A national CBS News poll taken after Iowa and released today shows that no one in the Republican presidential field has the support of even 20 percent of GOP primary voters. The poll shows Mitt Romney leading with 19 percent support, followed relatively closely by Newt Gingrich (15 percent), and Rick Santorum (14 percent). In the second division, Ron Paul has 10 percent support, followed by Rick Perry (6 percent) and Jon Huntsman (4 percent). That leaves about a third (32 percent) of all Republican primary voters who either support someone else (19 percent) or are undecided (13 percent) — up from 26 percent (including 12 percent who supported someone else) in late October.
In other words, LSU or Alabama (despite going up against outstanding defenses) might get to 20 points before anyone in the GOP field.
Comparing the candidates’ trajectories in CBS’s polling since the start of the fall, Romney is down from his high of 21 percent (in October), and Gingrich is down from his high of 20 percent (in December), while Santorum is up from his previous high of 3 percent (in October and December). Meanwhile, Paul has matched his previous high (in December), Perry is down from his high of 23 percent (in September), and Huntsman is up from his previous high of 2 percent (in October).
If the outcome of the GOP race is inevitable, it’s hard to see any evidence of that in this polling.