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September 27th, 2012

Romney Leads Obama In Latest TIR Poll

By Craig Robinson

The stories of Mitt Romney’s demise in Iowa may be exaggerated.  While the latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News/Marist poll results have caused NBC to move Iowa from being a toss-up to a lean Democrat state, a new TIR-Voter/Consumer Research poll suggests otherwise.  The poll of registered voters conducted between September 23rd and September 25th shows Romney with a one-point lead over President Obama in Iowa.

Respondents were asked whom they would vote for if the election for president were held today.   Forty-seven percent chose Republican Mitt Romney, while 46 percent said Democrat Barack Obama.   Two percent said neither, one percent refused to answer, and only four percent of respondents were undecided.

The poll is significantly different from last week’s Wall Street Journal/NBC News/Marist poll that showed Obama leading Romney by eight points, or the most recent Public Policy Polling poll that had Obama’s lead at seven points in the state.

The major difference between the polls could be attributed to the political make up of the sample.  Public Policy Polling’s Iowa sample was comprised of 37 percent-identified Democrats, 33 percent of identified Republicans, and 27 percent of identified independent or no-party voters.  The TIR/VCR poll was comprised of 36 percent registered Republicans, 35 percent registered Democrats, and 30 percent no-party voters.

Dr. Jan van Lohuizen, the founder and president the Houston, Texas, based polling firm Voter/Consumer Research, noted the recent debate on the make up of recent poll samples.  “There is an on going public debate over media pollsters not weighting their data by party, thus producing samples that are too Democratic,” van Lohuizen said.   “The TIR/VCR poll is weighted by party, butRepublicans are weighted down by over a couple of points.”

The poll also shows Romney with a better favorability rating (-1) than President Obama (-3).  Forty-seven percent of Iowans have a favorable impression of Romney, while 48 percent have an unfavorable impression.  Forty-six percent of Iowans have a favorable impression of President Obama, while 49 percent have an unfavorable impression.

Neither candidate’s favorability rating is stellar with Iowans as the campaign heads into the final stage of the race, but Romney’s numbers are not a dire as other polls have suggested.  PPP’s poll showed Romney’s with a -15-favorability rating (40 percent favorable, 55 percent unfavorable.  The PPP poll did not test President Obama’s favorability with Iowa voters.

The PPP poll also showed that on the issue of the economy, voters had more faith in President Obama on the issue than Romney.  Fifty percent of respondents in the PPP poll said that trusted Obama on the economy, compared to 44 percent who trust Romney.  However, a similar question asked in the TIR/VCR poll produced an opposite result.

The TIR/VCR poll asked respondents. “Who will do the best job of managing the economy?” Fifty-one percent said Mitt Romney, while only 43 percent said President Obama.  Not only is the result completely different from the findings in the PPP poll, but the TIR/VCR poll shows that the economy is Romney’s best issue among voters.

Like the other polls, the TIR/VCR poll shows that Romney struggles to connect to voters.  The poll showed that only 37 percent of respondents believe that Romney understands the problems facing people like them, while 51 percent said that President Obama understands them.  The poll also continues to show President Obama with an advantage on the issue of taxes.  Forty-eight percent said President Obama has the best position on taxes, while 43 percent said Romney does.

Romney’s strength with voters lies in a handful of economic issues.  As mentioned above, he leads President Obama on the economy, but he also leads the president on issues like jobs, balancing the budget, and reducing the deficit.  Those issues also happen to be the issues that voters said were the most important to them.  The top issue on people’s minds was the budget/deficit (31 percent), followed by jobs (25 percent), economy (25 percent), and leadership skills (25 percent).

The TIR/VCR poll isn’t overly positive for Romney, but it’s not nearly as grim as the traditional news media is reporting.  The data above suggests that Romney is in the thick of things in Iowa despite what the media is reporting.  The comparison of various polls also shows how a poll’s demographic makeup can skew the results.

This is the fifth TIR/VCR poll that has been conducted in Iowa.  The poll has a strong history of accurately portraying the thoughts and opinions of Iowa voters.  Dr. Jan van Lohuizen, founder and president the Houston, Texas, based Voter/Consumer Research, conducted the poll of 500 registered voters by live telephone interviews between the dates of September 23, and September 25, 2012. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 4.4 percent.

Photo by Dave Davidson

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About the Author

Craig Robinson
Craig Robinson serves as the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Prior to founding Iowa's largest conservative news site, Robinson served as the Political Director of the Republican Party of Iowa during the 2008 Iowa Caucuses. In that capacity, Robinson planned and organized the largest political event in 2007, the Iowa Straw Poll, in Ames, Iowa. Robinson also organized the 2008 Republican caucuses in Iowa, and was later dispatched to Nevada to help with the caucuses there. Robinson cut his teeth in Iowa politics during the 2000 caucus campaign of businessman Steve Forbes and has been involved with most major campaigns in the state since then. His extensive political background and rolodex give him a unique perspective from which to monitor the political pulse of Iowa.

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