In the latest poll coming out of Iowa, a Research 2000 poll, Mitt Romney has extended his commanding lead in Iowa to 11 points over the rest of the GOP field.
Romney: 25% F. Thompson: 14 Giuliani: 13 McCain: 10
First, the good news for Romney. Obviously the good news is that he has extended his lead. It looks more and more like a Iowa is a lock for Romney, even more so than New Hampshire. What is potentially negative news is that Romney’s share is only 25%. I think that for Romney to truly feel comfortable in Iowa he will need to be polling at around 35%. Also, another thing that is striking is what the poll here does not say, what about the other 38% of voters not listed here. They are likely spread between Huckabee, Brownback, Ron Paul, and undecided. (Unfortunately the Research 2000 website article was not working at the time of writing, but I will update when more info is provided). I would suspect that both Huckabee and Brownback are hovering around 8-9% and that Paul has 3%. What this all means is that a second place finish for one of these “2nd tier” candidates in the Ames Straw Poll next month is extremely possible and the same result could be in place for the actual caucuses. It also tells us that there is a lot of room for movement, so despite Romney’s solid lead, he cannot get too comfortable and take it for granted.
Certainly, though, this is great news for Romney. It is potentially great news for the 2nd tiers also. At the same time it is terrible news for Giuliani and McCain. While McCain is not dead yet, he is in a coma and on the verge of it. Giuliani should not waste any resources there, or so it seems. The problem with this for Giuliani is that he is also not polling well in New Hampshire and is running third in Nevada in a close race. If Giuliani loses all three of these, especially if they all go to Romney, in January; it will be difficult for him to pick up steam (not to mention that he likely will not win the often over-looked Wyoming caucus also). An 0-4 start for the national leader is not the way to do it. It would be in Giuliani’s best interest to at least win one of these. However, it is not necessary, he will win both New Jersey and New York on mega-tuesday and is the odds on favorite for Florida and California. If he sweeps these four, he will be just fine and right in the thick of it with Romney and/or Thompson.