Gingrich tops 4th straight poll in Iowa
December 6th, 2011
04:51 PM ET
11 years ago

Gingrich tops 4th straight poll in Iowa

(CNN) - Newt Gingrich leads the pack of GOP presidential candidates in a fourth straight poll of likely Iowa Republican caucus goers.

Thirty-one percent of people questioned in a CBS News/New York Times survey say that the former House speaker is their choice for their party's nominee, with 17 percent supporting former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and 16% backing Rep. Ron Paul of Texas. The poll's Tuesday afternoon release comes four weeks before the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses, which kick off the Republican presidential primary and caucus calendar.

The survey indicates that 11% support Texas Gov. Rick Perry, with 9% backing Rep. Michele Bachmann of neighboring Minnesota and 4% supporting former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania. Both Bachmann and Santorum have been crisscrossing Iowa the past couple of months.

The poll's results mirror an ABC News/Washington Post survey released Tuesday morning. According to that poll, 33% of likely Iowa GOP caucus goers say they back Gingrich, with Romney, who's making his second bid for the GOP nomination, and Paul, who's making his third run for the White House, each at 18%, Perry at 11%, Bachmann at 10%, and Santorum at 7%.

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.

Asked about the latest polls, Romney told reporters Tuesday in Arizona that "my expectation is that this is going to be a campaign that's going to go on for a while and I expect to win it."

Gingrich's campaign was left for dead by many in late spring, after a bunch of controversies which resulted in 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.

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.

Filed under: 2012 • Iowa • Newt Gingrich • Polls
soundoff (122 Responses)
  1. Kevin Dunne

    Id rather have Gingrich than Romney any day. Yes they both suck but Romney is a serial flip flopper has-been who cares more about power and how his hair looks than actually leading the country.

    December 7, 2011 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  2. GRofPA

    More good news for Newt – amurican voters are dumber than ever.

    December 7, 2011 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  3. GRofPA

    Newt is so good

    December 7, 2011 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  4. Laura

    Ron Paul for 2012.

    I'm as liberal as they come. I feel we should have a national single payer health plan. I feel that circumcising boys should be illegal, and the war on drugs is bogus. Despite all this, I will still vote for Ron Paul even if I have to write-in. Why?

    As strongly as I feel on the above issues, we have bigger fish to fry, and Ron Paul is the only one who gets it. Australia manages to stay on the gold standard AND provide real health care for all, why can't we? Germany manages to be the greatest per capita exporter in the world AND provide real health care for all, etc.

    What is the difference? We keep starting wars and invading countries that don't want us there. They don't attack us because we are supposedly free. They attack us because we confiscate their lands for our private (oil) use. Ron Paul gets that. Ron Paul also gets that we are going into serious inflationary times, and he also, with good reason, suspects that the gold reserves are non-existent.

    December 7, 2011 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  5. Vince

    I hope this flavor of the month sticks around. Romeny is the only one who can beat Obama...but it looks like the Tea Party is gonna shoot Republicans in the foot...I love it! Go Newt Go!

    December 7, 2011 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  6. Leslie

    The republicans in Iowa really need to take a long hard look at Gingrich and what he stands for!!!!!!!

    December 7, 2011 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  7. Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair asked:
    Wasn't it Iowa that catapulted Obama in 2008?
    Do you mean the moment when Hillary broke down and cried? Wasn't that in New Hampshire?

    In another article today, Gingrich claims to have created supply-side economic theory with Ronald Reagan. There is a grain of truth to that claim but it is actually more misleading and inaccurate than factual. Supply side theory has been longer than Newt has been alive. What Reagain's team invented was "trickle down economics", which was a term that Reagan's campaign invented to describe Reagan's economic plans that were supposed to be a variation of supply side theory.

    December 7, 2011 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  8. Tom

    I wonder if, like in 2008, Romney will brag about how he won a "silver" in Iowa? This ain't the Olympics, Mitt.

    December 7, 2011 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  9. Fair is Fair

    @ Rudy –

    Nope. Obama became top-tier after his win in Iowa. Hillary cried BEFORE New Hampshire and later won that state.

    December 7, 2011 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  10. Mark

    As Rush stated, forget about morals and ethics, it's better to have a republican who lacks both than a democrat who has both. Newt will make sure that this counrty will go down the tubes faster than you can say "I want a divorce".

    December 7, 2011 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  11. neilg-bklyn

    Exactly why is it Socialist to believe that the richest country on Earth should be providing basic health care to its citizens?

    December 7, 2011 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  12. Randy, San Francisco

    The Tea Party failed miserably to change the political equation in GOP presidential politics. After months of political circus drama, the top two candidates are re-cycled establishment type candidates with too much negative baggage.

    December 7, 2011 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |

    Yikes. Worst getty image of the Pillsbury dough boy, ahem, I mean Gingrich. Ever!

    December 7, 2011 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  14. IA now in AL

    "They're also one of the least educated states in our union and few of them have ever traveled abroad and have a very small knowledge spectrum of world affairs beyond how their corn prices interact with the price of oil. It's so rural that they have no concept of the challenges and solutions facing the majority of our population, most of which is not rural. I think that it is unfortunate that Iowa occupies such a prominent position in the selection of our candidates for President. Our primary/caucus system needs an overhaul"

    You're kidding right? Iowa "uneducated"? Let's see... Iowa historically has had the highest literacy rate of ANY state in the union, and perennially ranks among the highest in ACT/SAT scores (and the ACT is based out of Iowa City). Please do a little research before making ignorant, biased assumptions.

    The only point I agree with is the caucus overhaul. The "first four" of NH, IA, SC and NV should be rotated among the other states.

    December 7, 2011 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  15. sf

    4 polls huh? how many frekkin polls can CNN run in sucha short time? He'll be eaten alive by the right before the primaries and then whoever's left will be the "leading the polls nominee"...the right is a complete joke to our country!

    December 7, 2011 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  16. Jack

    God, what a choice the GOP has. Do you like Mitt or Newt. If that doesn't make you a Democrat I don't know what will.

    December 7, 2011 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  17. bilk7

    Gingrich began to rise in the polls and Romney began sinking almost immediately after the Romney campaign released the deceitful anti-Obama ad and as soon as he got Chris Christie's endorsement. Coincidence?

    December 7, 2011 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  18. Reddog9500

    "Yikes. Worst getty image of the Pillsbury dough boy, ahem, I mean Gingrich. Ever!"

    There's nothing "Poppin' Fresh" about Gingrich. He's just a stale old loaf of yesterday's half-baked goods.

    December 7, 2011 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  19. Bertina

    Yes lets bring this blowhard to the American people and we shall see that a repeat of 1994 is gonna happen in 2012.

    December 7, 2011 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  20. kevin

    Newt?? really???? I will vote for Obama before I vote for this clown!

    December 7, 2011 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  21. Chris B

    It's awesome the media gives this pushover flip flopper so much coverage. This is what the media loves. Someone that will sway back and forth like the wind blows.

    December 7, 2011 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    "Why has Romney beable to do so well for so long?"

    You mean sitting in the mid 20% range consistently? That's hardly "doing well"; it's a sign that the majority of the party has never liked him. Given that Karl Rove is trying to weasel his slimy ne(cro)con deathcult back into the White House by using Romney as his puppet, I can see why sane rightwingers (that remember the GWB disaster) would want nothing to do with someone as slimy, characterless and venal as Mitt the Flipwit Hypocrite.

    December 7, 2011 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
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