Mitt Romney Leads Survey of Iowa, Florida Republican Voters

Politics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 28, 2011   |   12:11PM   |   Washington, DC

Iowa is the first state that will kick off the Republican primary election for president next year and a new survey of voters there shows marked changed compared to August, when Michele Bachmann won the much-ballyhooed straw poll. Romney also leads in a new survey of Florida voters.

Now, Mitt Romney, the businessman and former Massachusetts governor who is running on a pro-life platform, leads among Republican voters in the Hawkeye State. Romney, in the new ARG poll has the support of 21 percent of GOP voters. The increased standing comes as Romney has performed well in three recent Republican debates and also seen his national polling numbers rise.

Bachmann, the pro-life congresswoman from Minnesota whose standing nationally has fallen since the entrance of pro-life Texas. Gov. Rick Perry, now places second with the support of 15 percent. Perry, who did not perform as strongly as expected in the debates, comes in third with the support of 14 percent. Ron Paul, the pro-life Texas congressman, placed fourth with 12 percent.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a pro-life advocate who impressed in recent polls, places 5th with the support of 8 percent, 6 percent of Iowa voters back pro-life businessman Herman Cain, 4 percent support Sarah Palin, the former Alaska governor who doesn’t appear likely to run, 2 percent support former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Sanctorum, who is pro-life, and 1 percent back pro-life former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, and former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer.

Some 15 percent of Republicans are undecided in the new survey, conducted by American Research Group.

Compared with ARG’s last survey in April, Bachmann saw her lead of 21 percent fall 6 points, Romney saw his share rise from 18 percent, Paul dropped from 14-12 percent, Gingrich held steady, and Cain rose from 2 to 6 percent. Huntsman dropped from 3 percent, Palin dropped from 11 percent and Santorum dropped from 5 percent.

Meanwhile, a new Public Policy Polling survey shows Romney ahead in Florida — with the results as follows: Romney 30%, Perry 24%, Gingrich 10%, Paul 8%, Cain 7%, Bachmann 6%.

“Perry’s led the Republican field in every Southern state that we’ve polled since he entered the Presidential race…until now,” the firm said of its survey. “Perry had a poor debate performance in Florida Thursday night and our results suggest that the negative coverage he received from that did hurt him some in the state.  We started this poll on Thursday night before the debate and in those interviews the race was neck and neck with Romney at 33% and Perry at 31%.”

“But in interviews done Friday-Sunday Romney’s lead expanded to double digits at 29-19.  More telling might be what happened to Perry’s favorability numbers after the debate- on Thursday night he was at 63/23 with Florida Republicans.  Friday-Sunday he was at 48/36.  Perry’s poor performance may or may not prove to be a game changer nationally but it definitely appears to have hurt his image in the key state where it occurred,” the firm continued.

The release of this new Iowa surveys follows a new national poll coming after the third Republican presidential debate last Thursday.

Perry is still at the top of the Republican list of presidential candidates despite turning in what most political observers believed was another lackluster debate performance. Still, the new CNN/ORC national poll finds Perry in front with the backing of 28 percent of Republican voters.

Romney comes in second with the support of 21 percent of Republicans, Newt Gingrich follows with the backing of 10 percent, Herman Cain enjoys the support of 7 percent, as does Ron Paul and Sarah Palin, who is not seeking the Republican nomination at this time. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota is at four percent, former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania receives three percent, and former Utah Gov. and ambassador to China Jon Huntsman is last at one percent.

Without Palin in the mix, the survey shows similar results: Perry would be at 30 percent, Romney 22%, Gingrich 11%, and the other candidates remain in single digits. The poll was conducted Friday through Sunday, after last Thursday’s debate in Orlando, Florida.