Poll suggests Romney on top in Iowa if he runs again
August 27th, 2014
02:23 PM ET
3 weeks 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.

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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.

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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. samus

    So, at this point, it would be easier for the Republicans to get a time machine than a better candidate than Romney.

    August 27, 2014 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  2. Bubba

    Romney is a DNC dream. Only Sarah Palin would be easier to beat.
    Might as well crown Hillary Queen now, and save us the cost and aggravation the election will cause.

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

    @kenman14: A lot of us VERY informed electorate voted for the righ man and he is president today.

    August 27, 2014 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  4. DustyOnesIsBack

    Raoul Duke, Doctor of Journalism

    After Obama, any Republican will be able to win.

    August 27, 2014 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  5. Veritas

    Several recent polls have demonstrated that if the election were held today Romney would handily beat Obama. There is nothing like "buyer's remorse" to fuel a political comeback.

    August 27, 2014 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  6. Paulwisc

    blake, you are the one who needs to wake up. Obama was the strongest candidate in 2012. He would have beaten any candidate the GOP nominated. You're right that Romney isn't consistent, although he's always conservative - just not conservative enough for you.

    August 27, 2014 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  7. 10work

    Oh this would be fun. Romney should run again so we can call him a 3-time loser

    August 27, 2014 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  8. Lucas

    Romney is a true leader. He was right about Russia, Iraq, Obamacare, the economy, and everything else that our current golf champion has been wrong about.
    Keep pushing the wealth and race cards, liberals. America is sick of both and ready for a REAL leader.

    August 27, 2014 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  9. Marie MD

    I really LOL at this one,
    He wants to make it three out of three? Loser!
    Wasn't the flake from MN leading the clown car t som point in Iowa also? I think until she mistook a serial killer with somebody else? Hard to remember ll the crazy from that woman.
    He needs to go enjoy that car elevator house of his and stay out of the limelight. If he is bored he can go visit his mother at The Villages in Florida and sing off key again.
    Just keep him away from ever having a dog again. His name should be the first one on the animal abuse registry.

    August 27, 2014 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  10. Raoul Duke, Doctor of Journalism

    "Obama has single handedly destroyed America and American values." Nope, it's all still here. Are you watching way too much tv? Listening to FOX every minute you are awake? No, he's actually rebuilt a lot of stuff your boy Bush let his boy Cheney tear down, and business is good. I'm sorry to hear that your values have failed you; you must be one of those who just can't stand a black man in the White House, but it's no reason to fall into sin and hatred. Repent and ask for forgiveness? America survived Dubya drunkenly letting the VP act as president for what amounted to years, we survived having our treasury depleted by his war, and so far Obama hasn't used the extra power you enthusiastically gave Bush to make himself a dictator, although he certainly could. No, he's just a senator we elected to fix the awful mess your favorite president Dubya made, and soon he'll leave and Hillary will pick up where he left off. Not likely we'd let you wasteful spenders get back in there and bankrupt us again.

    August 27, 2014 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  11. bcrunner

    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!

    You are correct. The country can't survive The Nanny State in reverse... that protects the 1% who pay less taxes than me, hide their money offshore... and still demand more tax cuts..

    August 27, 2014 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  12. sly

    Yay! Nothing better for the Democrats.

    8 more years of successful progressive policies that have restored America as the #1 nation in the world.

    Thank you President Obama – best of my lifetime, for record 401ks, record deficit reduction, no wars, no foreign terrorist attacks, wildly popular health care.

    Americans now want the 99% represented, not the 1% that is white-male-rich-Romney.

    August 27, 2014 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  13. logic is toxic

    He can still win Ohio, lmao, he knows the gop has no chance, America could be waking up? He's the best they got, and an abject failure

    August 27, 2014 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  14. GodfreySF

    Yes, let us have Romney undo all the good President Obama has done for this country, as we had Bush undo all the good Clinton did.

    August 27, 2014 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  15. Mr.Bungle

    This is a joke, right?
    I guess when they finished scraping the bottom of the barrel, the only thing left to do was look beneath it.

    August 27, 2014 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  16. Fred Evil

    "kenman14
    He would have won last time if an informed electorate voted for the better man and leader."

    They did, and he didn't. Get over it, princess.

    August 27, 2014 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  17. Sven

    No, Rick Perry is the Democrat's dream. As a Democrat, I implore you Republicans to nominate him. We'll run my goldfish and win in a landslide.

    August 27, 2014 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  18. logic is toxic

    Can't put my finger on it, but something very unlikeable about queen Ann. Upset they didn't get their turn? You were beat by a African American, and your 47% comment was just too much, you can't call people who sacrificed for our country, while you dodged the draft, freeloaders.

    August 27, 2014 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  19. Raoul Duke, Doctor of Journalism

    It is funny watching the GOP try to get his money without taking him too. You know he'll force his way in and run again, and maybe Chris Christie can be his albatross, I mean vice presidential candidate. Mitt's like European royalty, nose in the air and plane tickets to Aruba in his pocket; he cares nothing for the citizens and sees the rich as the Real Americans. He's been in the rich-guy bubble all his life, sneers down at minorities, and just has nothing to offer most working people except a source of dancing-horse and car-elevator jokes.

    August 27, 2014 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  20. Rudy NYC

    samus

    So, at this point, it would be easier for the Republicans to get a time machine than a better candidate than Romney.
    -------------------------------
    Since time machines haven't been invented yet, they'll revert to the old tried and true playbook, just lie about it, which is exactly what they did in 2010. In 2010, they promised jobs. In 2016, they will promise everything except what they passed as the party's agenda at their 2016 conventions. Recall how Romney/Ryan had to dismiss the extreme platform that they had passed in 2012. Whether or not the 2016 platform will be as bad as that is irrelevant, because what they passed in 2012 is what they truly believe in.

    August 27, 2014 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  21. Tom l

    Tom doesn't need an Internet hug. Tom needs honest dialogue. Tom needs Rudy to stop twisting words. Tom needs Rudy to stop cutting and pasting only part of a comment. And Tom needs Rudy to answer any position that he agrees with repubs on

    August 27, 2014 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  22. scmtns

    The polls also say he loses to ANY democrat in 2016..

    August 27, 2014 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  23. Tru

    If at first you don't succeed.................

    August 27, 2014 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  24. Brandon

    Support Rand Paul, its your only chance with the left/independents

    August 27, 2014 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  25. Chuck Rogers Jr.

    Nit Whit Mitt is no POTUS..he is a loony tune and a fraud.DNC as no one either.Gary Johnson or Cory Booker/Svante Myrick for POTUS and VP.

    August 27, 2014 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
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