With all eyes on Saturday's presidential straw poll in Ames, a poll from Rasmussen Reports unveiled Monday morning reveals that five of the Republican presidential hopefuls are pulling in double digits.
U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota leads the pack with 22 percent, while former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, who is not putting much emphasis on the Ames event, is right behind her with 21 percent. The poll finds that U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas is making inroads in the Hawkeye State, taking third with 16 percent. Gov. Rick Perry of Texas, who has yet to announce that he is running, takes 12 percent and former Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, who has been struggling in the polls, is in fifth with 11 percent.
The rest of the pack trails in single digits. Former U.S. Newt Gingrich comes in sixth with 5 percent, while businessman Herman Cain, a favorite of the tea party movement, pulls in 4 percent. Former Gov. Jon Huntsman of Utah, who has not focused on Iowa, is at 2 percent.
Besides taking third place, the poll had other good news for Paul. Only 28 percent of those surveyed were certain of who they would vote for when the caucus rolls around in February -- and Paul led those voters with 27 percent.
The poll found that likely caucus voters generally had favorable impressions of the candidates. Bachmann, who was born in the state and has been playing up her Iowa roots, was seen by 70 percent of those surveyed as favorable --with 37 percent of those surveyed seeing her as very favorable, while none of the other candidates could get 20 percent to see them in such a positive light. Iowa Republicans also held high opinions of Romney, who was seen as favorable by 62 percent, and Pawlenty who was right behind with 61 percent seeing the former Minnesota governor as favorable. Fifty-eight percent had a favorable impression of Paul while 50 percent thought of Perry in a favorable light.
The other candidates did not fare as well. Cain was seen favorably by 49 percent while 36 percent viewed him unfavorably. Huntsman was upside down with 26 percent seeing him as favorable and 49 percent seeing him unfavorably. Gingrich did the worst with 33 percent seeing him in a favorable light while 62 percent saw him unfavorably.
The poll of 627 likely Republican caucus voters was taken on Aug. 4 and had a margin of error of +/- 4 percent.
Reach Kevin Derby at email@example.com or at (850) 727-0859.