PPP Poll: Romney Starts Out Ahead In Iowa Crowd

A new survey of Iowa from Public Policy Polling (D) finds Mitt Romney with a small plurality in the very crowded Republican caucus field, and posting some other strong numbers for the contest that he lost in 2008 after making heavy investments of time and resources. But other contenders like Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann, Tim Pawlenty and Ron Paul are not too far behind.

The initial numbers: Romney 21%, Palin 15%, Cain 15%, Gingrich 12%, Bachmann 11%, Pawlenty 10%, and Paul 8%.

Another question was asked, for a scenario in which Palin did not run. The new numbers: Romney 26%, Cain 16%, Gingrich 15%, Bachmann 14%, Paul 11%, and Pawlenty 10%.

“Romney has the nominal lead but the fact that there are 6 people polling at double digits shows how wide open the race is in Iowa,” writes PPP president Dean Debnam.Also, it is notable that the field is on track to have two candidates from Minnesota — and the more insurgent-style Michele Bachmann appears to be narrowly edging the more establishment-friendly Tim Pawlenty in this key early contest.

Interestingly, and possibly contrary to the conventional wisdom that Romney’s history of pioneering the individual mandate in Massachusetts would render him unfit for the GOP base, he was matched in potential two-way match-ups against four Republicans, asking respondents who they would support if the nomination came down to just those two people. And in those four scenarios, Romney led clearly in one, and was tied in the other.

The numbers: Romney led Palin 48%-41%, led Cain 48%-34%, and led Bachmann 46%-38%. Only Pawlenty tied Romney, at 41%-41%.

Also, as PPP previously posted, Jon Huntsman was also listed as a choice in the caucus ballot test, and got a score of one — not one percent, but one supporter out of the 481 Republican respondents.

The survey was conducted from May 27-30, and has a ±4.5% margin of error.