Romney Leads Among Iowa Republicans, Cain And Palin Tied For Second

The battle of Iowa is beginning with Mitt Romney in the lead, but Herman Cain and Sarah Palin aren't far behind.

Mitt Romney is at the top in the first poll of Iowa Republicans since Mike Huckabee dropped out, but Herman Cain and Sarah Palin are not far behind:

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.

Not surprisingly, Romney is strongest among centrist Republicans while Iowa’s evangelical/social conservative voters are dividing themselves among the remaining candidates:

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%.

It’s worth keeping in mind that conventional wisdom says that its the socially conservative voters who are more likely to be committed enough to show up and go through the long caucus process on a cold night in February, so Romney’s biggest concern may be keeping up enthusiasm among his supporters.

This is only the first snapshot, of course, but it does provide a few things to keep an eye on going forward. For one thing, there’s definitely been a Herman Cain surge since the May debate and his formal entry into the race, how long will that last, especially when someone like Michele Bachmann gets into the race? For another, Sarah Palin would be a strong player as soon as she would get into the race if she ran, but she is by no means a prohibitive favorite among Iowa GOPers. Third. Mitt Romney continues to benefit from the presence of so many candidates attractive to the socially conservative voters in Iowa, will that last, or will they start to gravitate toward one candidate? Finally, if Palin doesn’t run what happens to her 15%?

The Ames Straw Poll comes up in August, and that will be a major (if not entirely accurate) test of candidate support. Between now and then, I’m sure we’ll see several more polls. So, as always, stay tuned, because the race is actually starting to heat up now.

 

 

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds 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. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. jukeboxgrad says:

    Something I find interesting is the strong overlap between Palinism and birtherism. If the choice is just Romney and Palin, the non-birther result is 63/31. The birther result is 34/53. That’s a big swing.

    (See p. 16 of the full results.)

  2. Patrick T. McGuire says:

    And, once again, there are polls and there are polls.

    It’s going to be fun to see how long everyone can ignore Cain.

  3. TG Chicago says:

    Patrick, did you see the headline of the PPP story Doug linked to?

    Romney leads in Iowa, Cain surging

    He is not being ignored. (Nor should he be)

  4. TG Chicago says:

    (That said, the photo composite at the top of the page really should be updated to remove Daniels and Barbour and add Cain. Maybe Perry and Giuliani as well.)

  5. PD Shaw says:

    I’ll predict that Romney gets roughly the same 25% of the vote in Iowa that he got in 2008. He’ll lose some over Obamacare; he’ll gain some that voted for other establishment Republicans last time (McCain & Thompson).

    Whether or not he wins will largely depend on what the other 75% do.

  6. ml says:

    Romney, Palin, and Cain will not get the nominee in 2012. PPP is a liberal polls and it is located in Raleigh, N.C.

  7. mattb says:

    @Patrick wrote:

    And, once again, there are polls and there are polls.

    It’s going to be fun to see how long everyone can ignore Cain.

    Ok, serious question… will Cain be the “Ron Paul” of 2012? This post seems verbatim the type that were circulating around this time in 2007. And the claims that the mainstream media (including Fox) are shutting Cain out remind me a lot of comments made then by Paul supporters…

  8. James in LA says:

    Cain suffers from the same disease that plagues all present GOP contenders: the demand for an increasingly exclusive series of unreasonable litmus tests for membership in a coalition that is shrinking by the hour. For example, he will not appoint muslims to government positions while not knowing what “right of return” means in the context of the Middle-East peace process. His language is angry and exclusionary, at once lecturing and hectoring. He does not unite.

    Until my conservative friends put forward the plan to woo back the voters they have spent decades and millions of dollars demonizing, votes they absolutely now must have to win, to 40 more years of political wandering they doomed. Call it the “race card” if you must. Call it a cherry red fire engine for all I care. The coming demographic wall is coming no matter HOW it’s labeled.

    Arriving via landslide next Fall.

  9. Patrick T. McGuire says:

    @Mattb:

    Ok, serious question… will Cain be the “Ron Paul” of 2012? This post seems verbatim the type that were circulating around this time in 2007. And the claims that the mainstream media (including Fox) are shutting Cain out remind me a lot of comments made then by Paul supporters…

    First, today is much different than 2007 in that the internet plays a much bigger role today in providing news content to the masses, primarily because many people don’t trust the MSM for their news. Cain is a perfect example of this trend. He has had next to no exposure in the MSM and yet he is surging in the polls.

    And then, Cain is not Ron Paul. Paul is considered by most everyone as being on the fringe. His followers are extremely loyal but he can’t seem to grow that base. Cain however is someone who comes from a successful business background in a time when our economy is being flushed down the toilet. His business acumen will have a higher appeal than Paul’s libertarian philosophy.

    So I don’t see Herman Cain as being the new Ron Paul.

  10. TG Chicago says:

    I will agree with Patrick that the ratio of Pawlenty-to-Cain media coverage is way higher than the ratio of Pawlenty-to-Cain polling support. As much as I think Cain is a joke, if his campaign is gaining traction (and it certainly is getting more than Pawlenty’s), then he should get coverage.

    Anybody have an explanation for this? Is it simply that beltway media types have decreed that Pawlenty is serious and Cain is not, the polls be damned? Does Cain just not have enough friends in the Washington cocktail party circuit?

  11. I notice that a number of candidates who have been very public about their support for ethanol subsidies are polling far better in Iowa than nationally. So much for the vaunted Republican commitment to cutting government spending.

  12. Patrick T. McGuire says:

    Anybody have an explanation for this? Is it simply that beltway media types have decreed that Pawlenty is serious and Cain is not, the polls be damned? Does Cain just not have enough friends in the Washington cocktail party circuit?

    There are those who espouse the idea that the media will only give coverage to those who they believe can be beaten by Obama and they ignore those who they see as a real threat.

  13. mattb says:

    First, today is much different than 2007 in that the internet plays a much bigger role today in providing news content to the masses, primarily because many people don’t trust the MSM for their news.

    Sorry… calling BS on that.

    At best, the internet, as you imagine, it is playing a greater role in reaching the politically engaged, who in turn are admittedly the ones who are voting in the primaries and responding to these poles.

    That, btw was true of Ron Paul, at least in terms of internet response to polls. He always polled higher in internet polls (like the one you linked to) than in the “real world” (in fact, didn’t he “win” a Fox News “who won the Republican Debate poll?” — something that led Fox to cease the post debate polling practices?).

    If, when Iowa and New Hampshire roll around, Cain is still in the race and places highly, I’ll post a public mea culpa and cop to being wrong. But until then, I have a hard time believing that 2012 will be the year where “the internet changes everything” in terms of the republican primary process.

  14. TG Chicago says:

    There are those who espouse the idea that the media will only give coverage to those who they believe can be beaten by Obama and they ignore those who they see as a real threat.

    Sure, but that’s silly. Anybody can be beaten by Obama. Cain most certainly could be beaten by Obama.

    Do you think Carol Mosely Braun got minimal coverage in the 2004 race because she was such a threat to Bush? No, it was because she was perceived to have no constituency to speak of. That’s what the media thinks about Cain, too, even though polls clearly show that to be untrue.

    Personally, I think it’s because Cain doesn’t poll well in their inner beltway circles. Who are they going to believe: actual Republican primary voters or their insider connections?