The former Godfather’s CEO Hermann Cain received 23% of the vote it means he has gained 13% since the first Iowa Poll of the caucus cycle, held in late June. His rise is very significant, considering him spending little time in Iowa recently. The last time he was campaigning here on Aug. 13 during the Iowa straw poll, where he took fifth place.
“Iowans seem to be saying ‘we’ve tried politicians, it’s time to shift gears and try a CEO to run our country.’ The more desperate our country’s financial situation, the more voters are looking for someone from the business world who can turn this ship around,” said Steve Grubbs, Cain’s Iowa state chairman.
Mitt Romney turned out to be the runner-up with 22% of likely caucus goers. Neither has he spent a lot of time in the state: Romney has been here just three times this year, nevertheless he still has a huge army of supporters he got during his first presidential bid four years ago.
In the Iowa poll Congressman Ron Paul from Texas is the only other candidate in double digits, he runs in third place with 12 % of the vote. Then comes Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, winner of the Iowa straw poll, has lost her former popularity. In June she had support of 22 % of potential voters, letting poll leader Romney ahead just by one percentage point. She has dropped to 4th place and 8 percent in the new poll.
Texas Governor Rick Perry tied with former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich for fifth place with 7 percentage points. We would remind you that Perry was not yet a candidate when the June poll was conducted. But he rushed to the top of national polls soon after he entered the race in August. But after a number of criticized debate performances, he has seen his popularity wane.
Rick Santorum, former Pennsylvania Sen., has gave more consideration and time to Iowa than any other candidate, visiting almost all Iowa’s counties, but getting only 5 percentage points he is definitely not in the lead.
Without any surprise former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, who is not campaigning in Iowa, gets only 1 percent. “You always look at these polls like they predict the future, and all they do is measure the noise of the last two weeks,” a GOP strategist says. Nevertheless, right now the main race is between Cain and Romney.
The Des Moines Register’s Iowa Poll is the nation’s longest continuously running newspaper poll, and it has asked Iowans about their caucus preferences since the 1980s. The Register and its current pollster Ann Selzer gained further acclaim four years ago when their final pre-caucus survey was the only public poll to show Barack Obama with a wide lead over Hillary Clinton and John Edwards. It was also the only poll to accurately forecast the “dramatic influx” of first-time caucus-goers that helped propel Obama to his eventual Iowa victory.
Because of the very low turnout of eligible adults to the Iowa Caucuses, however, all past polling of likely caucus-goers has been notoriously volatile. Although the Register poll accurately forecast Obama’s win four years ago, its October poll conducted just three months earlier showed Obama running in third place, seven percentage points behind Clinton. Thus, with more than 10 weeks still remaining before the 2012 caucus, caution is in order.
The Register conducted telephone interviews Oct. 23 to Oct. 26 with 400 registered Republicans and independents who indicated they would definitely or probably attend the Republican Caucuses in early January. They report a margin of sampling error for the survey of +/- 4.9 percent.
The Register reports, for example, that 74 percent of likely Iowa Republican caucus-goers “currently have no first choice or could be persuaded to switch their first choice.” The poll also shows “serious vulnerabilities” for Romney among strong conservatives and those most likely to attend the caucus. Cain leads Romney by a 27 to 10 percent margin among those who say they definitely plan to vote in the caucus and by “more than 3 to 1” among those who identify themselves as very conservative.
Finally, there’s an odd twist in the sampling of likely caucus-goers: As pollster Ann Selzer explains in a separate op-ed column, “Iowans 65 and older are the least likely of any age cohort in our poll to say they will attend the Republican caucus in January.” As such, those age 65 and older are just 14 percent of likely caucus-goers in the poll, although they constituted 27 percent of actual participants in the Republican caucus four years ago, according to the television network entrance poll.
That shift may boost Cain’s standing in the current poll. It finds that Cain enjoys his biggest margins not only among conservative voters and Tea Party supporters, but also among those ages 35 to 54. The Register conducted follow-up interviews with older voters and found further anecdotal evidence of a lack of enthusiasm about the leading candidates.
Selzer notes that the newspaper saw a similar disinterest among older voters in its June poll and speculates that this might be “an early signal of change,” like the surge of evangelical Christians in 1988 that “boosted Pat Robertson to second place” or the surge of first-time caucus-goers and independents that fueled Obama’s victory in 2008.
Yet she is cautious about whether the finding “represents a fundamental change” or “some sort of oddity that means very little.” It may signal a lower turnout or even “general disaffection” with politics among older Iowans. “We do not know if this trend will resurface,” Selzer writes. “We’ll know to look for such signs in coming polls.”[Via Huff Post]