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. Chase

    The idea of Newt Gingrich becoming the republican presidential nominee means a reelection of the president, and as a republican that scares me. I think if the conservatives were smart and wanted to have a conservative in office they must elect a more moderate candidate, and Newt is not that. I think if we elect Ron Paul as the candidate it would take some liberal, and moderate votes away from the president, and maybe even make it possible for a conservative to win the 2012 election.

    December 7, 2011 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  2. PulTab

    Good new for the newt is good news for us libs. We would really like to take him on in the general.

    December 7, 2011 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  3. Steve (not the real one)

    These last four years with Obama have been great! Give me four more just like those, please.

    December 7, 2011 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  4. Everythingdies

    Iowa is a very nice place to live, except every four years about this time. Make them go away.

    December 7, 2011 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  5. vatoloke

    But what's with all these candidates having to go to The Chump for annoinment? What a mockery they are making of the GObP. Ronnie Reagan et al are spinning in their graves.

    December 7, 2011 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  6. da

    Mind you I could care less about this party nominee(Democrat here), but here is the thing Romney and has let Newt basically trick him and the rest of these suckers to play nice with him and the others so, they would not pull dirt out on him until the last minute. Newt should have been out the race months ago, if only Romney would have attacked him and the others at the onset! I mean seriously who is ya campaign manager? Because he should be fired right now! Newt, played all these idiots in the debates by telling them all not to fight each other but attack the President keep focus. That was just stupid how in the world would any of them stand out to be the front runner, if they don't go 'in' on each other to establish themselves? I mean we all know who your opponent will be, but there was no clarity amongst yourselves to say you deserve the nod. Major muck up Romney! Romney being the so call front runner should have come out swinging on all of them! Dumb just dumb dude get a new campaign manager, if it is not too late! Oh and another thing yeah the DNC and the President think you are the one they will have to face, but that also is a ploy. Why because the more they keep you out there thinking you would be it, the more the other nominees attacked you! Also it keeps any other potential candidate that maybe a Conservative Moderate out.
    But let me say I am sure the President could care less (and so do I), if Romney or any of the others take it because they are ready for all of you!! LOL Obama 2012!!!

    December 7, 2011 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  7. cigarman

    Even Rick Santorum is making more sense than Gingrich, I think that I will go to the Doctor today and get my head examined.

    December 7, 2011 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  8. GOP's answer to everything: More money to the rich

    This gets better everyday. It's like joining fruit of the month club. Newt is this month's "fruit"

    December 7, 2011 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  9. JT

    The far right's stupidity has reached a new high. Obama and his staff are getting the champagne glasses ready for a Gingrich nomination. The far right would rather do a harakiri and nominate Gingrich, then have a chance at knocking off Obama. As a moderate conservative independent, there is no way I would ever vote for Gingrich, the only viable candidates are Romney and Hunstman (who is way to smart for his own party).

    December 7, 2011 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  10. Lost in Texas FOREVER and EVER

    @ Roger......

    "falling in and out of love?" You're right I will keep an open mind and my open mind tells me if President Obama had the SAME baggage as Newt people like you would NOT have such an open mind and would be on the attack. You know how all you upright and moral Republicans are.

    December 7, 2011 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  11. Mick

    And Ron Paul is currently the only GOP candidate that can beat Obama in Iowa.

    December 7, 2011 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  12. Lynda/Minnesota

    @Jariv (who commented) "Tied with Romney on Honesty. Seriously... you can't compare Romney's honesty which is the best of the GOP to the worst which is Gingrich. This is just unbelievable. To many naive people in the US and that is why it will fail in the not to distant future."

    Looks as if Mr. Weathervane is suffering from his own wishy-washy ... game changing ... I'll say anything depending on who's in the crowd ... than it says about old Newt's "honesty". Fact is, that is one section of the poll which is most accurate. Romney and Gingrich are one and the same in their distortion and lies. Kudos to all the polled GOPers who were willing to admit it.

    December 7, 2011 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  13. paul

    Living in the midwest, I expect people from Iowa to put a premium on values and morals. If they choose Gingrich as their candidate, they can NEVER say that values are important. Either people in Iowa don't know about the many "skeletons" in his closet or they just hate Obama so much they would sell their soul. Actually, Obama beats Gingrich by a mile when it comes to personal and family values.

    December 7, 2011 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  14. Peg - Az

    You know you are getting old when the guy who was once everyone's villain, someone that was not trusted by the right or the left, is now a frontrunner. If you were an adult or even remotely paying attention to politics in the 80's and 90's this news brings a cold creepy chill down your spine.

