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. Rich

    Please run Newt.......................Obama 2012

    December 4, 2011 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  2. idb

    Also amazing that CNN tactfully leaves Ron Paul out of the headline. CNN biased? Yes, definitely.

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

    Why is it so hard for any news outlet to use the words “Ron Paul? Fox News doesn’t even except the fact that he exists and no ‘credible’ news organization ever seems to give the guy any air or print time? What are they scared of? The truth maybe?

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

    Why conservatives would ever vote for Newt Gingrich is beyond me, of course, the Gingrich of the past has faded into memory somewhat. Nice job Ron Paul. And Romney - I hope people vote for you because you're a good man who knows business and economics like mad. You're a little uptight and formal, but you'll loosen up. USA needs you, Romney.

    December 4, 2011 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  5. Joe

    Meet the next POTUS

    December 4, 2011 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  6. Paul Perkins

    One thing is for sure: Republicans really know how to lose an election, don't they? That Republicans are settling in on a career politician isn't surprising but it will never win a general election. As an independent voter, I know you're not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but, for me, it's hard to look past the the fat belly of this man:if he doesn't have the self-discipline to keep himself in good shape, how can he run our country? As much as I dislike the idea of Barack Hussein Obama as President for another four years, I'll vote for Obama over Newt. Newt's mean comment about the OWS protesters, "They should get a job right after they take a bath" sealed it for me: people are hurting in this country and Newt's obviously detached from the mainstream pain and discontent. With a belly like his, he obviously isn't missing many meals while eating from the government trough. Let Newt get a real job, right after he goes on a diet.

    December 4, 2011 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  7. AhhPures

    Clearly the people of Iowa have had too much corn to eat. These are the same people who put Michele Bachmann on the radar screen and now Ron Paul is polling second. I just cannot imagine the chaos of a Ron Paul presidency.

    December 4, 2011 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  8. Cory

    Easy to win a poll when the participants are called at home. Put some snow on the ground and Ron Paul takes Iowa by a landslide.

    December 4, 2011 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  9. Emery

    All of them suck. The GOP this year is not unlike a group of rats fighting over scraps in a garbage can – they're pretty much taking whatever they can get. Kinda sad, but what else would you expect from a party that's imploding upon itself?

    December 4, 2011 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  10. Nick

    If Paul get the nomination I'll hold to my assertion that I will change parties to the GOP at once.

    December 4, 2011 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  11. Rick1948

    Nope – Newt's not going to win. He had the audacity to express concern for a group of people that are not rich and white. The mainstream GOP will never put up with that.

    December 4, 2011 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  12. korkea aika

    My left hand would reach over and break my right hand if it ever attempted to vote for a republican after G W and Weapons of Mass Destruction. However, Gingrich is at least intelligent and stately. In this respect he is superior to 'pray away the gay' Bachman, 'uncle Tom for the Koch brothers' Cain and 'I don't remember the third gov't department I'll shut down' Perry. Poor Romney, no one even thinks about him, but he's second best to Gingrich. I see I'll be voting Obama in 2012

    December 4, 2011 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  13. NewRome

    LOL, what a bad joke. Ron Paul is sandwiched between two flip-floppers.

    December 4, 2011 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  14. roy

    Din't go for flipper Mitt.

    December 4, 2011 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  15. Dan Roper

    Again, the headline ignores that RON PAUL IS IN SECOND PLACE !!!

    December 4, 2011 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  16. Siggie

    The media and religious right forced Cain out of the race for having an affair. How is the twice-divorced Gingrich, not only still in the game, but leading in the Iowa polls when he had an affair and served divorce papers to his wife when she was in hospital recovering from cancer? Is there a statute of limitations for piling on a candidate who had S3X with someone other than their spouse?

    December 4, 2011 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  17. Enigma

    These must be the end times if Gingrich is ahead in a poll for the republican nomination. Because this guy would send the middle class six feet under. The only tolerable choice in the GOP field is Ron Paul.

    December 4, 2011 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  18. Clwyd

    Replace Cain the womanizer with Newt the unfaithful husband! The republican party is just sick!

    December 4, 2011 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  19. korkea aika

    In an amazing act of hypocrisy, a married Gingrich was apparently dating Bisek all during Clinton-Lewinsky adultery scandal, even as he proclaimed family values and bitterly criticized the President for his adultery.

    December 4, 2011 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  20. andrewesome

    Paul has the best tie, Romney has the best cry and Gingrine has the best lie.

    December 4, 2011 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  21. Barry from Wisconsin

    Does anyone care which of these very weak candidates is in front in Iowa's ridiculous caucus system? This is a media circus to fill up air time and print columns.

    December 4, 2011 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  22. Sylvestor Johnson

    Ron Paul is our only hope, no matter how small. You can always tell who is the candidate that will shake things up and do the right thing for the people as they are ignored and made fun of.

    December 4, 2011 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  23. andrewesome

    How about we drug test them. Then we'll know who is presidential material.

    December 4, 2011 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  24. Lora

    I'm surprised it didn't say Gingrich in first place and Romney in third with no mention of Dr. Paul. Good job CNN. It's about time the man gets some recognition.

    December 4, 2011 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  25. nathan

    Good for Paul. And Romney must really be getting nervous now too with Cain out and his votes to go to Newt. All good for my candidate, our current POTUS.

    December 4, 2011 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
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