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. dreamer96

    What they polled like 400 people that still have land lines...these polls don't call anybody from this century that has a cell phone....I bet George Washington would poll higher if they included his name on the list....

    December 4, 2011 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  2. Jose the Wrangler

    The real problem is that the Republican party really, truly is the party of the rich, and can't find a good enough con man to cover it up. Dubya did a fine job of it, but that degree of slickness is, thank God, rare. They're left with the collection of goofballs (Paul), slimeballs (Romney), and conscience-less megalomaniacs (Gingrich). Since the Republican base is a mass of people who refuse to think and analyze, who vote on pure emotion - anger or religious fanaticism - they zoom from one ridiculous extreme to another.

    December 4, 2011 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  3. Simon

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

    USA is one sick society. And CNN censors the word that begins with A that means non-monogamist. CNN is even sicker than the rest of the country.

    December 4, 2011 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  4. Riley

    Iowa got it wrong last election, too. Romney is the best man for the White House and has the easiest shot of beating Obama/

    December 4, 2011 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  5. JOE USA

    I am a Democrat but would vote Republican. I think the psychological impact of change in DC could propell us out of this mess !!

    December 4, 2011 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  6. SuZieCoyote

    This is a very bad, very arrogant, very dishonest man. And he's the GOP frontrunner. Sigh.

    December 4, 2011 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  7. PCF

    Don't these Newt Gingrich supports realize that Gingrich got rich off of taxpayer dollars while and after he was in office. He got $16 million dollars from the Fanny Mae bailout money alone, not counting other money making scams that put taxpayer dollars into his pockets. He has lots of experience in DC, experience in how to put our dollars into his pockets. He is the only speaker of the house in history to be found guilty of ethics violations. Please don't let politicians like him continue.

    December 4, 2011 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  8. John Kaufman, Oceanside, CA

    Honestly is this the BEST the Republican Party can muster up to go aganst Obama. if this is the case you might as well wave the white flag and call it a total defeat. None of these candidates can propose a well thought out plan, (series of steps) to reduce the spending, none can spell out the facts as to our increasing debt, borrowing and continued increased taxing. Yes, we are finally getting out of Iraq and hopefully Afghanistan, but what are our rules of engagement, we have NONE! So blindly we go never learning anything from our past mistakes. Sad but true.

    December 4, 2011 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  9. Ron

    President Newt..... wow, finally a land where we can dump our spouse is the get cancer and move on to another spouse. A land where we can cry foul about other people having affairs but we stil get to have our own affairs. Newt... the new american morality?????????

    December 4, 2011 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  10. ConcernedNetizen

    The media blackout on Ron Paul has backfired and further alienated them from the popular electorate. Even giving Ron Paul "negative" media attention now wont stop him. Everyone else running are liars, adulterers, warmongers, and morons. Dr.Paul, by the luck of the Gods, and the incompetence of the corrupt, may have just gotten his first 'good chance' at presidency.

    Provided we not have another "voting snafu" like we did with George W. Bush.. Let us pray is does not come down to it.

    Great Job CNN for botching a perfectly good media blackout by trying too hard and making it obvious..

    December 4, 2011 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  11. Brian

    EVERYONE IGNORE THIS POLL. 401 people interviewed with a terrible 4.9% sampling error is NOT AN ACCURATE POLL. not even close. 1000-1500 people at least and a sampling error of 3% or less AT MINIMUM

    December 4, 2011 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  12. AK

    How about the guy in 2nd? W H O I S I N S E C O N D? Could it be Ron Paul: the only Pro-Liberty/limited government conservative in the race? I'll be voting for him in the GOP primary. :P

    December 4, 2011 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  13. McShannon

    I agree with Ernie from NC, Mit will win the GOP nomination. However his following is so poor that his campaign will be a disaster. Rich kid slick hair great B.S. won't get Mit to President. Hey that rhymes!

    December 4, 2011 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  14. der

    An they only good candidate is Huntsman....Not mentioned here. Hmm.

    December 4, 2011 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  15. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    The GOPwingnut/teabagger trainwreck implosion continues full speed ahead

    December 4, 2011 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  16. Diane P

    Ron Paul is almost 80 years old, he'll never be President, he's not that bad; just old & out of touch with the real world; Just think about his son Rand with a cabinet post......not happening!

    December 4, 2011 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  17. Carlin123

    Gingrich is an interesting candidate. It's interesting that he gets large amounts of money from Freddie Mac. I think I'll go with the gentleman in second place. Thank you.

    December 4, 2011 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  18. PCF

    Don't these Newt Gingrich supports realize that Gingrich got rich off of taxpayer dollars while and after he was in office. He got $1.6 million dollars from the Fanny Mae bailout money alone, not counting other money making scams that put taxpayer dollars into his pockets. He has lots of experience in DC, experience in how to put our dollars into his pockets. He is the only speaker of the house in history to be found guilty of ethics violations. Please don't let politicians like him continue.

    December 4, 2011 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  19. MikeB

    Why are people lining up behind one of the architects of the financial meltdown we're going through?
    As Speaker of the House during the 1990s, Newt Gingrich and the Republican Party were instrumental in killing the Glass-Steagall Act. Bill Clinton even signed it into law. It was the law that kept Banks out of the derivative markets.
    Why are so many being so narrow sighted to end up falling for the cunning talk of the con artist that set the stage for current economic whoa?
    Have also forgotten his role in creating burdensome regulations due to irrational concerns about global warming? Which side of Newt will we have to deal with if he gets elected. The ?Compassionate Conservative? that promotes a caretaker government?
    Come on people, snap out of the trance. It happened with Obama and we don't need it happening again with Newt.

    December 4, 2011 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  20. Dabritbiker

    So now we are down to Snow White and th six dwarfs?

    December 4, 2011 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  21. loathstheright

    So the conservatives are supporting the WHITE man who cheated on his wife...typical of the hypocrite "family values" crowd.

    December 4, 2011 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  22. Chris

    In response to the groupie chorus, I do believe some Ron guy is second. Never heard of him.

    December 4, 2011 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  23. WhereIsPalin

    The Ron Paul cult is loving this news. Their bunkers are stocked and ready for use. Please Iowa..........think!

    December 4, 2011 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  24. Chris

    Typical republican sheep. Huntsman's a genuine, authentic American hero, but he's unfortunately trying to get the nomination of the party of rednecks.

    December 4, 2011 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  25. Coloradan

    I think Romney is still your guy GOP. Romney care is actually very popular and less than 2% of Mass. citizens don't have health insurance. Get over your Romneycare problem. It works.

    December 4, 2011 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
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