Poll suggests Romney on top in Iowa if he runs again
August 27th, 2014
02:23 PM ET
4 months ago

Poll suggests Romney on top in Iowa if he runs again

(CNN) - He keeps saying no to third run for the White House, but another new poll – this time in Iowa – indicates Mitt Romney would be the front runner for the Republican presidential nomination if he changes his mind.

A USA Today/Suffolk University survey of Iowa voters released Wednesday should add to the feeding frenzy over a possible 2016 presidential bid by the 2012 GOP nominee. While the former Massachusetts governor's repeatedly said he's not running again, the attention such speculation captures is a sign of the wide open nature right now of the upcoming Republican nomination race.

According to the new poll, if Romney was added to the list of potential 2016 GOP White House contenders, 35% of Iowa Republicans say he'd be their first choice in the Iowa caucuses, which kick off the presidential primary and caucus calendar.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who won the 2008 Iowa Republican caucuses and is considering another bid in 2016, is a distant second, at 9%. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, who narrowly won the 2012 caucuses, are each at 6%. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Texas Gov. Rick Perry are each at 5%, with the remaining potential candidates tested were all in the lower single digits.

Take Romney out of the equation, and the poll indicates Huckabee – at 13% is on top of the crowded list of potential candidates. He's followed by Christie at 11%, Perry at 9% Paul at 7%, Santorum and Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the 2012 GOP vice presidential nominee, each at 6% and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida at 5%. The remaining potential candidates tested were all in the lower single digits.

The poll's 2016 GOP nomination results not only reflect the wide open race among the Republicans but are most likely also a reflection of name recognition.

"Think about it – we're still closer to the last presidential election than the next one. So until some of these other potential candidates have more time to really begin campaigning in earnest, I think Romney will continue to be top of mind for a lot of average voters," longtime South Carolina GOP consultant Joel Sawyer, senior VP of the Republican digital firm Push Digital, recently told CNN.

Romney keeps saying no

The poll's release comes one day after Romney said in a radio interview that "someone else stands a better chance of winning than I do."

"Had that not been the case," Romney told radio host Hugh Hewitt, "then I would be running."

Romney keeps 2016 talk alive with "Dumb and Dumber" scenario

Romney's been very clear on the subject of 2016.

"The answer is no, I'm not running for president in 2016. It's time for someone else to take that responsibility and I'll be supporting our nominee," he told anchor Wolf Blitzer in February on CNN's "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer"

He's been using the same "I'm not running" language over and over again. And Romney's wife, Ann, has also been adamant against another run.

Romney tops the field in New Hampshire

Regardless, pollsters are asking about Romney. Two public opinion surveys conducted this summer in New Hampshire – WMUR/Granite State and Suffolk University/Boston Herald – indicated that Romney would be the overwhelming front runner in the first-in-the-nation primary state if he decided to run again.

The first poll to spark the Romney 2016 flames was an ABC News/Washington Post national survey released last November that suggested that if the 2012 presidential election between Romney and President Braack Obama were held today, Romney would hold a slight lead in the popular vote. Obama won the popular vote in the 2012 contest by a 51%-47% margin.

The flames were further fanned earlier this summer when by a 45%-38% margin, voters nationwide questioned in Quinnipiac University poll said that the country would be better off if Romney rather than Obama had won the 2012 election. And a CNN/ORC International survey conducted last month indicated Romney topping the President 53%-44% in the popular vote if the 2012 election were somehow held again.

zzzzzzz poll

GOP strategist Kevin Madden, who served as a senior adviser in Romney's 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns, recently told CNN that "the interest in Romney is driven by those who believe, very deeply, that he would have been a very effective president and that he has been proven right on so many issues and ideas that he advanced in the 2012 campaign."

"But conceptual candidacies are very enticing, almost irresistible. Actual candidacies are cold, hard realities. There's a universe of differences between the two," added Madden, a CNN contributor.

