Gingrich ahead in Iowa, poll shows; Romney drops to third
December 3rd, 2011
08:33 PM ET
3 years ago

Gingrich ahead in Iowa, poll shows; Romney drops to third

(CNN) – With a month to go until Iowans select a candidate for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has extended his lead in the state, while Texas Rep. Ron Paul has entered second place and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has dropped to third.

A new poll from the Des Moines Register finds 25% of likely Republican voters in Iowa backing Gingrich, while 18% support Paul and 16% say they’d go for Romney.

Other candidates for the nomination – including Herman Cain, who announced Saturday he was suspending his presidential campaign – polled in the single digits.

Gingrich’s rise in Iowa is a marked change from a month ago, when he was polling in fourth place in the Hawkeye State. A CNN/ORC International Poll taken October 20-25 found only 10% of registered Republicans in Iowa backing Gingrich, while Romney held the lead with 24%. Ron Paul was in third place in October, with 12%.

Romney, who won the support of the Sioux City Journal earlier Saturday, has recently amped up his effort in Iowa, sending direct-mail fliers to voters and buying television advertising space.

Gingrich has a smaller operation in the state, only opening his first campaign office there Wednesday.

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, a Republican, said Thursday that Gingrich would need to step up his campaign in the state if he planned on winning the first-in-the-nation caucuses.

"He may be ahead in the polls, but can he deliver?" Branstad asked. "That's the question I have."

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, who have campaigned heavily in Iowa, came in at 6% and 8%, respectively. Bachmann won the intensely watched Ames Straw Poll in August, but has seen her support declining since then.

Santorum recently completed an arduous campaign task – visiting all 99 counties in Iowa.

Iowa holds the nation’s first presidential nominating contest on January 3.

The Des Moines Register poll was taken by phone from Nov. 27-30 from 401 likely Republican caucus-goers. The sampling error was 4.9 percentage points.


Filed under: 2012 • Iowa • Mitt Romney • Newt Gingrich • Ron Paul
soundoff (448 Responses)
  1. G

    It appears that Mitt Romney may have counted his chickens before they hatched, because he is definitely not the Republican base's choice for the GOP nomination.

    December 4, 2011 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  2. Helen

    Ron Paul is rising fast and going to blast out of second place for the lead–finally the attention he deserves!

    December 4, 2011 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  3. Joe B

    Ron Paul is the only Rep I would vote for. The dude has the answers and I like he's style. Straight to the point and will make you look stupid when you try to talk bs to the people. I would love to see him talking with foriegn leaders. He would be quick to call bs and would not play games with the like the current administration.

    December 4, 2011 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  4. SixDegrees

    Not enough of a spread to be significant, and meaningless anyway given Iowa's historical lack of predictive value. And that any poll with Luap Nor in it is utterly useless to begin with.

    December 4, 2011 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  5. twiddly

    This is IOWA, people. The republicans in Iowa are some of the most fanatic christians so no surprise that the mormon is not at the top. However, I find it very amusing that they're settling for serial adulterer Gingrich, that's so funny.

    Obama will slide into term #2 due only to republican stupidity.

    December 4, 2011 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  6. vol245

    Iowa doesn't matter. They voted for Bachman in the Straw poll a few months ago. Look how well that has worked out.

    December 4, 2011 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  7. Tam

    Give him enough rope...... still time

    December 4, 2011 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  8. Bob jones

    I could Lmost cry reading this article. there are now no gop candidates with cain gone. Ihate to say it, but im voting democrat for obama safely in office for another four years. If ihad to go republican, i would vote mitt romney, since everyone else is pretty much outright weird

    December 4, 2011 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  9. Bob

    I'm not saying I like any of them but I'll say this........... A vote for Ron Paul is a vote for Obama.

    December 4, 2011 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  10. Nkolika

    The Republicans are doing campaign for the Democrats. Anybody but Rommney, All their candidates carry lots of baggage. Haba!

    December 4, 2011 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  11. MAVVV

    This guy KNOWS the truth......plus wont feed crap to media ! The media is NOT giving this guy air time. Cause they are afraid of truth coming out. SHEEPLE U CANT HANDLE TRUTH !

    December 4, 2011 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  12. Bimmerman

    The Republicans are FOOLS.
    This "Boxhead" CAN"T WIN!
    There is ten times the dirt and infidelity on old Newt as existed on Cain.
    The Dems are licking their chops all the way to a victory in November.

    Go ahead, "Make Their Day".

    December 4, 2011 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  13. Faber McMullen

    I would LOVE to see Newt debate Obama. He would gut Obama and hang him on a fence post. Our current president is the LEAST qualified POTUS we have ever had. He had both houses of congress his first 2 years and did NOTHING to get us out of this mess. I am sad to say but he is in way over his head. It's really sort of sad. For him and for us, and for the bozos who voted for him. Shame on the Republicans for not nominating someone other than the liberal McCain and Sarah Palin.

    December 4, 2011 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  14. MAVVV

    RPaul KNOWS the truth......plus wont feed crap to media ! The media is NOT giving this guy air time. Cause they are afraid of truth coming out. SHEEPLE U CANT HANDLE TRUTH !

    December 4, 2011 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  15. LJS

    Ron Paul is the only intelligent, honest, and honorable one in the mix, but even when he comes in second, the articles are still all about the others...does he have to actually win the presidency to get some coverage??

    December 4, 2011 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  16. vol245

    Ron Paul is 76 years old, which is too old for me. Gingrich doesn't share the same family values as the base Republicans do. Romney is like a robot. It will be another tough campaign for the Repubs – especially if one of them picks Palin as VP again like the last idiot did.

    December 4, 2011 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  17. Mack

    Newt took his taxes paid welfare check straight to TIffany's. What a vile man. Low morals. The worst that America has to offer.

    December 4, 2011 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  18. Tom Murphy

    Ron Paul has moved up to 2nd place in Iowa. CNN didn't even get the headline right. Sorry CNN, much to your chagrin Ron Paul is building momentum and will win Iowa. You should stop trying to tell us what to think and how to vote. Counterfeit News Network!

    December 4, 2011 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  19. Tylenol666

    Go Ron Paul well Deserved lets show the Money connected machine of Book Sales and over fixed hair dues that there days are over,, and Bachman please stop promoting your book,, i wouldnt buy it if it was in the 99cent pile

    December 4, 2011 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  20. they blow it themselves

    these post are great if you really want to hear truth just read this stuff... love the Grand Oil Party mine is Gob= Grab Our Portion! Eye of Newt bewitching..

    December 4, 2011 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  21. Chedar

    Flavor of the month. Newt. What is next. Find one that makes sense you GOP and I switch to vote for a republican candidate someone not connected to the lululand.

    December 4, 2011 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  22. stuman2

    Is Huntman even running anymore?

    December 4, 2011 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  23. Anonymous

    If I had to define what biased crap was to a child learning first grade English, I would say read one news story on CNN.com. You people at CNN pick a new GOP leading the polls every week while leaving out Ron Paul every time he has some sort of success. Thanks for helping Americans who are half way intelligent that you have this type of vision, $_$.

    December 4, 2011 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  24. tnmtl

    Obviously America has amnesia again. Does no one remember in the 90's the moralistic "Contract With America" and "family values" he pushed all the while cheating on his wife? Now he's been in bed with Freddie Mac, being one of the highest paid historians in history. He has taken hypocrisy to a new level and if America elects him I will be very surprised.

    December 4, 2011 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  25. epona

    Awesome. Can't wait to send my kid to school to clean toilets and such. Go Newt! These kids need to spend their childhood years working, not learning.

    December 4, 2011 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
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