Gingrich tops 3rd straight poll in Iowa
December 6th, 2011
09:23 AM ET
11 years ago

Gingrich tops 3rd straight poll in Iowa

(CNN) - Newt Gingrich tops a third straight poll of likely Iowa Republican caucus goers. Thirty-three percent of people questioned in an ABC/Washington Post survey say that the former House speaker and GOP presidential candidate is their choice for their party's nominee. The poll's Tuesday release comes four weeks before the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses, which kick off the Republican presidential primary and caucus calendar.

Gingrich was on top of the field in a Des Moines Register Iowa poll released Saturday and an NBC-Marist poll that came out on Sunday.

According to the ABC/Washington Post poll, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Rep. Ron Paul of Texas are tied at 18%, with Texas Gov. Rick Perry at 11%.

Two candidates who have been crisscrossing Iowa, Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, are at 10% and 7% respectively. The survey indicates that Jon Huntsman's at 2%. The former Utah governor and ambassador to China has spent nearly all of his time campaigning in New Hampshire, which votes second after Iowa. Four percent are unsure who to support and six in ten say they could change their minds over the next four weeks.

Gingrich's campaign was left for dead by many in late spring, after a bunch of controversies which resulted a number of top advisers and staffers quitting the campaign. They also faced financial difficulties. But thanks to strong performances in many of the Republican presidential debates this autumn, and thanks to stumbles by Bachmann, Perry and businessman Herman Cain, who suspended his campaign this past weekend, Gingrich has soared in both national polling and in surveys in the crucial early voting states.

The challenge for Gingrich now is to use his skyrocketing poll numbers and increase in fundraising to quickly build a larger and more effective campaign structure in the early voting states. Gingrich went up with his first campaign TV commercial Monday, in Iowa.

According to the ABC/Washington Post poll, Gingrich leads Romney by 27 points when it comes to experience, by 14 points on standing up for what he believes, by 13 points when it comes to reflecting the values of the GOP and by 10 points on understanding the problems of people like me. Gingrich holds a narrower five-point margin over Romney on electability and is basically tied with Romney on honesty.

The survey indicates that, at least in Iowa, the issue of illegal immigration may not hurt Gingrich, who has come under attack by some of his rivals for his calls for a pathway to legitimacy for some longtime illegal immigrants. By 19 points, Hawkeye State Republicans say Gingrich would do a better job on the issue over Romney, who has been critical of Gingrich over immigration. Only 15% say Gingrich's position on the issue is a reason to oppose him for the nomination, with nearly four in ten saying it's a reason to support him.

Separately, only 16% say Gingrich's marital history is a reason to not support him. Gingrich has been married three times and has admitted to extramarital affairs.

Meanwhile, the poll indicates the health care measure signed into law over five years ago by then-Massachusetts Gov. Romney, which includes an individual mandate and is considered by some Republicans as the model for President Barack Obama's national health care law, could be damaging. Forty-five percent of those questioned say the so-called "RomneyCare" law is a major reason to oppose Romney for the nomination.

The ABC News-Washington Post poll was conducted Nov. 30-Dec. 4, with 858 potential Iowa Republican caucus goers, including 356 likely GOP caucus goers, questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus four percentage points, with a sampling error of plus or minus six percentage points for likely caucus goers.

A CBS News-New York Times poll also released Tuesday morning indicates that 31% say Gingrich has the best chance of beating Obama next year, with 29% saying Romney is most electable.

The CBS News-New York Times poll was conducted Nov. 30-Dec. 5, with 642 Iowa registered voters who say they are definitely or probably attending the GOP caucuses questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus four percentage points.

Also see:

Axelrod: Gingrich to blame for Washington gridlock

Romney's stand on payroll tax has Dems crying 'flip-flop'

Gingrich ready for 'early Christmas gift' from Pelosi

Cain says no endorsement soon

Filed under: 2012 • Iowa • Newt Gingrich • Polls
soundoff (14 Responses)

    This is bad news for Willard. If he's not careful, he may lose New Hampshire as well.


    December 6, 2011 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  2. Lynda/Minnesota

    Willard's got himself a really big problem.