That CNN/ORC poll backs up Madden's point. The survey suggested Romney losing to Hillary Clinton by a 55%-42% margin in a hypothetical 2016 matchup.

yyyyyy poll

The USA Today/Suffolk University poll was conducted August 23-26, with 500 likely 2014 voters in Iowa questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.

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Filed under: 2016 • Mitt Romney
soundoff (111 Responses)
  1. jason

    GOP's only option a convicted felon-perry-or a potential felon-Romney ~tax evasion

    August 27, 2014 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  2. kenman14

    He would have won last time if an informed electorate voted for the better man and leader.

    August 27, 2014 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  3. MB

    WHO is Pushing the Repubs to take Romney????? HE IS A LOSER and will always be Mitt the Twit to me -the name he earned on his disastrous foreign trip-I think it is young leaders like Ryan and Paul who are pushing-because they know they would lose to Hillary and want to save themselves for future campaigns -Neither one can afford to lose in 2016 and who better to sacrifice that Mitt

    August 27, 2014 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  4. FG

    This information only confirms the overall stupidity of the Republican Party.

    August 27, 2014 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  5. Ever Notice...

    Mitt – You had your shot, now go away please.

    August 27, 2014 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  6. neokat1

    Obama has single handedly destroyed America and American values.. This will take at least 2 more presidencies to get corrected. I wouldn't want to be the one cleaning all this mess.

    August 27, 2014 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  7. Lynda/Minnesota

    PREDICTION:
    Mitt Romney will be the bright shiny, moderate talking object that they want your moderates and independents to listen to, instead of listening to the right wing extremists that are actually running for office. Just wait and see. You watch.

    In which case, Mitt Romney will end up confusing the entire lot of them when he says (a) and the candidates say (b) and they ALL end up having to justify whatever the nonsense is they each are trying to grandstand past one another.

    The political talking points will end up being Romney vs a GOP Candidate ... and NOT a GOP candidate vs a Dem candidate. I really, really think it best that Romney stay home and play with his car elevator, or something equally malleable to Mitt Romney's ... well ... will power.

    August 27, 2014 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  8. Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair

    "In California, Governor Brown took a $20 billion deficit and now we're basking in record surpluses."
    ---
    The truth of that statement is debateable. But even if true, it simply means the government took TOO MUCH money away from the citizens, and therefore took it out of the economy.
    ===========================================================
    If I'm not mistaken, Gov. Brown raised some taxes. Conservative economic theories are disproven by facts yet again.

    August 27, 2014 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  9. Dumbas[R]ocks

    Wait. Was this poll run by the same people who ran the partisan-contrived poll that FoxNews and its empty-headed acolytes worshiped leading up to the 2012 election? That would explain a lot.

    Nothing like a good fairytale to get the various erogenous zones of the [R] base swollen with empty partisan lust.

    August 27, 2014 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  10. gtx

    Another Nixon. Remember how that ended?

    August 27, 2014 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  11. Moody

    I remember Mitt and Ryan from last election nicknamed Flip Flop Mitt and Lying Ryan. Why again? Just stupid to repeat the same mistakes.

    August 27, 2014 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  12. Klutch Cargo

    NO!, We absolutely can't have anyone who is successful and intelligent in the White House! The Nanny State would never survive! Who would spread the wealth around! No!

    August 27, 2014 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  13. Ol' Yeller

    @"laragabriella

    "In 2016 following the two terms of the worst president in US history, anything is possible."

    blah, blah, blah... this whole projection thing is getting out of hand. We will see how history judges Obama against the village idiot and his entourage who almost destroyed this country.
    Obama- record stock market just yesterday, brought us back from the brink of fiscal disaster, created jobs, cut deficit in half, got us out of two unfunded, off the books illegal wars started by the klown krew, brought to justice the most notorius terrorist in all of history... should I go on, rube?

    August 27, 2014 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  14. stretch5150

    The best the liberals can do is attempt to spread lies about anyone running for the GOP in hopes that enough clueless liberals will vote for Hillary in 2016.

    August 27, 2014 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  15. J Biden

    After the disaster that has been the Obama administration, a used napkin could beat any Democrat running.

