According to the Rasmussen Reports , an "electronic publishing firm specializing in the collection, publication, and distribution of public opinion polling information," as of a few days ago, Rudy Guiliani is running a distant third with Iowa caucus goers.
With about six weeks left to go , here's what a telephone survey of 839 "likely GOP caucus participants" yielded:
Rasmussen's analysis of those results follows:
Compared to our prior survey, the trend is unmistakable—Huckabee has gone up and just about everybody else has gone down. Huckabee's 28% support represents a twelve point increase from a Rasmussen Reports poll conducted earlier in the month . Romney is down four points while Giuliani and Thompson are each down three points from the previous survey. John McCain is down two points and earns just 4% support. Ron Paul picked up a point and is now at the 5% level.
Forty-eight percent (48%) of Evangelical Christians support Hucakbee. That's more than all the other candidates combined. Romney attracts 16% of the Evangelical vote.
Among those who have participated in the caucuses before, Huckabee attracts 30% support while Romney is at 23%. Among those who have not taken part in the caucuses before, it's Romney 29% Huckabee 26%. A separate Rasmussen Reports article looks at some of the questions that would be raised if Huckabee wins the Iowa caucuses .
Overall, Romney is the second choice for 21% of likely caucus participants. Huckabee is the second choice for 16%, Giuliani for 15% and Thompson for 14%.
The field still remains quite fluid. Twelve percent (12%) of likely caucus participants say there is a good chance they could still change their mind while 29% say they might change their mind. Among those who say there is a good chance they might change their mind, Romney is the second choice for 25%, Giuliani for 21%, Thompson for 18%, and Huckabee for 17%.
Fifty-three percent (53%) of Huckabee supporters say they are certain to vote for him. Forty-nine percent (49%) of Giuliani's supporters say the same along with 48% of Romney voters and 46% of those for Thompson.
At the other extreme, 17% of Giuliani supporters say there is a good chance they could change their mind before January 3 arrives. Sixteen percent (16%) of Romney's backers say the same along with 12% of those for Huckabee and 8% for Thompson.
Among those likely to take part in the Iowa Republican caucuses, Romney is viewed favorably by 77%, Huckabee by 76%, Giuliani by 68%, and Thompson by 71%. Those numbers reflect an eleven point-gain for Huckabee and a six-point decline for Giuliani while impressions of the other candidates is essentially unchanged.
As for unfavorables, just 20% offer a negative assessment of Huckabee. Twenty-one percent (21%) have an unfavorable opinion of Romney, 24% say the same about Thompson, and 30% have a negative opinion of Giuliani.
McCain's numbers have fallen since the previous Rasmussen Reports survey. Among Republicans likely to participate in the caucus, 54% have a favorable opinion of the Arizona Senator while 44% have an unfavorable view.
Ron Paul is viewed favorably by 39% and unfavorably by 52%.
Highlighting the personal nature of the Iowa caucuses, 44% of those who are likely to participate have seen at least one of the Presidential candidates in person this year.
Forty-six percent (46%) of likely caucus participants think that Romney will win in Iowa this year while 25% think Huckabee will win on January 3. No other candidate reaches double digits.
Thirty-four percent (34%) believe that Romney will ultimately win the GOP nomination. Twenty-four percent (24%) believe Giuliani will represent the GOP in 2008 while 16% think that Huckabee will emerge victorious in the end.
Twenty-five percent (25%) of likely caucus participants identified immigration as the most important voting issue. Twenty-one percent (21%) named national security as their top issue while 18% said the economy was most important and 14% ranked the War in Iraq as the top issue.
While Huckabee has caught Romney in Iowa, the former Massachusetts Governor enjoys a strong lead in New Hampshire , site of the first-in-the-nation Presidential Primary. Rasmussen Reports is polling in New Hampshire this week and will release new results later in the week.
To view the complete analysis, please use this link: Republican Iowa Caucus Survey