    December 6, 2011 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  3. Keith in Austin

    Keep your eyes open Newt, the DNC/Axelrod smears are going to get much worse. DNC Playbook; when "your guy" has nothing of substance to run on, viciously attack the opponent(s) with lies, innuendos and everything necessary to ruin him!

    Problem is that Bozo WILL NOT be able to BLAME others for HIS dismal failure. If Obama was the CEO of ANY Private Sector company, he'd have been fired months ago for non performance! The American People that truly have a stake in our Country's future WILL do likewise! The battle line is NOT between Rich and Poor but will ultimately be drawn between those of us paying vs. those receiving! What side are YOU on?

    December 6, 2011 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  4. tamara reina

    Well will have a new president because he is sure impressing the people. Alright no games play it fair and square

    December 6, 2011 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  5. Ed DFWTX

    Gingrich is a career politican and book peddler. He is the only speaker to be reprimanded by the House for giving false information about using tax deductible funds for political purposes. He would make a bad President. None of the members of Congress who were under him in the 90s would support him. That tells you a lot about his leadership skills, or should I say lack of leadership skills. Obama 2012!

    December 6, 2011 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  6. MaryM

    Newt is not presidential material, period. The GOP/TP knows it and Newt knows it. The big questions is, why is Newt teaming up with the Donald? Only one answer, Newt is going after the reality shows and money just like Palin and the Donald.

    December 6, 2011 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  7. Jam.Nat

    Coming from a person who said such things as "We have to pass the bill in order to find out what's in it" and when she was minority leader to not offer alternate legislation because she felt that her role not to offer any alternative legislation but to simply block the Republicans from passing legislation then to complain about the Republicans obstructionist when she was Speaker; yeah right! Liberals have their share of idiots and she is one of them.

    December 6, 2011 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  8. 1crusader

    There is more to being president than being a good debater.The base of the GOP is looking for a mercenary to take down the president, and they believe that Gingrich is the guy to do it; and are willing to ignore all of the warning signs about him- from his past as Speaker, infidelities, flip-flops,undisciplined manner, financial dealings, lobbying; and his over all lack of character, wisdom, and judgment.He would be a disaster as president, domestically, and abroad.

    December 6, 2011 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  9. Randy, San Francisco

    Iowa GOP/Tea Party voters will suffer from "buyer's remorse" because Gingrich is a flawed candidate.

    December 6, 2011 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  10. vic , nashville ,tn

    Tell the truth CNN most republicans don’t like their front runners

    Establishment candidate is Romney, anti establishment candidates are Newt, Perry, and Bachmann
    Two best candidates Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman not getting attention

    December 6, 2011 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  11. Allen

    I am just amazed at how quickly the right wing family values bunch has attached themselves to Newt, forgiven his sins, and forgotten how shamefully they have treated the current President. We have a Christian, American born, never divorced, married, father of two daughters, who is the American success story, a man who worked him way up from the bottom, who is focused on saving the middle class, and these people would rather have Newt? If Obama had an (R) after his name they would worship him as the example of a true Republican. It goes to show you how they are all hypocrites and not really Christian at a retired soldier I am ashamed to see how far the GOP has truly fallen. Reagan is rolling over in his grave right now….

    December 6, 2011 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  12. Jake

    All this hype about the "Grinch" leading in Iowa. If my memory serves me correctly in 2008 Huckabee won Iowa and then sank like a battle ship! Iowa is irrelevant.

    December 6, 2011 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  13. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I guess enough other people peaked too early or imploded. Look at Bachmann, Perry and Cain. They peaked well before they should have to challenge Romney. Perry and Cain imploded either by their actions (Perry) or by past problems that were brought to light (Cain). Does the GOP want a flip-flopper or a man with a major case of foot in mouth disease? That is a hard choice on that.

    December 6, 2011 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  14. kurtinco

    Thank you, Iowa. You're a smart bunch of voters with a plan: 1. get Newt nominated then 2. Obama coasts to a 2012 victory.

    December 6, 2011 10:50 am at 10:50 am |