Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Romney leads in Iowa, Cain surging

Mitt Romney has the lead in PPP's first Iowa poll since Mike Huckabee and Donald Trump exited the race, but with six different candidates polling in double digits it's clear this thing is wide open.

Romney polls at 21%. Sarah Palin and Herman Cain are tied for second at 15%. Newt Gingrich is 4th with 12%, Michele Bachmann 5th with 11%, Tim Pawlenty 6th with 10%, Ron Paul 7th with 8%, and Jon Huntsman 8th with 0% (only one respondent to the poll picked him.) 8% said they supported someone else or were undecided.

Cain and Palin have been the biggest beneficiaries in Iowa of Huckabee and Trump's decisions not to run. Cain is at 15% now despite not even having been included on our last poll. Palin's gained 7 points in the six weeks since our last poll compared to 5 point gains for Romney, Pawlenty, and Bachmann, a 3 point gain for Gingrich, and a 2 point bump for Paul.

Romney's leading in Iowa based on his strength with centrist and center right Republican voters. With moderates he's at 34% to 16% for Palin, 13% for Paul, and 11% for Gingrich. With 'somewhat conservative' voters he's at 24% to 15% for Pawlenty, 13% for Palin, and 12% for Gingrich and Cain. His strength with those two groups outweighs his continuing weakness with the furthest right group of voters in the state, which constitute the largest segment of the Republican electorate at 41%. With those 'very conservative' folks Romney can muster only a fourth place finish at 13%. Cain and Palin tie for the lead with that group of voters at 19% followed by Bachmann at 15%.

There's been a lot of speculation that the Republican race could eventually come down to Romney and a single more conservative alternative. Although this will likely not be the case when the voting in Iowa happens we tested several head to head match ups between Romney and other GOP contenders to see how they would come out. Pawlenty may actually be the strongest contender to become the 'anti-Romney' as he ties him at 41%. Otherwise Romney leads- 48-41 over Palin, 46-38 over Bachmann, and 48-34 over Cain.

Pawlenty doesn't poll the strongest head to head among Romney among 'very conservative' voters- he leads by 17 compared to a 21 point lead for Palin and a 24 point advantage for Bachmann with that group. But with center right voters- those calling themselves 'somewhat conservative'- Romney leads Pawlenty by just a single point while he has a 19 point advantage over Palin and a 22 point lead over Bachmann with that group. What that says to me is that many Republicans are looking for someone more conservative than Romney but someone who isn't bound to get creamed in the general election the way Palin, Bachmann, and Cain probably would. That's very good news for Pawlenty if it ever plays itself out in real life.

We asked favorabilities for a laundry list of potential Republican candidates in Iowa, even if they weren't included in the horse race questions. Here's how they stack up sorted by net favorability:




Change from April Poll

Michele Bachmann



+1 (+36 at 49/13)

Jeb Bush



Not Included

Chris Christie



Not Included

Tim Pawlenty



-2 (+32 at 41/9)

Sarah Palin



-1 (+29 at 58/29)

Paul Ryan



Not Included

Rudy Giuliani



-5 (+23 at 48/25)

Mitt Romney



-13 (+30 at 55/25)

Herman Cain



+8 (+6 at 15/9)

Ron Paul



-25 (+38 at 55/17)

Rick Santorum



-5 (+16 at 27/11)

Rick Perry



Not Included

Newt Gingrich



-23 (+21 at 47/26)

Gary Johnson



-8 (-6 at 2/8)

Fred Karger



Not Included

Jon Huntsman



-13 (-3 at 5/8)

Buddy Roemer



-9 (-8 at 2/10)

Donald Trump



-29 (+1 at 41/40)

Observations on these numbers:

-No one is really becoming more popular with Iowa Republicans as they become better known except Herman Cain. His net favorability is up 8 points, no one else's is up more than a point.

-There's definitely room for a late entry by Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, or Paul Ryan. They're all a lot more popular than most of the actual candidates.

-Bachmann, Pawlenty, and Palin have all basically stayed in place for the last six weeks and that's good news for them given that Paul's down by 25 points, Gingrich is down by 23, and Huntsman and Romney are both down by 13. At least they're not headed in the wrong direction like a lot of their counterparts.

Full results here


Anonymous said...

I would love to see how poorly Palin polls with moderates & independents during this loony bus tour.

jpm said...


"PPP surveyed 481 usual Iowa Republican primary voters..."

Presumably you mean caucus participants?

Tom Jensen said...

Not filtering for caucus participants 7 months away from the vote.

vp said...

Fred Karger, an openly gay candidate running on a gay-rights platform, has better favorables in the Iowa Republican primary electorate than Huntsman?

Naman said...


I'd imagine, the short answer: not well.

I Am Iron Man said...

Very interesting. Your "head to head" polling makes me think this thing really is Romney's to lose. But perhaps there are still a lot of Republican voters who don't know he is the originator of "ObamaCare."

jpm said...

But there is no primary in Iowa. How can you survey Republican primary voters?

Anonymous said...

Looking forward to vote Ron Paul in 2012!

Dustin Ingalls said...

"But perhaps there are still a lot of Republican voters who don't know he is the originator of "ObamaCare.""

There are. Every time we've asked whether voters would support a candidate who supported a mandate at the state level, Romney either still leads or does very well even with the sizable group (always a plurality) that will not. That obviously suggests that he could be in further trouble when his record on that issue gets more exposure to voters who haven't paid attention yet. There will probably still be some who say they would not vote for such a candidate who will still vote for Romney because they're not single-issue voters and will forgive him for that if they don't like any of the other alternatives. But this could clearly be a damning issue that his opponents are sure to hammer him on from all sides.

BobDavis said...

Hey, "Anonymous," I thought Gov. Palin was supposed to be "stupid," and "an idiot" according to the lamestream media? If that's the case, why are they breaking their collective necks trying to keep up with her? You liberals are hilarious! You're absolutely scared to death of her--AREN'T YOU???

NRH said...

Oh yes, totally terrified of Palin. As soon as President LaRouche and President Ron Paul are done, there won't be anybody to stand in Palin's way.

Anonymous said...

I'll be voting for Ron Paul. Please poll me.

Anonymous said...

These Polls are balony. Ron Paul has my vote.

Anonymous said...

All this proves is that when the Obama media prints horrible things about a person 24/7/365 it has a negative effect on your polling rsults. That's why they do it.

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