Saturday, October 29, 2011

Poll Watch: Des Moines Register/Selzer & Co. Iowa 2012 GOP Caucus Survey

Des Moines Register/Selzer & Co. Iowa 2012 GOP Caucus Survey
  • Herman Cain 23% (10%)
  • Mitt Romney 22% (23%)
  • Ron Paul 12% (7%)
  • Michele Bachmann 8% (22%)
  • Newt Gingrich 7% (7%)
  • Rick Perry 7%
  • Rick Santorum 5% (4%)
  • Jon Huntsman 1% (2%)
Second Choice
  • Herman Cain 19% (10%)
  • Newt Gingrich 13% (5%)
  • Mitt Romney 11% (10%)
  • Michele Bachmann 6% (18%)
Among Tea Party Supporters
  • Herman Cain 27%
  • Mitt Romney 15%
  • Ron Paul 13%
  • Michele Bachmann 10%
Among Born-Again Christians
  • Herman Cain 26%
  • Michele Bachmann 11%
  • Rick Santorum 9%
  • Mitt Romney 9%
  • Rick Perry 7%
  • Jon Huntsman 0%
Very Conservative
  • Herman Cain 24%
  • Michele Bachmann 12%
  • Newt Gingrich 11%
        Inside the numbers:
        Fifty-nine percent (59%) of likely caucusgoers say they could be persuaded to support another candidate. Fifteen percent have no first choice right now. Just a quarter who have a first choice say their minds are made up.

        Men give Herman Cain his first-place showing: 26 percent prefer him; Mitt Romney gets 18 percent. (For women, it is almost an exact flip; they prefer Romney 27 percent to Cain’s 17 percent.)

        Mitt Romney is second only to Michele Bachmann as the candidate likely caucusgoers like least. He is most disliked by those who describe themselves as very conservative (30 percent).

        More tea party supporters (19 percent) pick Romney as their least liked than any other candidate.

        Romney is strongest among those 65 and older, but they’re an iffy voting pool this year, less committed to caucusing than they’ve been in the past.

        In contrast, only 3 percent name Cain as their least-liked candidate.

        Romney earns the support of just 10 percent of those who say they definitely plan to vote in the caucuses (Cain is at 27 percent). And Cain dominates Romney among those who identify themselves as very conservative, by more than 3 to 1.

        However, Romney is the favorite of women, seniors, first-time caucusgoers and those who call themselves moderates or liberals. He also leads among those whose minds are made up.

        Cain leads by at least a 5-point margin among men, the most conservative voters, tea party supporters, born-again Christians and those ages 35 to 54.

        Another factor favoring Cain over Romney: More than half of likely caucusgoers think a representative of the core conservative base can win the White House in 2012. Only a third see a need to select a more moderate candidate with appeal to independents.

        Romney is more popular than any other candidate with the under-35 age group. He’s the first choice for 27 percent of them, compared to 21 percent for Herman Cain and 18 percent for Ron Paul. He also is top choice among seniors, with 33 percent. Cain is at 15 percent, his poorest showing among any age group.

        Among those who say their minds are made up, Romney gets 24 percent, tying with Paul for first.

        Born-again Christians make up 37 percent of the poll. Similarly, of the 45 percent of respondents who consider themselves very conservative on social issues, Cain leads the field with 24 percent, again by a 2 to 1 margin over Bachmann.

        Those who definitely intend to caucus don’t like Mitt Romney much. This group is 38 percent of those polled, but Romney is the first choice of just 10 percent of them. Cain is the strongest among definite attenders with 27 percent.

        Seventy-one percent (71%) of likely Republican caucusgoers say business experience is more important than having held elective office. Twenty-two percent say time in elective office is more critical.

        Among those who say business experience makes the best presidential resume, Cain leads Romney, 29 percent to 22 percent. Among those who think experience in office is more important, it’s Romney with 24 percent, and Perry at 16 percent.

        In the caucuses four years ago, an entrance poll showed that 27 percent of voters were 65 and older. But that age group makes up only 14 percent of this poll.

        A disproportionate number of older Iowans reached by the Register’s pollster said they won’t caucus this year, so they didn’t meet the qualifications to participate in the poll. And among those who did qualify, many are tentative about their plans to caucus.

        Among likely caucusgoers 65 and older, Romney is the most popular. Fully 33 percent of this age group picked Romney as their first choice.

        Least popular with seniors is Minnesota’s Michele Bachmann, with 2 percent support. Texas’s Rick Perry is the top choice for only 3 percent of those 65 and older.

        Nine percent (9%) of likely caucusgoers say they like Newt Gingrich the least, a better ranking than Michele Bachmann (16 percent), Mitt Romney (14 percent), Ron Paul (12 percent) and Rick Perry (11 percent).

        Were something to arise during the campaign to lessen Herman Cain’s appeal, Romney would be the biggest beneficiary — but Gingrich is next. He would get 23 percent of Cain defectors.

        Ron Paul does better with younger voters than older people — he’s the first choice for 18 percent of those under 35. But it’s Mitt Romney who wins this age group, with 27 percent. Cain gets 21 percent.
          Survey of 400 likely Republican caucus-goers was conducted October 23-26, 2011. The margin of error is +/- 4.9 percentage points.  Results from the poll conducted June 19-22, 2011 are in parentheses.

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