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:

 
Bachmann
Cain
Gingrich
Huntsman
Paul
Perry
Romney
Santorum
Uncertain
ALL VOTERS13%7%29%4%11%5%13%5%13%
GENDER
Female13%7%28%3%9%6%12%5%18%
Male12%8%33%4%12%6%13%4%7%
AGE BRACKET
18-2454%4%12%0%17%4%4%0%4%
25-3444%10%10%3%13%5%8%3%5%
35-443%10%45%3%6%0%19%0%13%
45-547%12%30%3%18%3%8%8%10%
55-648%11%30%8%8%4%14%5%14%
65+8%4%34%3%8%9%16%4%15%
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.

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

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