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

    Horrible – like watching some awful form of mental illness sweep across the country.

    December 4, 2011 07:41 am at 7:41 am |
  2. Thatguy371

    OK let the media get to work on Newt... the public needs to be reminded just how sleazy he is... and then the best candidate, RON PAUL, goes to #1. He's the only repub with any kind of morals.

    December 4, 2011 07:42 am at 7:42 am |
  3. MSL58

    I just hope that Newt doesn't get to do to the country what he did to all his mistresses...

    December 4, 2011 07:45 am at 7:45 am |
  4. Jeb

    Gingrich – Served his wife with divorce papers while she was in the hospital with cancer so he could move in with his secretary. Was forced to resign in shame from Congress by his own party for ethics violations. Took 1.6 million from Freddie Mac as their lobbyist before they went belly up and the taxpayers had to bail them out with billions.

    December 4, 2011 07:45 am at 7:45 am |
  5. frank

    Want to save our country? Congressional Term Limits. Tell your friends.

    December 4, 2011 07:50 am at 7:50 am |
  6. mark

    The only surge or rise Gingrich has is the one in his pants. It's about time he replaced this wife with a young staffer isn't it?

    December 4, 2011 07:50 am at 7:50 am |
  7. opinionated

    No. No. No. Republicans are getting off track if this is true. Gingrich can't beat Obama. Gingrich isn't trustworthy. Romney is the best candidate. . . period. Democrats would love for Republicans to fall for Gingrich. His affair record rivals Cain's. Plus he takes money any way and every way he can through politics.

    December 4, 2011 07:54 am at 7:54 am |
  8. Old-Skool Conservative

    Barry will be a shoo-in if Newt gets the nom.

    December 4, 2011 07:54 am at 7:54 am |
  9. they blow it themselves

    just let them keep talking...Mit looks the most presentable, Ron has some good ideas getting back to the gold standard which would make the west stop breathing, and newt isn't that something they use in witch craft and eye of newt? oh by the way not a slam on Wickery at all love Witches!!

    December 4, 2011 07:56 am at 7:56 am |
  10. Summarex

    If Paul doesn't win the nomination, I hope he runs as an independent. He's the only one who can win enough Dem votes to win the presidency.

    December 4, 2011 08:00 am at 8:00 am |
  11. Aikins Amankwah

    School drop out is becoming so broaden in ghana, especially girls.They get pregnant and are bashful to attend am pleading on behalf of the youth for the uk president to aid us with the support of the youth education

    December 4, 2011 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  12. Rich

    First, I'm one of those Independents. For who, I do not know. All I have to say is that if this is how the Republican party selects it's candidates and this is the best they can offer us we're in deep trouble. Just this alone shows the GOP is totally inept in running our country.

    December 4, 2011 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  13. Steve in North Carolina

    If nothing else, I would like to see Newt debate Obama. It would make for quite a show.

    December 4, 2011 08:06 am at 8:06 am |
  14. hemmingway

    I am stuck and can't get out????

    December 4, 2011 08:06 am at 8:06 am |
  15. JT

    It looks like the tea party movement's agenda of re-electing Obama is succeeding.

    December 4, 2011 08:06 am at 8:06 am |
  16. tyrus cassius mcqueen

    RuPaul is in second in Iowa because the media is biased against true conservativism. Nevermind the fact that he can't get more than 5% of the popular vote in an election–after all, what are democratic elections anyway?–he should still be MADE President. RuPaul in 2012!

    December 4, 2011 08:07 am at 8:07 am |
  17. Spencer

    A nomination for Newt is an automatic vote for Obama.

    December 4, 2011 08:07 am at 8:07 am |
  18. tensor

    So this is what the GOP in America has come to. None of them are worth a da*n.

    December 4, 2011 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
  19. JROBE814

    Ron Paul 2012

    December 4, 2011 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
  20. Brian

    Newt is a generational mind and if you put him next to Obama on a debate stage the difference in intellect and understanding with become glaring

    December 4, 2011 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  21. nytw

    Good to see the Tea Party is supporting a politician who is proud to be a Beltway Insider and flip flop as much as Romney. What a bunch of hypocrites.

    December 4, 2011 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
  22. Shamed in Texas by my Guv

    No wonder Bishop Romney was so angry and testy at that recent interview. He's consistently overshadowed by a parade of GOP rejects. If the Tea Party conservatives back a two-time wife cheating moderate who supports will get even more humorous.

    December 4, 2011 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  23. idb

    Ron Paul is the only one of the three with actual fresh ideas. Unfortunately he is too intellectual for most voters.

    December 4, 2011 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  24. Fred Phred

    Please GOPers.. I'm an independent swing voter. I have no allegiance to either party.

    But please don't make me vote for Obama. I don't want to, but if it's him or Newt, I just can't vote for a crook. I can't speak for other independents but this could be a distaster for the GOP if Newt is the candidate.

    December 4, 2011 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  25. Steve

    Wow the republicans should really make up their mind. If they don't even know who to vote for, why anybody else should?

    December 4, 2011 08:17 am at 8:17 am |
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