Despite lacking a ground operation in the state, a new poll finds Mitt Romney displacing Rick Perry for primacy in Iowa. Meanwhile, Michele Bachmann — who won the Iowa straw poll — has fallen to second place, just above Perry.
A poll released Wednesday by American Research Group found Romney taking first with 21 percent, dropping Bachmann to second place with 15 percent and leaving her neck and neck with Rick Perry, who has 14 percent. Ron Paul takes fourth place with 12 percent.
Since announcing his candidacy the day after the Ames Straw Poll in August, Perry has displaced Bachmann as the frontrunner in the state. However, this poll suggests that his widely-panned debate performance — during the period that voters were surveyed — and the repeated attacks on his conservative values by other candidates, have started to take their toll.
Romney, in contrast, has shown a slight uptick in his percentage of the vote, up from 18 percent in July when ARG last polled. Other polls found Romney with a similar percentage of the vote since Perry entered the race.
Bachmann, who has staked her campaign on winning Iowa, appears to be in bigger trouble. When ARG polled in July, Bachmann had 21 percent of the vote — similar to the results found by other pollsters as well. Once Perry entered the race, however, her percentage of the vote declined to somewhere around 18 percent in other polls, and 15 percent in this poll.
Though the decline is not so drastic as the one seen in national polls, where Bachmann’s share of the vote has dropped into single digits, it still suggests a slip.
The poll is based on telephone interviews with 600 likely Republican caucus goers from September 22 through September 27. The margin of error is plus or minus four percentage points.