A day after Mitt Romney made comments that didn’t completely shut the door on another run for president in 2016, a new poll suggests he’d dominate the Republican field in Iowa if he does decide to enter the race.
The poll, from Suffolk University and USA Today, finds Romney with a more than 25-point advantage over his closest Republican competitor, Mike Huckabee in the crucial primary state. A bit more than 35% of Iowa Republicans say he’d be their first choice if he entered the field in Iowa, which holds the first-in-the-nation presidential caucuses.
Huckabee, a former Arkansas governor, grabbed about 8.8% of the vote. Next on the list was New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (6.5%), former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum (5.9%). Sens. Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, who got 5.29% each, rounded out the top six candidates.
Romney has repeatedly said he’s not interested in a third run for president. In an interview with radio host Hugh Hewitt on Tuesday, he quoted the movie “Dumb and Dumber” and suggested there was only a “one in a million” chance he would give it another shot. However, later in the interview, when pressed by Hewitt, Romney admitted that “circumstances can change” — namely, if every viable Republican candidate came to him and told him they wanted him to run again.
Romney certainly has backing from past supporters and others affiliated with his previous campaigns. And some Republicans have said he should run because he would be the party’s best candidate against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is considered the likely Democratic nominee if she chooses to run.
In an interview with Business Insider over the weekend, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin), Romney’s former running mate, bragged Romney had been right on many of the controversial foreign policy issues of the 2012 campaign.
“Yes. We did predict these problems in the campaign. And that’s because, if America chooses not to lead, if America chooses to withdraw and lose its standing in the world, then bad things are going to happen,” Ryan said of the current crises in Ukraine and Iraq.
The Iowa poll isn’t the first to show Romney in good standing in an early caucus or primary state. Last month, a poll of New Hampshire Republicans found Romney would have a 22-point lead over any theoretical Republican challengers.
Without Romney in the field in Iowa, a plurality of Republicans (17%) there are undecided. Huckabee would grab just more than 13% of the vote, while Christie gets almost 11%. Texas Gov. Rick Perry appears to benefit most from Romney not being in the field. Without Romney’s name, he comes in third after Huckabee and Christie with about 8.75% of the vote.
The Suffolk/USA Today poll featured responses from 170 Iowa Republicans. The survey was conducted from Aug. 23-26.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.