Poll: Romney Leads Republican Field in Iowa

Poll: Romney Leads Republican Field in Iowa

By Caitlin Huey-Burns - October 11, 2011

Mitt Romney has moved into the lead in the first-in-the-nation caucus state of Iowa, according to an NBC News-Marist poll released Tuesday.

The former Massachusetts governor attracts support from 26 percent of likely Iowa GOP caucus-goers. Former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain comes in second with 20 percent support. Texas Rep. Ron Paul places third with 12 percent. Texas Gov. Rick Perry's slide in the polls continues as he ties Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann with 11 percent.

While Romney and Cain run virtually neck-and-neck in Iowa, the latter holds a substantial lead among Tea Party supporters, who the survey finds make up half of likely caucus-goers, 31 percent to 15 percent. He leads Romney, 41-7, among those who say they "strongly" support the movement.

In New Hampshire, where these White House hopefuls will go head-to-head Tuesday night in a debate at Dartmouth College, Romney holds a commanding lead. The former governor of the neighboring state of Massachusetts attracts 45 percent of the support of likely primary voters. Cain and Paul tie for second place with 13 percent. Perry gets 7 percent, and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, whose presidential bid is riding on New Hampshire, garners 5 percent of the support.

Not only do both these states play a significant role in determining the White House nominee, they are also contested general election states. The poll finds President Obama’s approval ratings under water in both states. In Iowa, only 42 percent of registered voters approve of his job performance, and in New Hampshire, just 38 percent approve.

Despite his numbers in Iowa, Obama edges Romney there by three points, 43 percent to 40 percent. He leads Perry by nine points, 46 percent to 37 percent. Romney leads Obama, 49 percent to 40 percent, in New Hampshire. Obama leads Perry by six points in the Granite State.

The Iowa poll was conducted among 2,836 registered voters, including 371 likely GOP caucus-goers, from Oct. 3-5. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.8 percentage points. The sampling error for Republicans is plus or minus 5.1 percentage points.

During the same time frame, the New Hampshire poll was conducted among 2,218 total registered voters, including 691 likely Republican primary voters. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.1 percentage points. The sampling error for Republicans is plus or minus 3.7 percentage points. 

Caitlin Huey-Burns is a congressional reporter for RealClearPolitics. She can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @CHueyBurnsRCP.

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