Consensus: Romney

Our last presidential tracking poll in Iowa mirrors what most others are showing in their polling: Mitt Romney may be finally breaking through the clutter. And while Romney’s detractors will undoubtedly snort in derision about his lackluster numbers in the head-to-head category, it gets more interesting when we asked them: “No matter who you support, which candidate do you think will ultimately be the GOP candidate for president?”

First , here are the top-line results from our December 29, 2011 poll of 889 Iowa voters who confirmed they plan to participate in a Republican caucus. The first column is the normal head-to-head results, while the second column shows who the poll participants think will ultimately prevail:

CandidatePersonal Support Ultimate Winner
Bachmann12%8%
Gingrich13%13%
Huntsman4%2%
Paul14%11%
Perry10%8%
Romney24%39%
Santorum17%9%
Undecided7%8%

While many in the media seem to be focusing on the move up the food chain by former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum and the falling numbers for the last flavor-of-the-day Ron Paul, Romney seems finally to be breaking through as Iowa Republicans get closer to Caucus Day. Perhaps more important is the fact that 39 percent of all poll participants believe that Romney will ultimately be the flag carrier for the GOP in the fall.

Let’s see how each candidate’s supporters responded to the “who will ultimately win” question in the crosstab below. (It can be a little confusing reading this…here’s an example: reading left to right, the first row indicates that 51% of the people who say they will support Michelle Bachmann in a caucus believe that she will indeed be the ultimate winner, while 5 percent of those will vote for her believe that Newt Gingrich will ultimately win, and 2 percent think Huntsman will win…and so on.) Here’s the table:

 Ultimate Winner
Personal Choice
(below)
BachmannGingrichHuntsmanPaulPerryRomneySantorumUncertain
Bachmann51%5%2%8%6%18%4%5%
Gingrich4%72%1%2%3%12%2%5%
Huntsman5%15%24%5%5%46%0%0%
Paul3%6%2%61%2%21%1%4%
Perry7%6%0%2%56%17%2%9%
Romney0%0%0%2%1%91%0%3%
Santorum2%6%1%5%2%29%47%7%
Uncertain5%2%2%0%9%25%2%6%

Of course, the madcap Iowa caucus system offers lots of chances for rapid ascent and descent–and bad weather can improve the prospects of those candidates with good corn-fed organizations…like Ron Paul. Plus, time will certainly tell whether the newly found popularity of Santorum will be lasting or not.

But maybe–just maybe–Mitt Romney will finally begin to fulfill the destiny so many others have predicted for him.

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Remember that rounding each entry to the nearest whole number leads to some columns or rows not adding up exactly to 100%.

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

Thanks go to a reader who pointed out that we incorrectly stated that we talked 889 Republicans for this poll. In reality, 889 people who said they would participate in a Republican Caucus answered the questions. That, as our reader pointed out, does not necessarily make them “Republicans.”

Down the Newt Chute

It’s becoming all too predictable.

As soon as a GOP presidential candidate gains traction in Iowa, the bright lights hit him/her and they melt down like a cheap candle. The latest to follow the pattern is, of course, Newt Gingrich. Just 15 days ago, we measured Newt with a robust 30 percent. But everyone—including the merry elves at We Ask America—warned that Gingrich could soon travail down the Newt Chute due to the cyclical habits exhibited by GOP frontrunners and the former Speaker’s penchant for provocative barbs.

Sure enough, Gingrich appears to be fading badly, but those who have dumped him seem to have spread their new affections more evenly than others have reported. While Ron Paul has picked up a bit more of Newt’s castoffs,  the field is starting to look like a real horse race. Here’s our latest numbers from last night and a tracking comparison of the last five polls we conducted in the Hawkeye State:

Type of Poll: Automated - Date of Poll: 12/20/2011 - Participants: 1,250 GOP voters - Margin of Error: ± 2.77%
 BachmannGingrichHuntsmanPaulPerryRomneySantorumUncertain
ALL VOTERS15%16%4%19%11%18%9%8%
GENDER
Female14%13%4%18%11%20%8%11%
Male15%18%4%20%12%17%9%5%
AGE BRACKET
18-2450%8%3%18%8%5%5%3%
25-3426%13%10%21%15%5%3%8%
35-4411%23%2%30%11%14%7%4%
45-5414%13%5%24%8%14%13%10%
55-6412%18%3%21%8%19%10%8%
65+11%16%3%14%15%26%7%8%


