Poll: Iowa GOP voters think Gingrich is best choice to face Obama

Two new polls show Newt Gingrich holding a strong lead in Iowa and GOP voters saying the former House Speaker has a better chance than Mitt Romney of beating President Obama.

The latest Washington Post/ABC News poll shows Gingrich with support from 33 percent of likely caucus-goers surveyed, well ahead of Mitt Romney and Rep. Ron Paul, who tied for a distant second place with 18 percent each.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry received 11 percent, Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.) 8 percent, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum 7 percent and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman 2 percent.

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Gingrich also topped Romney in electability. Twenty-nine percent said Gingrich held the GOP's best chance of defeating President Obama. Twenty-four percent picked Romney.

However, the poll also showed a fluid race. Fifty-two percent of those surveyed said there was a chance they would change their support before the caucuses. Twenty-seven percent said there was a "good chance" they would shift their support to another candidate

The poll's findings follow several national polls showing Gingrich to be the new GOP front-runner.


According to a CBS/New York Times poll released on Tuesday, 31 percent of Iowa Republicans think Gingrich is more likely to beat Obama compared to 29 percent who say Romney would be better. Perry came in third with 9 percent. No other candidate was able to win more than 6 percent.

The poll also found that Tea Partiers are far more confident that Gingrich would be a much stronger candidate than Romney against Obama. Forty-five percent of Tea Party supporters said Gingrich has the best chance, while 19 percent pointed to Romney.

Both polls found the economy to be the most important issue for Iowa voters. Seven in 10 said economic issues were most important, with only 14 percent saying social issues were most important.

The CBS poll found that even white evangelical voters said economic issues would matter more, by 55 percent to 25.

Democrats who have focused their attention on Romney thus far have also begun to target Gingrich. On Monday, Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod hit the former House Speaker as "the godfather of gridlock" while House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) threatened to release potentially damaging information from a 1990s ethics investigation of Gingrich.

The CBS News/New York Times poll was conducted from Nov. 30 to Dec. 5 and has a five-point margin of error. The Washington Post/ABC News poll was conducted from Nov. 30 to Dec. 4 and has a four-point margin of error.

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