Who’s ahead in the race for the Republican presidential nomination will be clearer by the time the sun sets on the Iowa GOP Straw Poll today.
However, as the sun rises over Ames, most of the horse-race polling on the GOP search for a challenger to President Barack Obama puts Mitt Romney in front with Rick Perry passing Michele Bachmann.
In a CNN/ORC International survey released Aug. 11, Perry, who has yet to officially enter the race, was trailing Romney, the former Massachusetts governor 17 percent to 15 percent, but well ahead of Bachmann’s 12 percent. Sarah Palin, another high-profile Republican who hasn’t formally entered the race, received the support of 15 percent of the 1,008 adults polled by telephone Aug. 5-7. The poll has a 3 percent margin of error.
A Fox News poll conducted Aug. 7-10 had those candidates or potential candidates finishing in the same order, but Romney with a much wider lead. In that poll of 904 people with land lines or cell phones, Romney polled 21 percent, Perry 13 percent, Palin 8 percent and Minnesota Rep. Bachmann 7 percent – the same as Rudy Giuliani.
RealClearPolitics.com’s rolling average of polls has Romney up by 5 percent over the rest of the field. That includes a Pew Research poll in late July that has him leading Perry 21 percent to 12 percent with Bachmann and Palin at 11 percent.
The polling results have been fairly consistent across the board with results varying depending on who is included. For example, a USA Today poll showed Romney 24 percent and Perry 17 percent. However, Texas Rep. Ron Paul finished third 14 percent to Bachmann’s 13 percent.
A pair of polls done to determine who Iowa straw poll participants will back show a much closer contests between Romney and Bachmann.
A poll for TheIowaRepublican.com in June showed Bachmann leading Romney 25 percent to 21 percent with Tim Pawlenty and Herman Cain tied with 9 percent.
More recently, Rasmussen Reports tested likely Iowa GOP primary voters. Again, Bachman edged out Romney 22 percent to 21 percent. Paul was third with 16 percent. Perry was at 12 percent and Pawlenty at 11. According to Rasmussen, 18 percent were undecided.
With Romney choosing to skip the straw poll it seems unlikely he will repeat his 2007 first-place finish. That was overshadowed by Mike Huckabee’s come-from-nowhere second-place finish with 18.1 percent.
Rounding out the 2007 field:
A Magellan Strategies Iowa caucus poll done about six weeks ago produced these results:
To keep the results of the straw poll in perspective, consider that a week after the 2007 straw poll, Giuliani maintained his lead in the national polls and McCain went on to become the party’s nominee.
And according to Yahoo!, Bachmann and Perry are leading a 237 percent increase in online searches for the GOP candidates the two main candidates topping the charts in online searches.
Yahoo! said searches are up 237 percent this week surrounding “Rick Perry 2012” and 129 percent for “Jon Huntsman.” Bachman is leading the charge, stirring up the online world with searches related to her glamour shot on the front cover of Newsweek, her husband, her biography and even what she looks like in her bikini, Yahoo! said.
The Top Searched GOP Candidates past 30 days are:
2012, Barack Obama, campaign, candidate, candidates, caucus, GOP, GOP field, Herman Cain, Iowa, Iowa Caucus, Michele Bachmann, Mike Huckabee, Minnesota, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, precinct caucuses, president, presidential, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, Sarah Palin, Tim Pawlenty