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. Nash

    Forget Newt. I just want to know where the jobs are? The ones promised to us if we elected Republicans to the house.

    December 7, 2011 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  2. ThinkAgain

    Democrats answer to everything, TAX THE RICH, TAX BUSINESS: Our country fairs better under Democratic administrations than Republican – that is FACT.

    Deal with it – your party is nothing but a bunch of failed policies.

    December 7, 2011 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  3. jim

    For those who say Dr Paul can't win – he's virtually tied with Romney, the presumptive nominee. Whether as a republikan or a Libertarian, Dr Paul could win. He will be the nominee – just not sure which party.

    December 7, 2011 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  4. m

    its quite simple..all the "analysts tell you people who to vote for ..A or B ... you cant decide for yourself so as long as they keep saying newt romney over and over you end up voting for either.. anywayz i think Huntsman or Paul would be good . I know people have doubts, but their not president for life . Whatever changes or cutbacks any candidate makes in whatever areas can always be brought back later when we're not in such a deficit<. Plus If people vote more Dem's in the other branches of govt, those two candidates would be more likely do get work together getting more done.

    December 7, 2011 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  5. Terrell


    "I only have one criteria when I go into the voting booth next November... anybody other than the socialist in the Whitehouse

    if you are smart enough, in a sentence define "Socialist" for us please.

    December 7, 2011 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  6. zip

    Fitting that on Pearl Harbor Day the GOP is flirting with Newt Gingrich. And since when does the GOP do all their polling in trailer parks??

    December 7, 2011 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  7. Ken in MD

    Who cares? It's Iowa. He can't win the general election.

    December 7, 2011 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  8. marty

    There is a refrain, 'it's not what you say but what you do, that counts' which is highlighted by the Republican party when it comes to New Gingrich. Republicans say that they highly regard family, ethics, honesty and integrity.... and then they choose Newt Gingrich to represent them. WOW!

    December 7, 2011 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  9. Lost in Texas FOREVER and EVER

    @ Keith in Austin....
    So Obama gets a FREE PASS from the media? Well God Lord I think we've found a conservative that doesn't watch FoxNews nor listens to right wing talk radio. Of course unless you don't consider them to be REAL media.

    December 7, 2011 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  10. marcia

    The Newt is so disgusting...even to look at. Even more than Obama!

    December 7, 2011 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  11. George

    Obama should dump Biden and have Huntsman become his VP.......

    Should have a poll on when Newt will fall from grace in the GOP race?

    December 7, 2011 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  12. DaveSEMass

    The Republican fan-base must really be desperate. On paper, it should be an easy win over Obama, but they'll have to come up with some candidate who isn't a liar and/or fool. (Romney and Grinchy being the former and the rest of the them the latter.) Ron Paul is neither and fool or a liar, but his positions will never gain him a nomination. I admire him for sticking to unpopular positions and being consistent, but most Republicans clearly would rather have a liar and/or fool.

    December 7, 2011 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  13. demogal

    The GOP – short-sighted ... and short memories.

    December 7, 2011 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  14. Jimi, Hicktown AK

    I was planning on voting for Romney but I will vote Obama if this jerk gets the nomination. Complete insider, takes money from Fannie Mae, supports compulsory Healtrh insurance one day and doesn't the next, supports Al Gore when it suits him, doesn't when it doesn't. How can anyone accuse Romney of flipflopping with this guy around I don't know.
    Completely unelectable.

    December 7, 2011 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  15. Just my opinion

    That's all well and good, but since no one cares what the people of Iowa think, these polls mean nothing

    December 7, 2011 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  16. CoJo

    from what I read, under the republicans, repeal Obamacare.. ok, replace it with "if you can afford health care on you own... great. If not, die quickly please" ... strongly implies if ya rich, you'll live a long healthy life, if not rich, please die quickly and quietly (don't want to hear ya)

    December 7, 2011 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  17. mike

    The new media is pushing Gingrich because they know middle of the road voters won't vote for him, so it's an Obama win. Romney isn't popular with the mainstream Republican voters and Ron Paul is too far right to garner the middle of the roaders also. Republicans are killing themselves here and it's their election if they'd just get it right.

    December 7, 2011 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  18. Lynda/Minnesota

    @Terrell (who commented):


    "I only have one criteria when I go into the voting booth next November... anybody other than the socialist in the Whitehouse

    if you are smart enough, in a sentence define "Socialist" for us please.

    Umm, Terrell, I think you're preaching to the wrong choir with your comment. Sorry, but the comment you're crediting me with was actually a comment from another. You must have missed my full response.

    Obama/Biden 2012

    December 7, 2011 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  19. TommiGI

    This is best the GOP can offer? Pathetic.

    December 7, 2011 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  20. Marc Alexander Detroit-Grinnell

    Well Iowa, here comes the Rod Blagojevic of national politics. He will sell his powers to get even fatter. He also symbolizes one of the principal issues with American health care.

    December 7, 2011 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  21. Hark

    Newt made amends with what is the problem with the rest of you? Its about time we get a "Doer" in the WH before our "Wonder Boy" puts us all in the poor house. What flavor was the kool-aid you dems drank in 2008?

    December 7, 2011 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  22. part of the 99%

    Soon people will understand that iowa is really just an acronym for "I Owe the World an Apology."

    December 7, 2011 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  23. JOHN

    Like all Republican't candidates, just more hot gas. It will be over real soon for Gingrinch.

    December 7, 2011 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  24. Fair is Fair

    "That's all well and good, but since no one cares what the people of Iowa think, these polls mean nothing."
    Wasn't it Iowa that catapulted Obama in 2008?

    December 7, 2011 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  25. Baylor Alum

    God, this is exactly why I don't vote Republican anymore. What a bunch of radical know-nothings, no plans for what to do to fix the economy, save for more tax breaks for billionaires, just anti-Obama hate...

    December 7, 2011 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
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