Bachmann, Romney, Paul At The Top In New Iowa Poll

Scott Rasmussen’s first poll of Iowa GOP Caucus goers has some interesting results:

In the Iowa caucus race for the Republican presidential nomination, five candidates are in double digits, and many voters are open to changing their mind before caucus day arrives.

The first Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Iowa’s Likely Caucus Participants shows that Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann attracts 22% support, while former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney earn 21%. Just slightly behind is Texas Congressman Ron Paul at 16%, followed by Texas Governor Rick Perry at 12% and former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty at 11%.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich picks up five percent (5%) of the vote, businessman Herman Cain wins four percent (4%), and former U.S. Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman is at two percent (2%). Seven percent (7%) would prefer some other candidate. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Nationally, Romney, Perry, and Bachmann lead the pack.

Overall, just 28% of potential Iowa Caucus participants are absolutely certain of how they will vote, while the rest could change their mind. Among those who are certain of their vote, Ron Paul is on top at 27%.

Perhaps the most surprising thing here is that Romney, who has been perceived as having written Iowa off for the most part, it still very much in the hunt. Partly, of course, that’s due to name recognition and the fact that Iowans have been familiar with him since 2007. Nonetheless, Iowa Republicans are fairly conservative, and the fact that they still seem to have some support for Romney may be an indication that the “anti-Romney” sentiment that has become a part of the conventional wisdom’s explanation for Michele Bachmann’s surge may not be as strong as many have thought.

The other interesting factor is Ron Paul. He’s pulling much more support in polls than he was four years ago, he’s no longer viewed as the “kook” many dismissed him as in 2008, and he has a history of being able to mobilize supporters to come to straw poll events. Don’t be surprised if he comes in second or third, thus potentially embarrassing a candidate like Pawlenty.


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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. James Joyner says:

    I think Ron Paul is still viewed as a kook; he’s just no longer a novelty act.

  2. mattb says:

    Despite all the concerns about RiNOs, it seems to me that Republicans primary voters have — to one degree or another — always balanced “whose turn is it” and “electability” (See McCain in 2008). From that perspective it doesn’t seem odd that Romney would still be hanging in at the top — even in Iowa. Despite the histrionics of certain unnamed Democratic Sources, Bachmann remains a very tough sale on the national level.

    Second, If Bachmann drops out, its worth wondering where her 22% go. While some might head to Romney, I suspect that at least half migrate to Perry. At that point he all but catapults into the lead.

    What I’m really curious about is how badly Romney wants the nomination and how dirty he’s willing to be if Perry gets into the race. This seems like its Romney’s last bite at the apple. And so far he’s clearly taken the “I’m the undisputed leader” campaign strategy. Perry’s entrance changes all of that, possibly shutting down Romney’s forward momentum.

    And that may be the big silver lining for the Dems — that if it comes down to Romney and Perry, whom ever emerges the victor will come out of the process really bloody.

  3. Gustopher says:

    I think it’s hard to gauge the anti-Romney vote from that poll — if Texas secedes from the union tomorrow, and Perry is obviously out of the race, does his support go to Romney, Bachmann, Pawlenty, Cain?

    All we know right now is that 79% of those polled would rather not support Romney. They might be undecided, they might be willing to support Romney, or they might hate Romney with every fiber of their being.

    If Romney has actually written off Iowa, rather than just been perceived to write off Iowa, I would assume that his campaign has internal polls suggesting that he’s not going to rise much beyond the 21%.

  4. EddieInCA says:

    Bachmann/Perry 2012
    Because God Said So

  5. Yet another disillusioned pawn says:

    @EddieInCA: How do you know that God didn’t say it in a semitic language and it’s really Perry/Bachman 2012? That would seem to follow the scriptures better.