Talk about being up for grabs. A new poll shows a virtual four-way tie in Iowa.
The Bloomberg News poll has Hermain Cain at 20%, Ron Paul at 19%, Mitt Romney at 18% and Newt Gingrich at 17%. With seven weeks to go, this is about to get real interesting.
Economic issues such as jobs, taxes and government spending are driving voter sentiment, rather than such social issues as abortion and gay marriage, the poll finds. Only about a quarter of likely caucus-goers say social or constitutional issues are more important to them, compared with 71 percent who say fiscal concerns.
The poll reflects the race’s fluidity, with 60 percent of respondents saying they still could be persuaded to back someone other than their top choice, and 10 percent undecided. Paul’s support is more solidified than his rivals, while Cain’s is softer. All of the major contenders have issue challenges to address.
The focus on the economy presents an opening for Romney, the former Massachusetts governor who in his campaign has spotlighted his background as a business executive. Romney has shown signs he may engage more directly in Iowa, a state where he invested $10 million in his 2008 presidential bid only to be rejected by social conservatives who rallied behind former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee in that year’s caucuses.
Romney’s support consists of 41 percent who backed him in 2008, the survey found, which means “the majority of his support comes from newcomers to his camp,” Selzer said.