and he did. DeSantis and Haley were expected to duke it out for second place, and they did. You could argue that DeSantis outpacing Haley was a bit of a surprise, given all the dooming around DeSantis’s campaign and Haley’s late momentum in the polls, but I don’t think the “Haley’s-in-second” conventional wisdom had really sunk in yet, so neither of those results felt out of place.

I will say, though, this wasn’t the best combination of events for Haley. She finished third, so she probably won’t get a huge boost leading into New Hampshire, a must-win state for her. And Ramaswamy’s withdrawal from the race could actually help Trump gain some ground there in the next few days. Trump was already very likely to win the nomination, but it’s really over if he wins New Hampshire — and that probably just got a little more likely.

—Nathaniel Rakich, 538

Jan 16, 2024, 12:16 AM EST

Final thoughts: Iowa unfolded as expected

The contest in Iowa played out as I expected it would, but of course the primary is not quite over. Anything could still happen, especially this year. But it does look like Trump will coast to the nomination despite all of the unprecedented baggage he brings with him. He's been too heavily a favorite among Republican voters, many of whom believe he actually won the 2020 election and should be president now. While it's true that most Americans seem blah about a 2016 rematch, it's also true that both parties' voters aren't lining up behind alternative candidates.

Of course, we'll all reconvene in about a week to see what happens in New Hampshire.

—Monica Potts, 538

Jan 16, 2024, 12:15 AM EST

Final thoughts: As good as it gets?

Other than his one-vote loss in Johnson County, it's hard to find much that went wrong for Trump tonight. He won a majority of the vote and carried pretty much every demographic category (especially ones that make up the bedrock of the GOP primary electorate). The most Trump-like candidate in the race, who was still siphoning off a chunk of MAGA votes, dropped out and endorsed him. His two main challengers effectively tied, denying either of them the momentum or comeback narrative they desperately sought in Iowa. And you have to imagine the deep-pocketed donors who flooded Iowa with tens of millions of dollars of pro-Haley and pro-DeSantis advertising have to be wondering about their return on investment.

The New Hampshire primary is in eight days and might well be the toughest contest for Trump of the entire primary process, so it's good for him he can approach it with a full head of steam. The window of opportunity for any non-Trump candidate to alter the course of this race, such that it was ever open, is rapidly closing.

—Jacob Rubashkin, Inside Elections