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University of Iowa News Release


Oct. 28, 2011

Hawkeye Poll: 90 percent of likely Republican caucus-goers think economy is somewhat or very poor

As the 2012 Iowa caucuses get ever closer, a recent University of Iowa Hawkeye Poll released today indicates that the economy continues to be an important issue for voters.

When asked to describe the country's current economic condition, nearly half of the likely Republican caucus attendees (45 percent) reported that the economy is "very poor." Another large group (46 percent) said that it is "somewhat poor." Less than 10 percent reported that the economy is "somewhat good" and no likely Republican caucus attendees said that the economy was "very good." The poor state of the economy will undoubtedly be on voters' minds at the Iowa Republican caucus in early January.

Democrats and Independents were not much more optimistic. Eighty-two percent of Democrats rated the economy as "somewhat poor" or "very poor" along with 84 percent of Independents.

Among those likely to attend the Republican caucus, 36 percent identified the economy as "the most important issue facing this country." Other key issues for likely Republican caucus-goers included jobs and unemployment (19 percent); "something else" (19 percent); the national debt (11 percent); government spending (7 percent); illegal immigration (2 percent); Wall Street and financial institutions (1.5 percent); gay rights (1.5 percent); education (0.7 percent); and gas prices (0.7 percent).

"It's clear that whichever candidate can convince the voters that he or she has a plan on how to turn our economy around will win the Iowa Republican caucus, but it's still unclear which candidate that will be," says Jason Thomas, a graduate student in the UI Department of Political Science.

Even across party lines, Iowans agree that the most important issue facing the United States today is the economy. Nearly 40 percent of Democrats identified the economy as America's most important issue along with 36 percent of Republicans and 36 percent of Independents.

The telephone survey of 778 Iowans was conducted October 12-19. The margin of error for the full sample is plus or minus 3.6 percent. Of those respondents, 342 indicated they were "somewhat likely" or "very likely" to attend a caucus in 2012; the margin of error for likely caucus-goers is plus or minus 5.3 percent.

Topline results for the poll are available at:

About the Hawkeye Poll

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 faculty adviser for the poll is UI Associate Professor of Political Science Frederick Boehmke. 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 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: Cassie Cumings-Peterson, Hawkeye Poll, 651-373-4305 (cell), 319-335-2319 (office),; Kelli Andresen, University News Services, 319-384-0070,; Frederick Boehmke, Hawkeye Poll, 319-335-2342 (office), 716-866-9277 (cell),