Paul leads Obama 42 percent to 35 percent among independent voters.
December 14, 2011
With less than a month before the Iowa caucus, GOP presidential candidate and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich has surged into the lead, but Texas Rep. Ron Paul is the only Republican candidate who could best President Obama, a new Iowa poll says.
According to the latest NBC/Marist poll, Gingrich is the first choice among 26 percent of Republican caucus-goers, followed by former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney with 18 percent and Paul with 17 percent.
The poll represents a dramatic shift in the race. In October, Romney led the field in Iowa with 26 percent, while Gingrich only received a paltry 5 percent of the vote.
With Herman Cain’s announcement on Saturday that he would suspend his campaign, the NBC/Marist poll predicted that Gingrich’s support will increase to to 28 percent, while Romney and Paul tie at 19 percent.
“As the roller coaster picks up speed in the month leading up to the Iowa caucus, Newt Gingrich has moved into the lead car,” said Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion, in a statement. “Hold on tight for any further twists and turns.”
However, the poll also says Paul is the candidate best suited to face Obama in an election.
Against Paul, 42 percent of registered voters in Iowa support Obama and the same number — 43 percent — support Paul. Paul’s popularity among independents could be a crucial advantage. Paul leads Obama 42 percent to 35 percent among independent voters, according to the poll, and he also attracts 15% of Iowa’s Democrats. Not to mention that 16 percent of voters were undecided.
Texas Rep. Ron Paul has surged to second place in a new Iowa poll of likely Republican caucus goers, just one percent behind former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, the current front-runner.
Paul has consistently placed in the top tier of Republican presidential candidates in recent Iowa polls. With Iowans heading to vote in only three weeks, Gingrich holds a razor-thin 22–21 lead.
The poll, conducted by Public Policy Polling, found weakening support for Gingrich among self-identified tea partiers, and a dramatic rise in Paul’s favorability rating.
“There are a lot of parallels between Paul’s strength in Iowa and Barack Obama’s in 2008 — he’s doing well with new voters, young voters, and non-Republican voters,” said PPP in an explanation of its poll’s findings.
Paul has taken aim at Gingrich with an ad alleging “serial hypocrisy” for changing his positions on a variety of issues, including health care and global warming. The ad also targeted him for accepting millions from Freddie Mac, and for calling a budget proposal from Wisconsin GOP Rep. Paul Ryan “right-wing social engineering.”
Gingrich’s favorability rating has declined 19 points among Iowans since last week.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney placed third in the poll, at 16 percent. He was followed by Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann at 11 percent, Texas Gov. Rick Perry at 9 percent, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum at 8 percent and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman at 5 percent.