    August 27, 2014 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  16. Jake

    Yes Mitt, run again and get a winner like Sarah Palin as the VP. I would caution you though not to go with her on any camping trip. You know how the GOP folks like shooting their "best friends", like Chaney did. America needs a good laugh, please run against Hillary, so you can be the first to lose 3 times and the first to lose to a lady.

    August 27, 2014 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  17. Anonymous

    kenman14

    He would have won last time if an informed electorate voted for the better man and leader.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    The "informed electorate" DID vote for the better man, and that's why mr. 47% lost.

    August 27, 2014 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  18. Sambell1

    What does it say about the GOP that Santorum, the winner in 2012 in Iowa, has only 6% support? Another right wingnut clown car coming in 2016!

    August 27, 2014 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  19. Raoul Duke, Doctor of Journalism

    Oh please run that pinhead again, and give him Sarah Palin as a running mate. Watching them flounder around trying to convince people they could do the job would be SO funny. Hell, make a reality show out of it and call it FAILIN' with PALIN Part Two.
    You know Mitt already bought his way back into the race, and the GOP won't be able to prevent him from just hijacking their party, strapping it to the roof of his car, and driving off into the dark with it. This is going to go down in history as a major failure. Mitt's another Wendell Wilkie.

    August 27, 2014 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  20. getoutofiowa

    can we please quit being first in the nation? used to be, every 4 years it sucked to live here. now it's 24/7/365 every year after year after year. as iowan's, we get stuck with every huckster with a story to sell. I just wish they'd leave us alone and stay out of iowa.

    August 27, 2014 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  21. Orso

    Not sure the Koch brothers are ready to dump another $196 Million on Romney to watch him lose again. Not that they can't afford it, it's just that they wouldn't look as bad burning it rather than watch him spend it all and at the end stick his foot in his mouth again and lose.

    August 27, 2014 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  22. samus

    Hah! McCain was third.

    August 27, 2014 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  23. The REAL Truth...

    Maybe he thinks 3rd times a charm ?

    August 27, 2014 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  24. Dumbas[R]ocks

    Wake up BLAKE. Your strongest GOP candidate "lost to an extremely weak Democrat candidate".

    'Up' is 'down'. 'Bad' is 'good'. 'South' is 'north'. 'Cold' is 'hot'. 'Losing' is 'winning'. 'Weakest' is 'strongest'.

    Blake has employed Play #12 from the [R] playbook:
    and I quote......"When reality is not working for you, merely revert to grade-school fairytales, nay-saying and counter-comebacks. Remember, that our base is not comprised of the sharpest tools in the shed"

    August 27, 2014 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  25. Rudy NYC

    Lynda/Minnesota

    PREDICTION:
    Mitt Romney will be the bright shiny, moderate talking object that they want your moderates and independents to listen to, instead of listening to the right wing extremists that are actually running for office. Just wait and see. You watch.

    In which case, Mitt Romney will end up confusing the entire lot of them when he says (a) and the candidates say (b) and they ALL end up having to justify whatever the nonsense is they each are trying to grandstand past one another.

    The political talking points will end up being Romney vs a GOP Candidate ... and NOT a GOP candidate vs a Dem candidate. I really, really think it best that Romney stay home and play with his car elevator, or something equally malleable to Mitt Romney's ... well ... will power.
    ----------------------------
    The smarter candidates won't say anything: i.e.; Paul Ryan answering questions by recently telling someone "read my book". I think it is a fact that Mitt Romney isn't running. I would advise anyone listening to abandon that idea, and paying attention to Mitt is doing if he's definitely not running.

    Because he was the Republican Party's most recent nominee, Romney is arguably the party's leader, by default. Romney also finds himself in the position of being a "king maker" just by endorsing one candidate over another. The GOP has also done a terrible job on their make over following the 2012 election. I think Romney is going to be out there to correct that image problem by appearing to be the voice of reason and moderation coming out of the right wing.

    August 27, 2014 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
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