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Sunday, December 4, 2011

Newt Leads in Iowa

Jennifer Jacobs writes at The Des Moines Register:

With the dizzying fall of Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich has stepped into the breach and now stands alone as the most popular GOP presidential candidate in The Des Moines Register’s new Iowa Poll.

Gingrich, with support of 25 percent of likely Republican caucusgoers, is seven points ahead of the rising Ron Paul, who’s at 18 percent. Mitt Romney drops to third, at 16percent, denting his previously armor-plated Iowa polling average. Romney’s support stood at 22 percent last month.

Cain, who suspended his campaign Saturday, had plunged from 23 percent to 8 percent in just over a month, tied with Michele Bachmann.


One striking finding: The results show Gingrich’s ascendancy has the potential to grow, pollster J. Ann Selzer said.

More respondents choose Gingrich as their second choice than any other candidate. Together, 43 percent of likely caucusgoers pick him as first or second.

With Cain’s departure from the race, Gingrich will likely benefit. More Cain supporters name Gingrich as their second choice than any other candidate.


Another interesting finding: Paul, often dismissed by the political establishment, has climbed 6 points since the Register’s October poll.

“The big surprise potential now is with Ron Paul,” said Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia.

But Paul could be closing in on his ceiling, the poll indicates. Just 7 percent choose him as their second choice.

“This is where Paul is weak, in that he has little breadth from which to draw new support,” Selzer said.

At the same paper, Kathie Obradovich writes:

Thirty-five percent of likely caucusgoers have seen at least one candidate in person so far. [emphasis added] That’s higher than in late December 2007, when 31 percent had seen at least one candidate, even though the Republicans have spent fewer days in the state this year. The question is whether the personal touch still matters. Bachmann has had the most in-person exposure to caucusgoers, with 20 percent saying they’ve seen her. Paul is second at 15 percent. Of the candidates campaigning in Iowa, only Perry is in single digits.

The Iowa Poll of 401 likely caucusgoers was taken Nov. 27-30 by Selzer & Co. For more about the poll, go to caucus.