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University of Iowa News Release


Oct. 21, 2011

Hawkeye Poll: Cain and Romney are frontrunners among Iowa Republicans

The Iowa Caucuses are just 10 weeks out, and a University of Iowa Hawkeye Poll released today indicates that Herman Cain and Mitt Romney are the current frontrunners.

Presented with a list of potential GOP contenders and asked whom they'd support if the caucuses were today, over a third of likely Republican caucus attendees (37 percent) said they would choose Cain, while just over a quarter (27 percent) said they would choose Romney. Ron Paul placed a distant third at 12 percent, with Rick Perry falling to 6 percent. Newt Gingrich received 8 percent, Michelle Bachmann received 4 percent, Rick Santorum received 3 percent, "someone else" received 2.5 percent, and Jon Huntsman received 1 percent.

"Right now, the race in Iowa appears to be shaping up as a two-person contest, though it will be interesting to see if Cain can stay on top, since similar surges by Bachmann and Perry ran out of steam," said Hawkeye Poll advisor Fred Boehmke, associate professor of political science in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

The telephone survey of 778 Iowans was conducted Oct. 12-19. The margin of error for the full sample is plus or minus 3.6 percent. Of those respondents, 181 indicated they were "somewhat likely" or "very likely" to attend the 2012 Republican caucus; the margin of error for likely Republican caucus-goers is plus or minus 7.4 percent.

Topline results for the poll are available at:

Among those "very likely" to attend the caucuses, 39 percent would choose Cain and 29 percent would choose Romney. Of those "somewhat likely" to attend, 34 percent would choose Cain, 24 percent would pick Romney. Perry did somewhat better with the "somewhat likely" group, with 10 percent as opposed to 3 percent with the "very likely" group.

Cain also did better among likely caucus-goers who consider themselves "strong" Republicans, with 43 percent supporting him, compared to 30 percent of those who "lean" right. Romney did better among leaners, with 31 percent supporting him, compared to 25 percent among "strong" Republicans.

Most Republican caucus-goers were happy with the field of candidates. When asked whether they were satisfied with their choices for the GOP nomination, 29 percent they were "very satisfied," and 57 percent said they were "somewhat satisfied." Only 14 percent indicated they were "not satisfied."

About the Hawkeye Poll

The list of GOP candidates included: Bachmann, Cain, Gingrich, Huntsman, Paul, Perry, Romney, Santorum, "someone else," and "don't know."

The partisan breakdown of the sample was: 33 percent Democrat, 31 percent Republican and 36 percent Independent. Forty-six percent considered themselves moderate, while 16 percent were liberal and 38 percent were conservative. Fifty-five percent of surveyed Republicans said they were "somewhat" or "very" likely to attend the Iowa Caucuses. Reported results are weighted by Congressional district partisanship.

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 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),; Nicole Riehl, University News Services, 319-384-0070,; Frederick Boehmke, Hawkeye Poll, 319-335-2342 (office), 716-866-9277 (cell),