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And A Third Iowa Poll: Romney Breaks Out

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The third poll of likely Iowa caucus voters released inside of a week solidifies Mitt Romney as the leader of the top-tier Republican presidential hopefuls in the influential Hawkeye State. Romney's support had increased noticeably in polls released by Zogby and KCCI-TV to move him into a statistical tie with frontrunners John McCain and Rudy Giuliani. However, the latest Iowa Poll (sponsored by the Des Moines Register, and conducted May 12-16) gives Romney a whopping double-digit lead over both of his top rivals.

The Iowa Poll found Romney with 30 percent of the support of likely voters, ahead of McCain (18 percent) and Giuliani (17 percent). Since announcing his candidacy, Romney has endured significant criticism among conservative commentators for being seen as an 'unreliable' conservative (due in part to his varied stances on abortion during the course of his political career). However, Republican caucus voters in Iowa have become smitten with the former Massachusetts governor: 74 percent have a favorable view of Romney, while only 13 percent have an unfavorable view.

Also echoing the Zogby and KCCI-TV polls, former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson (7 percent) seems to be pulling out of the "second tier" of announced Republican candidates, followed by Sam Brownback (5 percent), Tom Tancredo (4 percent), and Mike Huckabee (4 percent).

John Edwards (29 percent) continues to lead the pack of eight Democratic hopefuls in the new Iowa Poll, with a six-point lead over Barack Obama and an eight-point lead over Hillary Clinton. This is the second largest lead for Edwards as measured by any publicly released poll to date (behind only his 11-point lead in a January Zogby survey).

New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, who also polled in fourth place in last week's Zogby and KCCI-TV surveys, came in fourth at 10 percent—his highest level of support measured in Iowa thus far.

Previous post: More Iowa Election Polling: Tight at the Top, Dems Leading GOP
Next post: New Lows for Bush in Wisconsin and Iowa

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Remains of the Data

No Free Passes: States With 2 Major Party Candidates in Every US House Race

Indiana has now placed candidates from both major parties on the ballot in a nation-best 189 consecutive U.S. House races, with New Hampshire, Minnesota, Idaho, and Montana also north of 100 in a row.

Political Crumbs

Gubernatorial Highs and Lows

Two sitting governors currently hold the record for the highest gubernatorial vote ever received in their respective states by a non-incumbent: Republican Matt Mead of Wyoming (65.7 percent in 2010) and outgoing GOPer Dave Heineman of Nebraska (73.4 percent in 2006). Republican Gary Herbert of Utah had not previously won a gubernatorial contest when he notched a state record 64.1 percent for his first victory in 2010, but was an incumbent at the time after ascending to the position in 2009 after the early departure of Jon Huntsman. Meanwhile, two sitting governors hold the record in their states for the lowest mark ever recorded by a winning gubernatorial candidate (incumbent or otherwise): independent-turned-Democrat Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island (36.1 percent in 2010) and Democrat Terry McAuliffe of Virginia (47.8 percent in 2013).


An Idaho Six Pack

Two-term Idaho Republican Governor Butch Otter only polled at 39 percent in a recent PPP survey of the state's 2014 race - just four points ahead of Democratic businessman A.J. Balukoff. Otter's low numbers reflect his own struggles as a candidate (witness his weak primary win against State Senator Russ Fulcher) combined with the opportunity for disgruntled Idahoans to cast their votes for one of four third party and independent candidates, who collectively received the support of 12 percent of likely voters: Libertarian John Bujak, the Constitution Party's Steve Pankey, and independents Jill Humble and Pro-Life (aka Marvin Richardson). The six candidate options in a gubernatorial race sets an all-time record in the Gem State across the 46 elections conducted since statehood. The previous high water mark of five candidates was reached in seven previous cycles: 1902, 1904, 1908, 1912, 1914, 1966, and 2010.


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