Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has already picked up steam among Republican primary voters nationwide, and now he jumps to the front of the GOP pack among caucus-goers in Iowa.
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of Likely Iowa Republican caucus-goers shows Gingrich with 32% followed by former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney at 19%. Georgia businessman Herman Cain, who led in Iowa last month, drops to third with 13% of the vote. Texas Congressman Ron Paul draws 10% of the vote in Iowa, while Texas Governor Rick Perry and Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann each grab six percent (6%).
Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum draws support from five percent (5%) of caucus-goers while former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman picks up two percent (2%). Only one percent (1%) would prefer some other candidate and six percent (6%) more are undecided.
This is the first caucus survey conducted entirely after last week’s GOP debate on foreign policy. Cain also recently fumbled a response to the administration’s actions in Libya.
While the top three candidates’ support numbers are similar to what they were in October, the candidates themselves have changed. At that point, Cain was on top with 28%, Romney picked up 21% and Paul came in third with 10%. Gingrich only drew nine percent (9%) support at that time, still slightly below where Cain is now.
Just after Perry officially entered the GOP race, he led Iowa in September with 29% of the vote while Bachmann was second with 18%. In August, Bachmann and Romney were essentially tied for the lead with Perry in fourth place.
Thirty-eight percent (38%) of Iowa GOP caucus voters are now certain of their vote and don’t expect to change their minds, up from 32% in mid-October. Of those voters who are certain, 30% pick Gingrich, 21% prefer Romney, 16% like Cain and 13% support Paul.
The survey of 700 Likely Iowa Republican Caucus Participants was conducted on November 15, 2011 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 4 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.
Ron Paul, while placing fourth overall, is also the candidate Iowa voters least want to see win the nomination. Eighteen percent (18%) hold name Paul as the least favorite candidate followed closely by Bachmann at 15%. Thirteen percent (13%) don’t want to see Romney or Huntsman grab the nomination, while 11% would like to see Cain miss the nod. Only eight percent (8%) name Gingrich as the candidate they least want to see win.
If their favorite candidate does not win the nomination, 77% of Iowa caucus-goers say they’d still vote for the GOP candidate. Twelve percent (12%) would vote for Obama. If Romney wins the nomination, 32% would consider voting for a third-party candidate, with 16% who would be Very Likely to do so.
Only 73% of Romney voters say they’d vote for the GOP candidate if their man does not win the nomination. Among supporters of Gingrich, Cain, and Perry, nine-out-of-ten are committed to voting for the party nominee.
Ninety percent (90%) of Tea Party activists will vote for whoever the party nominates. However, just 69% of non-Tea Party members express that much loyalty to the GOP.
In Iowa, Gingrich and Romney are seen as the most qualified to be president. Seventy-six percent (76%) say Gingrich is qualified while 71% say that of the former governor. Paul and Perry are viewed as qualified by 51%, while 47% say that of Cain and Santorum. Only 44% think Bachmann is qualified to be Commander in Chief, while even fewer (33%) say that of Huntsman. Nationwide, Romney is still viewed as the most qualified for the White House.
Seventy percent (70%) of Iowa caucus-goers say that every one of the GOP candidates would make a better president than Obama. Twenty-four percent (24%) disagree.