Gingrich Clear Frontrunner in New Iowa Poll
Newt grabs 33%; Paul, Romney tied for 2nd with 18%
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 6, 2011 4:38 AM CST
Updated Dec 6, 2011 6:30 AM CST
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has surged ahead in Iowa.   (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, Pool)

(Newser) – Newt Gingrich has widened his lead among likely caucus-goers in Iowa, according to the latest Washington Post/ABC poll. With Herman Cain out of the race, Gingrich now has the support of 33% of likely GOP voters, with Ron Paul and Mitt Romney tied for second place with 18% each, the poll found. Some 11% of those polled said they'd vote for Rick Perry, 8% for Ames straw poll winner Michele Bachmann, 7% for Rick Santorum, and 2% for Jon Huntsman.

More than half of the likely caucus-goers say they might still change their mind before the Jan. 3 vote, but pollsters expect Gingrich to stay in the lead because he doesn't have the big negatives voters see in Romney and Paul. Some 45% considered Romney's health care reform in Massachusetts a reason to oppose him, and 46% cited Paul's opposition to US military intervention overseas as a major negative. For Gingrich, his views on immigration and his marital history were seen as a negative by just 15% and 16%, respectively. Donald Trump is hosting a Republican debate in Iowa the week before the vote, and so far, Gingrich is the only GOP hopeful who has confirmed that he'll take part.