Tracking Iowa

Our last Iowa test came just after Herman Cain‘s past problems surfaced, but before many details or additional accusers were exposed. Since then, most of the other Republican candidates have plodded through the Hawkeyes’ cornfields and watched as Newt Gingrich quietly ascended back up the slippery rungs of the nation’s political ladder.

Those who predicted Gingrich’s demise months ago have had to eat a bit of crow lately as the former House Speaker maintained a long self-induced binge of measured presence. While few question Gingrich’s keen intellect, even fewer believed he could control his penchant for occasional outbursts that pin the needle on the Bizarro-meter.  Sure enough, those waiting for him to pop off yet another verbal grenade jumped ugly on his “get a bath, then get a job” quote concerning the Occupy Wall Street movement. But that throw-away line threw a little red meat into the corner of the True Believers who were already starting to rally behind their newly awakened hero.

Gingrich followed his snarky comment against the Occupy Movement with statements about immigration that infuriated some of his staunchest supporters–especially since he poked many in his own party in the eye by saying:

“I don’t see how the party that says it’s the party of the family is going to adopt an immigration policy which destroys families that have been here a quarter century.”

His so-called soft-on-immigration views set up a blur of Tweets, texts, blogs and moans. A top staffer for Iowa’s Republican Governor Terry Branstad tweeted that Gingrich “did himself significant harm tonight on immigration among caucus and primary voters,” and his opponents tried to pile on. But as the press (and some supporters) pointed out, Newt’s stance on immigration–while evolving–has a consistency of theme and thought. And many of those who disagree with him on that issue gave him a pass for both his forthrightness and reasoned approach. The presidential primary’s perennial bridesmaid, Mitt Romney, tried to get some traction on the issue, but had to answer questions about his own flip-floppish background on the issue. Still, Romney’s assertion that Gingrich’s position on amnesty would serve as a magnet for illegal immigration was oft quoted and paraphrased by many and undoubtedly serves to provide spice to a fairly mundane political debate horizon.

Whether Gingrich to can survive the ongoing Whack-a-Mole game being played in the Republican primary is anyone’s guess. But as the following results show, he’s surging for now:

ALL VOTERS13%7%29%4%11%5%13%5%13%
Type of Poll: Automated
Date of Poll: 11/28/2011
Participants: 962 GOP voters
Margin of Error: ± 3.16%

Although we suspect these results represent more of a spike than a lasting spread, there is no doubt that Gingrich has a strong lead in Iowa for now. However, Newt needs to look no further that Herman Cain’s numbers in this poll to see how quickly the earth can shift in politics.

Our belief that these results may represent a flick in the measurement gauge will be tested when we go back into Iowa in a week or so. In the meantime, we’ll see how well Gingrich endures as the pin cushion du jour.


NOTE: This poll was paid for by We Ask America. The information has not been shared with any public official, candidate, cause or campaign.

Iowa: Cain/Newt

GOP presidential hopeful Herman Cain certainly has had better weeks.  Just as he gained traction and broke through the Republican candidate clutter, news surfaced of a decade-old sexual harassment problem. While we still don’t know the details, Cain and his campaign staff flubbed their response badly by coming up with dizzying array of replies. Yet, Cain remains strong in national polls–perhaps an indication of the disdain many in the Right have for the national media and they way the story seemed to ooze out from another campaign, not the alleged victims.

With Iowa’s caucuses looming ever closer, we thought this would be a good time to go back into the Heartland to see if those clear-eyed, corn-fed Iowa voters reflect the national trend to embrace Cain while the facts of the accusations remain just out of reach. So, we asked 864 Iowans who told us they planned to participate in a GOP caucus this simple question:

[box type=”info”] If your Republican caucus were held today, for whom would you vote?[/box]

Here are the responses:

Iowa: GOP Presidential

ALL VOTERS11%22%18%2%11%4%15%3%14%

Iowa Republicans, like the rest of the nation, seem to be standing by Cain…at least until more facts come out. We found it interesting, though, that Newt Gingrich continues to claw his way up through the pack to the point where he is now just behind frontrunner Cain. Gingrich, whose intellect is just as impressive as his ability to make you forget about it when he spews incredibly wild statements, has been methodically rising up the ranks the last few weeks by staying on message and drafting behind the frontrunner’s bumpy ride. And Mitt Romney–the candidate pundits most often mention as the ultimate winner–just can’t seem to break through the logjam.

If Cain’s problems continue to grow, we may see Gingrich surge ahead here to take the lead. But given Newt’s penchant for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, could Iowa finally give Romney the boost he’s needs to make the pundits’ consensus winner land on top?

There’s LOTS of time left here, and the jockeys are just now going to the whip. We think the smart move here is to expect the unexpected.

Type of Poll: Automated
Date of Poll: 11/6/2011
Participants: 864 GOP voters
Margin of Error: ± 3.33%


NOTE: This poll was paid for by We Ask America. The information has not been shared with any public official, candidate, cause or campaign.