In a portion of the poll that was released earlier today, Gingrich led by 14 points with registered GOP voters statewide, taking 31 percent of the support compared to Mitt Romney’s 17 percent.
This follow-up poll shows Gingrich doing even better within conservative groups in the state, taking 41 percent of the Tea Party vote compared to Romney’s 10 percent, and taking 34 percent of the white evangelical vote against Romney’s 10 percent.
Romney is fifth among GOP candidates with Tea Partiers and white evangelicals in Iowa, trailing Ron Paul, Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann in addition to Gingrich.
While 78 percent said a candidate’s personal life should be a factor in examining his or her record, the poll numbers seem to indicate that likely Iowa caucus-goers are not perturbed by Gingrich’s past marital problems, as his favorability numbers among white evangelical Iowans is far superior to Romney’s.
Sixty percent of white evangelical likely caucus-goers have a favorable view of Gingrich, while only 18 percent have an unfavorable view. Conversely, only 31 percent have a favorable view of Romney, compared to 43 percent who view him unfavorably.
And the favorability numbers are similar among those who identify with the Tea Party, signaling that these voters are at peace with Gingrich’s past ties with Freddie Mac.
Sixty-eight percent of Tea Party likely caucus-goers have a favorable view of Gingrich, with only 14 percent having an unfavorable view. By contrast, Romney polled at 39 percent favorable and 44 percent unfavorable.
But Gingrich holds his biggest lead over the field regarding the question of who is most prepared to be president.
Among white evangelicals, 48 percent said Gingrich is more prepared, compared to only 12 percent who picked Romney. Among Tea Party supporters the gap is even bigger, with 56 saying Gingrich is more prepared, compared to Romney’s 11 percent.
One consistent argument made by Romney supporters is that their candidate is most electable of the group, but that’s not how Tea Party supporters and white evangelicals in Iowa see it.
Thirty-seven percent of white evangelicals believe Gingrich has a better chance of defeating President Obama, while only 24 percent said Romney.
Tea Party voters agreed, giving Gingrich the electability advantage by a margin of 45 percent to 19 percent over Romney.