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June 26, 2011

How About Some 2012 Speculation?

Tomorrow morning I'll put up the GOP contender straw poll again, just to see where you guys have moved over the past month. For now, let's take a look at the results of the first poll of likely Iowa caucus-goers.

Romney, the national front-runner and a familiar face in Iowa after his 2008 presidential run, attracts support from 23 percent of likely Republican caucus-goers. Bachmann, who will officially kick off her campaign in Iowa on Monday, nearly matches him, with 22 percent.


Former Godfather’s CEO Herman Cain, who has never held public office but has found a following among tea party supporters, comes in third, with 10 percent.

I think it's pretty amazing that Romney, who wrote off Iowa early, still manages to come out on top. I guess the ethanol bribe works. Indeed, Romney isn't even running ads in Iowa yet.

Now compare that to Pawlenty, who made a "politically gutsy" call to end ethanol subsidies. Pawlenty so far has spent 26 days campaigning in Iowa, was the first candidate to start airing TV ads in the state, and hired major state players to lead his Iowa team. He managed to scrape together 6 percent in this poll.

Pawlenty's 6 percent is notionally behind the walking dead campaigns of Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul, who are both at 7 percent, although it's well inside the poll's 5 percent margin of error. Rick Santorum (4 percent) and Jon Huntsman (2 percent) round out the poll.

The other thing to note is that this is really too early to be useful for more than anything except posturing. At this point in 2008, Certain Fuckin' Doomabee, who would go on to win the Iowa Caucuses, only polled at 4 percent compared to Romney's 30 percent. Keep in mind the poll's large margin of error and its finding that 69 percent of respondents say they're open to changing their minds.

For what it's worth, I don't think Santorum or Huntsman are going to win a Huckabee-style upset this time. Bachmann, in particular, looks exceptionally strong. She definitely benefited from a week of coverage as the undisputed winner of the first candidate debate and I bet she'll see another bounce because of this poll. When it wasn't pimping out Huntsman last week, the MBM talked up a battle between Romney and Pawlenty. Ignored but not unnoticed, Bachmann surged.

Note, they didn't poll for Rick Perry or Sarah Palin in the candidate question. Perry just got in it officially at the end of last week. Everyone is still waiting to see what Palin does, but my money says she's not running and so can safely be left out of these polls. They did, however, ask about Perry and Palin's favorables. Bachmann has the highest net favorability: plus-53 points. Perry had the next-highest at plus-35 points. Palin only has a plus-21 spread.

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posted by Gabriel Malor at 02:35 PM

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