Forty-four percent of likely Iowa caucus goers say they are “very enthusiastic” about the possibility of a general election matchup next year between former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and President Barack Obama.
In a recent poll by the Des Moines Register
, Gingrich was the only candidate in the GOP field to draw a big thumbs up when survey participants were asked if they would support the nominee through the general election.
But the Nov. 27-30 poll of 401 likely Republican caucus attendees also showed increased enthusiasm for Texas Rep. Ron Paul. Thirty-one percent of those surveyed said they were very enthusiastic about Paul’s candidacy, while 28 percent said the same thing about former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. Twenty-seven percent, meanwhile, said they were very enthusiastic about Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann.
In recent weeks, Gingrich has risen steadily in the polls to become the front-runner in the race for the Republican nomination. But the Register, quoting a number of political observers, noted that voter feelings would likely change before the Jan. 3 caucuses as Gingrich’s rivals begin to focus more attention on his history.
“We all know who Gingrich is — he’s been around forever. But people forget a lot,” said Simpson College political professor John Epperson. “You need to remind people that he was taking lobbying money, taking multiple positions, hanging out with Nancy Pelosi — all those things that might irritate some element of the electorate, especially in Iowa.”
“Newt’s biggest obstacle will be Newt,” pollster Adam Geller, of the New Jersey-based National Research Inc., told the Register.
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