TRACKER:

CandidateAug. 16*Nov. 6Nov. 28Dec. 5Dec. 20
Michelle Bachmann17%11%13%13%15%
Herman Cain5%22%7%N/AN/A
Newt Gingrich5%18%29%30%16%
Jon Huntsman1%2%4%3%4%
Ron Paul8%11%11%14%19%
Rick Perry29%4%5%7%11%
Mitt Romney15%15%13%16%18%
Rick Santorum4%3%5%4%9%
Uncertain9%14%13%12%8%

The results for Ron Paul in last night’s poll may actually be a couple of points better than it shows here among the general electorate due to his strength in the 35-44 & 45-54 age brackets, but the Iowa caucuses skew older so we’re not ready to grant him the Clear Leader Status yet. However, Paul reportedly is the only candidate who has the ground troops to put a live body in each of the 1,700+ Iowa precincts…an impressive feat to say the least. In addition, Congressman Paul has been among the most consistent performers in Iowa and elsewhere. Combine those facts with the quirkiness of Iowa caucus system and it’s impossible to not put him at the top of the heap for now.

But perhaps Paul would be better off NOT being looked at as the Big Kahuna given the fate of the last few players who occupied the top of the leader board. Like the Greek legend of Icarus, every Republican who flies too close to the sun in an attempt to escape the surly bonds of the pack ends up melting his/her wings in the blazing heat of the sun.

With President Barack Obama reportedly regaining some lost ground, can the Republicans finally find someone who can take the heat?

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*Note: the August 16 Iowa poll included 7% for Sarah Palin while she was still rumored to be in the running. You can view our previous posts on Iowa here, herehere and here.

Cain Train Offload

As the weight of accusations of harassment and infidelity (and/or serving as a human ATM for female friends) piled up for Herman Cain, his decision to pull the plug on his presidential campaign was no surprise. But what would it mean for the field of GOP hopefuls in Iowa?

Not that much, as it turns out.

We asked 970 Iowa Republicans who said they would participate in the January 3rd Caucus who they backed as part of our ongoing tracking in the Hawkeye state. Here’s what they said:

 BachmannGingrichHuntsmanPaulPerryRomneySantorumUncertain
ALL VOTERS13%30%3%14%7%16%4%12%
GENDER
Female14%27%3%14%6%18%5%14%
Male12%33%4%15%7%16%3%9%
AGE BRACKET
18-2440%16%4%17%4%4%0%4%
25-3431%21%8%13%5%8%3%5%
35-4410%29%5%6%0%19%0%13%
45-548%28%2%18%3%8%8%10%
55-6416%38%3%8%4%14%5%14%
65+8%33%2%8%9%16%4%15%
Type of Poll: Automated
Date of Poll: 12/5/2011
Participants: 970 GOP voters
Margin of Error: ± 3.15%

 

And here’s a comparison of all the recent polls we’ve done in Iowa:

CandidateAug. 16*Nov. 6Nov. 28Dec. 5
Michelle Bachmann17%11%13%13%
Herman Cain5%22%7%N/A
Newt Gingrich5%18%29%30%
Jon Huntsman1%2%4%3%
Ron Paul8%11%11%14%
Rick Perry29%4%5%7%
Mitt Romney15%15%13%16%
Rick Santorum4%3%5%4%
Uncertain9%14%13%12%

*Note: the August 16 Iowa poll included 7% for Sarah Palin while she was still rumored to be in the running. You can view our previous posts on Iowa here, here and here.

Whether or not Newt Gingrich will maintain his lead or–as conventional beltway wisdom whispers–melt in the bright, hot lights of being the frontrunner, only time will tell. In the meantime, bridesmaid Mitt Romney must be wondering when the bells will ring for him.