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. Rayday88

    this guy is the grumpiest grinch ever

    December 4, 2011 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  2. MSMlies

    "Romney Third" To paraphrase Jon Stewart...BEHIND WHO ?

    December 4, 2011 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  3. cony 007

    Uncle Tom is gone. Now we are down with 6 dawarfs and snow white. 99% of politicians are one notch below child molesters. These people listening to this Uncle Tom are sheep. He is just another goat herder.

    December 4, 2011 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  4. Anonymous

    "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!"

    No doubt 1/2 of those posting their support for Ron Paul are actually Mitt Romney bloggers. The only way Romney wins the nomination is with a divided conservative vote split between Gingrich and Ron Paul. Looks as if he's pushing that scenario for all it is worth.

    December 4, 2011 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  5. cony 007

    Mitt lost to McCain. McCain lost to Obama. Obama Lanslide 2012!!!!!!!

    December 4, 2011 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  6. Paul G.

    RE: Newt's "new" popularity
    People sure do have short memories, don't they?

    December 4, 2011 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  7. KM

    Typical of Democrats to do the same with Clinton. What's your point loathstheright?

    December 4, 2011 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  8. BeverlyNC

    Doesn't matter what newspaper endorses any Republican candidate. John McCain has called it right for once. The American People are fed up with this lying, do-nothing, people-betraying, non-human Republican Party. Hispanics are sub-human to Repubicans as are poor people. We all have seen Presdient Obama working hard for ALL Americans and especially those needing jobs, houses saved, food, and their earned benefits like Medicare and SS. President Obama is the PEOPLE's President and he will win in a landslide. Now we need to rid Congress of all Republicans and their obstructionsim and America can again flourish, recover, and be what it was meant to be – for the PEOPLE – not the wealthy and corporate dictatorships of the Republicans.

    December 4, 2011 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  9. Bungalow

    Wohoho, Ron Paul Second! Seems like can still have hope in the FREE USA!

    Next time he's gonna by first. RON PAUL 2012!

    December 4, 2011 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  10. Greg

    Gingrich in first, Romney in third, and we've decided to do away with second place altogether. Pew Research Center for Excellence in Journalism shows Ron Paul has received the least media coverage of any candidate in this election, despite his obvious support. Sarah Palin has actually received more than 3 times the total election coverage, despite never being a candidate. It's just unethical journalism. At the bottom of the page, the very last line of text, near the center is a "CONTACT US" link. Please click on it and write CNN a short message. Even if you're not a Ron Paul supporter, we don't want the media to pick our candidates, and it's obvious that's the intention here.

    December 4, 2011 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  11. drp146

    Ron Paul is not going to be President. That is reality. And there is no one on earth who could become President and suddenly fix all of America's problems and especially not any of the clowns the Republicans are putting up. No one on earth. And besides, we already tried the Republican way and it DID NOT WORK.

    December 4, 2011 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  12. Frank

    ENOUGH OF THESE FLIPY FLOPPERS!
    RON PAUL 2012!
    That is all.

    December 4, 2011 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  13. tenfour

    The GOP primary process proves that the United States is an exceptional country comprised of exceptionally ignorant and mind numbingly stupid people. It only shows the world how profoundly ill informed, narrow minded, ridiculous and disconnected our entire society has become. Its like watching a reality freak show while Rome burns around us...

    drove my Chevy to the levy but the levy was dry...bye-bye American pie...

    December 4, 2011 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  14. matrix09

    After watching this all go down, I have to admit that it has changed my veiw of the electorate in Iowa.

    December 4, 2011 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  15. Newmoon2

    Ron Paul may be somewhat intriguing, but not enough so to win the nomination and certainly not enough to win the presidency. His views are too 'out there' for most Americans (myself included). I admire his resolve and willingness to speak out consistently on what he believes is right... I just don't agree with a lot of what he believes in.

    December 4, 2011 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    Gingrich is corrupt and wants amnesty for illegals. I don't believe these poll numbers. If he gets the nomination I'm not voting.

    December 4, 2011 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  17. Jonathen

    GOP presidential race 2012? Lmao

    This is an Oxymoron if I've ever seen one. GOP and president in the same sentence.. lol

    December 4, 2011 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  18. Andy

    What idiot would vote for this pompous goof??.. Only Ron Paul is electable out of the clownish GOP

    December 4, 2011 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  19. rick

    ron paul not even mentioned? what is wrong with you people? shame shame shame

    December 4, 2011 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  20. VOTE EM OUT

    you republicans better get behind Paul or else you can forget the fence-sitters, I'm uber-lib but I'd vote for Paul. Paul represents a scary change and that's what we need.

    December 4, 2011 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  21. seriously?

    No Newts! No Newts! ( and no nukes, either)

    President Newt? And we think the world is laughing at us now?

    Eh, doesn't matter. I'm not voting again until there is a viable FEMALE Dem or Ind. VP or Presidential Candidate.

    If the Dems want a shot in hades they'll beg Hillary to be VP and give Biden some other post ( but NOT secretary of state)

    December 4, 2011 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  22. djoshimisk

    Well at least if gingrich wins the presidency we won't be exposed to images of him jogging or playing basketball.

    December 4, 2011 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  23. free___thinker

    Ron Paul has my vote. He doesn't feed us bull like this rest of these guys. He's got his own thoughts and actually educates you when he speaks. I support his ideas on people making their own choices, not the government making choices FOR us. You cannot trust the other 2, as a simple google search will show you. Google their names and you get "mitt romney net worth" and "newt gingrich scandals"....Ron Paul? First thing that comes up is "Ron Paul 2012".....I think it's a sign.

    December 4, 2011 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  24. Ron Paul 2012

    What a joke.... it is certainly more important to point out who is in 3rd while ignoring second place if it is Ron Paul. Ever notice every major media outlet is doing this? Ever wonder why? If you want some real journalism, get to the bottom of this. For those of who already know, we will continue to fight.

    Ron Paul is the ONLY candidate Republican OR Democrat who is going to put the interests and liberties of the American citizen first. Take your freedom back before it is completely gone!

    December 4, 2011 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  25. Brian

    The Iowa Republican Party is dominated by right wing evangelicals. I happen to live in Iowa and I can remember when the Iowa Republicans picked that comedian Pat Robertson – just before he went into a tail spin.

    December 4, 2011 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
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