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:
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:
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.
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.”