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. westward

    It's about like saying that the GOP has 3 top models to offer for 2012, and they are an Edsel, a Ford Pinto, and a Buick Roadmaster station wagon that burns oil. Relative to each other, one might be the better choice, but they are still all unacceptable.

    December 4, 2011 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  2. McShannon

    Newt Will gain ground until it comes to light that he used a jeweler friend to pay off women that would cause him election trouble. Third party payoffs are perfectly legal and he used a charge account so as to allude to an honest transaction. Who do any of you know that wouldn't use a credit card and gain the $20,000 from bonus points instead of charge account? There's more to this story. Two million for a necklace? Right!

    December 4, 2011 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  3. Jim Dunning

    And who is that in second? How the media loves to manipulate perceptions.

    December 4, 2011 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  4. mmat

    You guys don't get it the headline is the whole story if cnn had but ron paul second I wouldn't click on the story to find out who rommey was 3rd to...its not media bias. Its call being clever with the headline. Any way none of these idiot can beat the big O so they are all wasting their time and money.

    December 4, 2011 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  5. Ernie

    No matter what Newt does Romeny is going to win the Republican nomination, even though Newt is ahead in the polls. If Newt were to win the nomination he would have to pick an outstanding Vice Presidential running mate. Romeny would have to do the same. I hope who ever wins the Republican nomination doesn't make the same mistake that Sen. John McCan did.

    December 4, 2011 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  6. AHAHHA

    I have to chime in my loud and concerned-WHO'S SECOND??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

    December 4, 2011 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  7. Louis

    Having affairs is a red flag indicating that such a person is not a person of good judgement. Why would we want one of those in the most powerful office in the world? Wouldn't that be asking for trouble? The oval office should have a person of high morals, with integrity and honesty. That's what we, the American people, want and deserve!

    December 4, 2011 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  8. aurelius

    Momentum: is he in reverse or fast forward, that is the question. Whether it's him or any other GOP candidate, Obama will make mince meat out of him and for perfectly good reasons. FOX has not been able to rally enough red necks and bigots to elect a GOP candidate.

    December 4, 2011 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  9. Gemini Girl

    To JS and MILLS – I am sure you guys were just being sarcastic when you say we all should consider Newt! You are talking about Newt!! NEWT!! Hello! Where even his baggage has baggage. Please note that the "family values" thing is the least of his baggage!
    AND to KRGGUY – i too would only consider JON HUNTSMANN if I didn't vote for Obama. He is the most educated, the most reasonable, the most classy, too bad he is lumped in with this cast of crazy-clown characters. People say take a look at RON PAUL, but he is too much of an isolationist for me. Remember, more and more this is a global environment, like it or not, we must live with the rest of the world. We cannot live alone.

    December 4, 2011 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  10. David Vynerib

    Remember who helped Bill Clinton become so popular? It was Newt – he helped structure the economic packages that put our economy in shape to make Bill Clinton so popular. Great to see that people are concentrat­ing on the facts and not the tabloids. He could make it far in November of 2012.

    December 4, 2011 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  11. Don

    Who's in second, CNN? Stop playing kingmaker! STOP! You have no right to do that. STOP IT!

    December 4, 2011 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  12. Jill Scott

    President Obama already won.

    Gingrich, the draft dodging dead beat Dad, who would have been FIRED from congress if he didn't quit and his 3rd wife, the craziest Pop Tart who ever lived, are not going to the White House.

    The Bags hate Romney because he's a Mormon – he won't even get the nod.

    Doughboy – the biggest disgrace of a human will get the Tea Pot/Crack Pot Nod.

    Therefore, Pres. Obama won.

    December 4, 2011 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  13. Jim in Georgia

    Maybe the question should be "Whos on second"
    This whole thing is beginning to seem like a joke... On the American people.
    Surely we have someone better in this country... But Shirley says she won't run.
    We need Leslie Nielsen.

    December 4, 2011 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  14. Russ

    Losers one and all!

    December 4, 2011 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  15. jariv

    America Needs Romney.. If he is not elected, I will support Ron Paul or Huntsman before I accept Gingrich.

    December 4, 2011 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  16. FormerMarineSgt

    What's hilarious is that all of this attention and angst going towards IOWA when it's known that the winner in IOWA rarely ever becomes the nominee.

    In other words: A bit to do over nothing.

    December 4, 2011 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  17. poopmeister

    It's amazing having to watch the GOP look like complete idiots. Come on, Newt would be the worst president in history. History has shown that thick headed fiscally irresponsible presidents never succeed (can we say George W). I voted for Obama because of every politician I've ever heard speak, he was the most intelligent sounding individual. The whole GOP field has been playing to sound bites and the worst kind of rhetoric. Plus don't be fooled by Ron Paul, he is a dangerous individual but he just hasn't gone under the scrutiny yet. The only viable candidate, that you won't hear too much about, is Buddy Roemer. He is running a campaign with a donation cap and he wants to give complete discloser how he uses the campaign funds. That is at least a start, too bad all of the candidates don't go that route.

    December 4, 2011 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  18. LMB123

    Romney is the only one who has even the remotest chance to unseat Obama. GOP – come to your senses and realize that.

    December 4, 2011 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  19. Deusxmach1na

    Everyone that supports Ron Paul needs to sit down with their moms and dads and explain why you are voting for him. I find that sometimes older people don't understand Ron Paul's positions. My father-in-law will usually vote for whoever is ahead in the polls. I think he gets too hung up on voting for someone that can beat Obama. The younger people reading this need to talk to your elders and explain that this is the direction we want the country to go. Ron Paul 2012!

    December 4, 2011 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  20. Robert

    Ron Paul is in first, the man has been heard and all issues will revolve around what Doctor Paul has been saying forthe past 30 years.
    the tide has turned

    December 4, 2011 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  21. helenecha

    Obama can beat Gingrich anyway.

    December 4, 2011 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  22. Nick

    I would vote for Ron Paul over Newt simply because of his unrealistic stance on marijuana.

    December 4, 2011 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  23. Anonymous

    When the GOP base realizes what an intellectual elitist he is, he is toast.

    December 4, 2011 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  24. Simon

    I don't get it. One candidate quits because his serial adultery is found out. And the new frontrunner is a known serial adulterer. Meanwhile, adultery isn't even a crime and is nobodies business anyway.

    USA is one sick society.

    December 4, 2011 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  25. justin

    who is second cartoon news network?

    December 4, 2011 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
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