Gingrich ahead in Iowa, poll shows; Romney drops to third
December 3rd, 2011
08:33 PM ET
10 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. once upon a horse

    @ Kieth in Austin......

    You are correct...if you get your polling from FoxNews that is. REAL polling shows Obama leading Newt and at worst in a dead heat with Romney so try your picks again.

    December 4, 2011 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  2. Michael

    BeverlyNC, You point to the things Obama has supposedly done, ignoring the fact that it has taken him two TRILLION dollars to "help the people", and last time I checked the people were still unemployed, buried under their mortgages, and losing their homes. Wake up.

    December 4, 2011 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  3. Joeinalabama

    I know Newt has a lot of baggage, but I don't care if he can run to country. He probably has a better grasp of running the country and foreign affairs than the rest of the candidates, and sure better than BO, the community organizer with hoops expertize.

    December 4, 2011 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  4. Dustin Stewart

    Ron Paul is the only hope for ensuring your money will be worth something when you retire. PAUL 2012!

    December 4, 2011 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  5. Boonedoggle

    Gingrich will exemplify the finest in conservative Republican family values.

    December 4, 2011 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  6. CN

    ron paul ron paul ron paul. some of us have looked at ron paul, and found him lacking. like the other yahoos on offer from the right, he did no say a word when the audience booed that soldier. he may be a good critic and an excellent leader, but that showed a complete lack of leadership skills. and he's a libertarian; what to say should have been easy. "you don't have to approve of this guy's lifestyle. but you do have to LEAVE HIM ALONE." but we don't even get that.

    December 4, 2011 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  7. jose

    I don't care who the rrepublicans run, I will vote against Obama.
    Obama is not up to the task at hand and 12 years of knuckleheads is long enough.

    December 4, 2011 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  8. Jersey3038

    Like most people comenting, I will be voting for Ron Paul or Obama. It's up to the repubs.

    December 4, 2011 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  9. Denverdriver

    What a bunch of *&^%$#@ clowns! If the best that the Republicans can come up with for 2012 is the slimy Newt, they are in serious trouble.

    December 4, 2011 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  10. Howard

    The Majority of Congress needs to be flushed down a gigantic toilet and the Electorate needs to pull the chain!

    December 4, 2011 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  11. Patricksday

    As Judge Judy would say "if something sounds funny its usually not true", the corporate Media has selected him to be the running mate against Obama without the peoples vote. They will keep telling us he is the front runner and after a while we will believe that. Ron Paul would be the only clean canidate to give Obama a run for his money, but the Corporations are scared of him.

    December 4, 2011 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  12. carlos

    I think Gettingrich is the worst because has a combination of Rommey and Cain (flip-flopper and cheater, respectively)

    December 4, 2011 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  13. Publius 13

    Willard is in serious trouble. Although Cain was only in single digits, almost none of those votes are going to go to Willard. Gingrich is going to have to work hard to blow this one.

    December 4, 2011 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  14. Voter445

    Its funny to see y'all get so excited about an Iowa caucus. Check your history and see how applicable. Its like when you got all excited about straw poll results. You have a teenacious base. that is all. Unelectable. in . a. national election.

    December 4, 2011 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  15. Voter445

    Unelectable. That is why no serius media coverage. Seriously, not rocket science here.

    December 4, 2011 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  16. Mike

    The interesting thing about Ron Paul; once you get away from the "experts", just about everyone I know of thinks he is the best candidate from either party. Period. And, they would vote for him. I actually don't know of anyone who would vote for Obama or Romney or Gingrich or anyone else, if they had a chance at voting for Paul. So where does this "unelectable" nonsense come from? Now, my circle of friends are all college educated, mostly Independents, and include veterans, public and private sector workers, a few really wealthy individuals, most mostly just middle class and lower middle class voters. And, every single one of them, me to, wold vote for Ron Paul in a heartbeat and none of them agree on any other candidate. It's Interesting that CNN, the Washington Post, New York Times, MSNBC all have similar headlines about some phantom "poll" this morning and not one of them mentions Ron Paul. It's always something along the lines of Gingrich leads, Romney is third, maybe Cain in fourth and they completely leave out Ron Paul. Now, I *really* want to see how they are going to handle Paul's winning Iowa and, then, New Hampshire.

    December 4, 2011 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  17. DonD

    Clowns and madness... all of it.

    December 4, 2011 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  18. vet4life63

    Why does the media try to "select" who THEY want to win by the way they report? I think alot of people are going to be voting for RON PAUL next year. At least the ones who love this country as I do, and our tired of seeing our rights eroded, and our govt slowly take over our lives. RON PAUL, you have my vote! Enough of us will show up to vote for Dr. Paul, that CNN will have NO CHOICE but to include him!!!

    December 4, 2011 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  19. Sam

    Doesn't matter who those guys nominate. The Democrats will win again next year.

    December 4, 2011 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  20. Abbie

    "Gingrich ahead. Romney drops to third. ..." Sounds like a horse race. Though this field of horses is headed to the lost-election glue factory.

    December 4, 2011 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  21. juice

    Weird. I thought people wanted a non-career politician for a change. Does people honestly think this is going to be a game changer?

    December 4, 2011 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  22. Iowa

    First of all It's a scary thing that republicans would even consider voting for Newt.... If Cain has to drop out of the Race because of these alligations then Newt should drop out too!!! He's not only had one broken marriage but two where well I don;t even need to say why those marriages were not successful...... I would hope you would do your homework... Mitt Romney is the only one that can beat Obama he has independent voters and Democrates and Republicans.... So if we are worried about Obama Then lets vote for mitt

    December 4, 2011 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  23. tom

    Gingrich is OK in some ways, but his thought of making the dollar as "good as gold" could be fairly equated with a fairy tale involving Rumpelstiltskin. Some voters would prefer to hear politicians talking economics in terms of reality.

    December 4, 2011 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
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