A poll unveiled this week from American Research Group shows that three Republican presidential candidates -- U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas and former Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska -- are gaining serious momentum in Iowa, site of the first presidential caucus.
Bachmann, who declared her candidacy in June and has been surging in polls at both the national and state levels, topped the poll with 21 percent. Former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts placed second with 18 percent. Paul, who was the Libertarian candidate in 1988 and ran for the Republican nomination in 2008, took third with 14 percent. Palin, who has not entered the race but has left the door open to running, took fourth with 11 percent.
The rest of the field trailed in single digits. Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich of Georgia garnered 8 percent. Conservative former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, who has worked the Hawkeye State hard, took 5 percent. Former Gov. Jon Huntsman of Utah, who has shown little interest in taking part in the Iowa caucus, took 3 percent. Businessman Herman Cain and former Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota tied with two candidates who have yet to enter the race -- former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Gov. Rick Perry of Texas -- at 2 percent. Two former governors -- Buddy Roemer of Louisiana and Gary Johnson of New Mexico -- lagged behind with less than 1 percent.
An Iowa poll taken by American Research Group back in April shows how much the race has changed since that time. That poll was led by former Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas who won the caucus during the battle for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008. Huckabee, who announced that he was not running in 2012, took 18 percent in the April poll followed by Romney with 17 percent. Gingrich placed third with 12 percent and businessman and reality TV star Donald Trump, who has also said he is not running, took 10 percent in the April poll. Two other potential candidates who didn't run -- U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Gov. Mitch Daniels of Indiana -- garnered 4 percent each.
With these candidates out of the race, Bachmann, Paul and Palin have moved up since the April poll. Bachmann, who has been playing up roots in the Hawkeye State, stood at 9 percent in April. Ron Paul stood at 3 percent in April, below his son Rand. Palin took 4 percent in the April poll.
Two candidates -- Gingrich and Giuliani -- are starting to slip in the polls. Dropping 4 points since April, Gingrich has seen many key members of his staff resign since then and has been rebuilding in Iowa, bringing in former U.S. Rep. Greg Ganske to help right the ship in the Hawkeye State. Losing 6 points since April, Giuliani, who skipped Iowa when he ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008, has done little to prepare for a 2012 run but insists it is still an option.
The poll of 600 likely Republican caucus voters was taken between July 5-11 and had a margin of error of +/- 4 percent.
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