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University of Iowa News Release


April 27, 2011

Hawkeye Poll: Iowans remain on the lookout for a standout GOP contender

The Iowa Caucuses are still several months out, but a University of Iowa Hawkeye Poll released today suggests that Iowans aren't completely sold on the preliminary roster of GOP candidates.

Presented with a list of potential GOP contenders and asked which one they'd support if the caucuses were today, one-quarter of Iowans (26 percent) said they would choose "someone else," and 11 percent weren't sure whom they'd pick. Sixteen percent would choose Mike Huckabee, 15 percent would choose Mitt Romney, and 10 percent would choose Sara Palin. Tim Pawlenty pulled in 5 percent support, followed by Newt Gingrich with 4 percent, Michelle Bachmann with 3 percent, and Ron Paul with 2 percent.

"It's possible Iowans aren't wowed by the field at this early stage in the game, but it's also possible that they are simply waiting to learn more about the candidates' policy positions before picking a favorite," said Nathan Darus, a UI doctoral student in political science and a member of the Hawkeye Poll Cooperative.

The telephone survey was conducted April 4-11. The national poll included 352 respondents from Iowa; the margin of error for the Iowa sample was plus or minus 5.2 percent.

The Iowa results echoed national sentiments about the GOP field. The Hawkeye Poll showed that one-third of Americans (32 percent) would pick "someone else" if their state's primaries or caucuses were held today; another 18 percent were uncertain whom they would support. Romney had the edge nationally, with 13 percent of respondents, and Huckabee and Paul pulled in 9 percent and 8 percent, respectively. Five percent picked Palin, 4 percent picked Gingrich, and 3 percent picked Pawlenty.

The national sample included 867 Americans, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.3 percent.

Topline results are available at:

Romney and Huckabee are frontrunners among Iowa Republicans

Of Republicans in Iowa, 24 percent would choose Romney, and 23 percent would choose Huckabee.

Nationally, Romney received the most support among Republicans (17 percent), just slightly more than Huckabee's 16 percent. Sixteen percent of Republicans were not sure which candidate they would choose if primaries or caucuses were today.

Among respondents who consider themselves "strong" Republicans, 23 percent of the national sample said they'd choose Romney if the primaries or caucuses were today, and 19 percent said Huckabee.

Of Independents who "lean" right, 27 percent would choose Romney, and 16 percent would choose Huckabee. Amidst those who self-identified as "not strongly" affiliated with the GOP, 29 percent would support Paul if the primaries or caucuses were today. Thirteen percent would pick Gingrich, and 14 percent weren't sure.

Non-Republicans in Iowa split support for potential GOP contenders

When asked about the GOP candidates, 17 percent of non-Republicans in Iowa would choose Romney, and 16 percent would choose Huckabee. Sixteen percent responded, "don't know," and 9 percent responded "someone else." Paul pulled in 13 percent support from this group, while Palin pulled in 11 percent.

Nationally, 27 percent of Independents and 56 percent of Democrats would pick "someone else." Of Independents who "lean" left, 43 percent would choose "someone else," and one-fifth would support Paul. Forty percent of Independents who lean toward neither party were uncertain whom they would pick.

About the Hawkeye Poll

The list of GOP candidates included: Bachmann, Haley Barbour, Mitch Daniels, Gingrich, Huckabee, Palin, Paul, Pawlenty, Romney, "someone else," and "don't know." Candidates polling less than 1 percent in late March (e.g., Donald Trump, Jon Huntsman) before the poll went into the field in early April were not listed as options.

The partisan breakdown of the national sample was: 34 percent Democrat, 24 percent Republican and 29 percent Independent. Nearly half -- 48 percent -- considered themselves moderate, while 23 percent were liberal and 28 percent were conservative. Reported results are weighted by state population and age.

The poll was conducted by the Hawkeye Poll Cooperative, comprised of UI faculty and graduate students in political science, with the cooperation and facilities of the Iowa Social Science Research Center, directed by UI Sociology Professor Kevin Leicht. The faculty advisor for the poll is UI Associate Professor of Political Science Frederick Boehmke. The Hawkeye Poll is a teaching, research and service project of the Department of Political Science in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS). CLAS and the Provost's Office fund the poll.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242

MEDIA CONTACTS: Natasha Altema, Hawkeye Poll, 404-625-3372 (cell), 319-335-3844 (office),; Nathan Darus, Hawkeye Poll, 216-798-1682 (cell),; Nicole Riehl, University News Services, 319-384-0070,; Frederick Boehmke, Hawkeye Poll, 319-335-2342 (office), 716-866-9277 (cell),