    December 7, 2011 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  15. Rudy NYC

    Roger wrote:

    Please, folks, get over a man falling in and out of love. This country needs a man who has vision and a record of fixing the country. We need him. Your guy has arrested 5000 protesters and not one banker. Look at how Obama raised all his money–Bankers, health insurance companies, and Wall Street! Nearly 1 billion dollars. He talks a good game and has you all brain washed. Please keep an open mind and stay tuned.
    Roger, Roger. Newt has moniker "Grandfather of Gridlock", and wears it proudly. Newt is a "status quo politician" who stands for everything that is wrong and broken in DC. Pres. Obama has not arrested any protesters, but several mayors and police chiefs have. Not would Gingrch have had them arrested, he would have them detained indefinitely. Your fund raising figures are ahead of their time.

    December 7, 2011 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  16. Elmer

    The current Republican party is a confederation of social conservatives, gun and personal liberty extremist allied with some main stream Americans, all glued together by their mutual lust for personal monetary gain. They will vote for the candidate most likely to enhance their bottom line regardless of the candidates qualifications or ethical standards. Greed rules the Republican party.

    December 7, 2011 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  17. Keith in Austin

    I can't wait to watch Gingrich debate Barry on his dismal record of failure! Thus far, all GOP candidates are being vilified by the Obozo Attack Machine headed by Comrade David Axelrod! Obama's free pass from the media and public discord will be a rude awakening for The Divider in Chief in due time! He will be exposed for the true left-wing, tax and spend Socialist he really is

    December 7, 2011 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  18. Reddog9500

    @me. You're absolutely correct. So, lets just say that Americans deserve better from their President and from this moment on if you're interested in being the leader of the most powerful nation on earth you must be of high moral character. Adulterers, cheaters, liars, thieves and others of low morals need not apply. I don't expect my President to be a saint, but I think that people like Herman Cain, and Newt Gingrich have proven themselves to be unworthy of the public's trust because of their lack of conscience and moral fiber.

    December 7, 2011 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  19. Wes Monroe

    I feel that it would be refreshing to have someone running the White House other than a community organizer without a clue as to how to bring this nation together. Newt will destroy Obama in a debate even if Obama does get to use his teleprompter which Newt told him it was ok to do. A Lincoln Douglas style debate as Newt has suggested would be a perfect platform for each candidate to express his views. My vote went to Obama in 2008 but not in 2012. Obama hasn't done anything for me like he promised. Change what change?

    December 7, 2011 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  20. Women

    It is rather shocking to see support for Gingrich by a party that claims values. My mother among them. I don't get it. On one side a Christian man who is faithful to his wife and children. A family man who touts the virtues of Christianity. On the other... well... I think we all know the story of betrayal of two wives.

    December 7, 2011 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  21. V in Chicago

    If Gingrich is nominated, it will be the end of the Republican Conservative Party. There is no way they can tout their christian values and vote for this man. He is one of the most corrupt, dishonest ego-maniacs the world has ever seen. Even Republicans who have worked with him in the past say letting him back in to any political office would be a huge mistake. Wake up those of you on the Right. Have you heard of John Huntsman?????

    December 7, 2011 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  22. Houston

    All you republicans better wake UP . Just about all the Independents AND Democrats would most likely Vote For Romney in the General Election, ( or even Ron Paul) BUT we won't Vote for Gingrich in the general election. If Gingrich gets the republican Nomination, there will be a lot of people staying home, or will end up Voting for Obama, Just because they don't want Gingrich IN the white house !

    Please read what Cigar Man has said. He's not lying, or making it up.

    December 7, 2011 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  23. CoJo

    it is interesting to see people wanting or even desire to relive the financial melt down we had. People must love losing their homes and retirement savings due to the financial mess he republicans caused during Bush's time. Even during Gingrish's time with Encron and Tyco type companies (illegal accounting practices for those of you with bad memeory). Republicans were the watch dogs during both those times. And they want to do it again?!!?!?!?! And the public will obviously let them.

    December 7, 2011 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  24. AliGirl76

    I cannot believe that this is the best that our party can do. Can we not find one candidate that is not a liar nor cheater nor lunatic? There is no way in hell that independents or undecided folks will vote for this joker. And let's face it, that is who elects our president.

    December 7, 2011 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  25. Reddog9500

    America needs a hero, not a Nero.

    December 7, 2011 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
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