Gingrich ahead in Iowa, poll shows; Romney drops to third
December 3rd, 2011
08:33 PM ET
2 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. once upon a horse

    I guess having morals only means something to Republicans if you happen to be a Democrat.

    December 4, 2011 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  2. John A

    You still won't call Ron Paul a front runner, tho, will you, CNN? He didn't just come out of nowhere. Why have you not included him in all your recent coverage. It's time for the media to include Dr. Paul in his rightful place as a front runner and get his ideas out there.

    December 4, 2011 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  3. CSher

    Well, there's one thing to be said for Gingrich, all his d1rty laundry has already been run up the flag p0le for the whole world to see. Why anyone would still want him for president after all that is beyond me.

    December 4, 2011 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  4. CSher

    Well, there's one thing to be said for Gingrich, all his d1rty 1aundry has already been run up the flag p0le for the whole world to see. Why anyone would still want him for president after all that is beyond me.

    December 4, 2011 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  5. Jane Doe

    All of these candidates ooze arrogance. Most act as though they have a low intelligence, which alarms me because we know that George W. Bush destroyed America by not having the intelligence and ability to perform the duties of the presidency. More importantly, it is obvious that morality is lacking in the politics and they think Americans will believe lies. I will not vote for any of these people because I want a president that I can be proud of ... .

    December 4, 2011 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  6. Russ

    Go ahead, make my day. Nominate Newt. If there was ever a candidate that has flaws, skeletons in his closet, and can't beat Obama, it's Newt. Reelect Obama In 2012 and all Progressive Democrats.

    December 4, 2011 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  7. The Tantrum Party

    Gingrich? ... The GOP is screwed next year.

    December 4, 2011 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  8. Toto

    Whenever I see a picture of Newt, I keep expecting to see someone poke him in the belly to see if he will giggle.

    December 4, 2011 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  9. bill

    Ron Paul is 2nd? OMG if that nut job wins the GOP nomination then there are some serious problems that need to be addressed!

    December 4, 2011 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  10. Anti-GOP

    If Newt becomes president, he'll make George Bush look like an altar boy! Post Apocalyptic Age here we come!

    December 4, 2011 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  11. AzLib

    Are you kidding. He is only the best of worst.. there is nobody left... Neut is a clown, tossed out of congress, cheats on his wifes, a lobbiest, Like Cain only got into the race to up his income... Are you kidding me... Mitt changes his stance depending on who is standing in front of him.. now there is a president wishy washie .... omg this is what the GOP is hanging their hats on .... Show just how nuts the GOP truly are... the Party of NO that has caused such terrible damage to the middle class in this country. Now attacking civil rights and about everything else. let them all go live in China who they seem to love... God Bless President Obama...I can't image the shape of America today if we still had a nut case GOP president.

    December 4, 2011 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  12. Jason

    Love to see a Newt/Obama debate. Both are great at it

    December 4, 2011 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  13. GOP for Richer not Poorer

    If Newt becomes president, he'll make George Bush look like an altar boy!

    December 4, 2011 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  14. Miss Demeanor

    When I read these comments about Newt's past, such as "Newt has more baggage than Cain..." I want to ask Newt's detractors, but does he have more than Bill Clinton? Did you vote to re-elect Clinton?

    December 4, 2011 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  15. Great

    If Newt becomes president, he'll make George Bush look like an altar boy!

    December 4, 2011 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  16. Jason

    @GCV, and you don't think Obama is a extremist? The Dem party is jus tas much a mess if not more.

    December 4, 2011 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  17. rik

    It really is a sad time for America. Ignorance has infected this country possibly to the point of no return. We can sit here and rail on Newt all day for being such a horrible choice, which he is, but hello we would be the one's voting him in.

    We have nobody to blame but ourselves.

    December 4, 2011 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  18. Todd Hollingworth

    Ron Paul a close second, probably in actauality First Place, but they do not make mention of his name. His message resonates louder than the other hacks, and would be a blow to the entrenched establishment. Some people at Goldman Sachs need to be handcuffed and jailed. They borrow from the you and I, the taxpayer, at 0% and then charge us 6% to get it back, then through fractional banking of 40 to 1 have racked up perhaps trillions of dollars in derivitives exposure only to have us bail them out. End the FED! That is why Ron Paul does not get mention, because he scares the bejeezuz out of the crooks at the top who make our lives miserable through currency debasement and instruments of leverage and debt. Remember all you Obama supporters, who handed over the 700 billion? Who placed Ex Goldman executives Bernake and Geitner in those positions? Think long and hard before you sucribe to the percieved party ideal. It's not all what it seems.

    December 4, 2011 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  19. Jennifer NYC

    Why is everyone ignoring Jon Huntsman? He is the only candidate who can win. Read Huffington Post. Great article on Huntsman. He alone can appeal across party lines. He is the smartest and has the best experience, including foreign policy.

    December 4, 2011 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  20. westward

    Being the relative best of a bunch of serious losers is not saying much about Gingrich. Pitiful sorry lineup the GOP has. No where good enough – any of 'em.

    December 4, 2011 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  21. Zach

    Newt is bad news. Anyone who looks into his history will realize this.

    Which is why we have to get the word out! There's still a month to go. Tell your friends about what Gingrich really is. We do NOT want this man as president. I would have a hard time choosing between him and Obama. At Obama's presidency is relatively constant and has become predictable. With Newt, who knows what we'd get? Whatever the highest bidder wants!

    December 4, 2011 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  22. NudeTruth

    Ron Paul is the right and only choice for a President.

    Everyone else in both parties are liars, cheats, failures, flip-floppers, dummies.

    The choice is clear, Ron Paul.

    December 4, 2011 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  23. krgguy

    If the Republican Party had any intelligence, which is apparent by their actions, they would get behind Huntsman. He is the only one that is MODERATE, POLISHED, EXPERIENCED, and pretty much that could bring in independents and more moderate democrats. But I am A-OK voting for Obama for another 4 years because there is no other candidate in the Republican party other than Huntsman that I would even consider switching a vote for.

    December 4, 2011 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  24. Jennifer NYC

    Cain is a doggone liar. The media didn't sink him, his own behavior did. he is disingenuous on the media.

    December 4, 2011 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  25. M.A.

    I wouldn't count Ron Paul out. He's gaining traction at the right time and has the organization to pull it off. He doesn't even necessarily need to win just exceed expectations keeping it close in Iowa.

    December 4, 2011 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
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