A third straight poll in Iowa shows pro-life Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota leading and clearly becoming the front-runner in the state that leads off the Republican presidential campaign with a straw poll and caucus.
The new survey from Mason Dixon Polling and Research has 32 percent of Iowa Republicans saying Bachmann is their favorite Republican candidates and it, as two other polls did, had Romney coming in second place. The former Massachusetts governor, campaigning as a pro-life advocate, has the backing of 29 percent of Iowa GOP voters.
Bachmann was also at the top of two recent surveys by the American Research Group and the IowaRepublican.com web site. Three hundred likely Iowa GOP caucus goers were questioned by telephone from July 5-7 in the new mason Dixon poll and it has a sampling error of plus or minus 5.7 percent.
As was the case in another poll, pro-life former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty comes in third, moving up in the results from lower single digits to score the support of 7 percent of Iowa Republicans. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, who is also pro-life, fares fourth with the support of 6 percent in the Mason Dixon poll.
Each of the other candidates places in low single digits, including pro-life businessman Herman Cain, whose campaign seems to have sputtered in the face of losing staff in Iowa and New Hampshire and who took flack from some pro-life advocates for not signing the Susan B. Anthony List pro-life pledge.
The Iowa Republican shows Bachmann leading potential Iowa caucus-goers with 25 percent of the support of Republicans in the Midwestern state while Romney brings in 21 percent. It also showed Pawlenty, who has spent considerable time in Iowa at numerous local events, see his support rise in the Hawkeye State to 9 percent. That poll had pro-life Rep. Ron Paul getting 6 percent of the Republican vote, 4 percent going to pro-life former Speaker Newt Gingrich, pro-life former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum getting 2 percent, and pro-life former Utah Gov. John Huntsman getting one percent. The survey did not include either Sarah Palin, the pro-life former vice-presidential candidate, or pro-life Gov. Rick Perry of Texas — both of whom are considering joining the Republican contest.
That poll found Bachmann and Pawlenty also have the most favorable ratings of any of the GOP candidates — with Bachmann liked by 76 percent of Republicans and disliked by 11 percent for a total positive rating of 65 percent. Pawlenty has a 60-12 percent split, or 48 percent positive overall.
Cain gets a 54-12 (42 percent positive) rating, Romney a 66-25 (+41%) rating, Santorum a 45-13 (+32%) rating, and Paul a 49-37 (+12%) rating. Both Gingrich and Huntsman get negative ratings with Huntsman’s split at 38-52 (-12%) and Gingrich at 38-52 (-14%).
When the most attentive voters are surveyed — those most likely to vote in the caucus next year — Bachmann nets 32 percent to 18 percent for Romney, 12 for Cain, 8 for Pawlenty, 5 for Paul, 4 for Gingrich and two percent each for Santorum and Huntsman.
“Of those who said they supported Huckabee in 2008, Bachmann got 28 percent. She did even better with those who supported Fred Thompson by garnering 40 percent of his former supporters,” the Iowa Republican noted.