Poll Indicates Simon, Dole In Lead In Iowa
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) _ Illinois Sen. Paul Simon has moved to the top of the Democratic presidential field in Iowa, a new poll suggests, but it also indicates only one-fourth of the Democrats surveyed have definitely settled on a candidate.
On the GOP side, Senate Republican leader Bob Dole of Kansas holds a narrow lead over Vice President George Bush in the GOP race, according to a poll pubished Sunday in the Des Moines Register.
Dole was favored by 36 percent of those likely to attend the Republican precinct caucuses in Febuary, compared to 30 percent for Bush, according to the survey. The rest of the GOP field trailed far behind.
Among Democrats, Simon got the backing of 24 percent of those who said they’ll attend Democratic caucuses, with Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis in second at 18 percent. Missouri Rep. Richard Gephardt, who led in the last poll published in August, was third with 14 percent.
The margin of error was 5.5 percentage points for the GOP results and 5.4 percent for the Democrats, the newspaper said.
″A lot of little things are breaking in the right direction,″ said Simon during a campaign stop in Minnesota.
″I think it means clearly that as the people of Iowa get to know Paul Simon, they like what they see,″ said Pat Mitchell, Simon’s Iowa campaign manager.
Gephardt downplayed the poll’s results, and aides insisted he’ll make a strong showing in the Feb. 8 caucuses.
″I don’t want to peak in November, I want to peak on Feb. 8 in Iowa,″ Gephardt said. ″I think we are proceeding in a steady and consistent manner, and I think we will get a good result.″
Dukakis said he was generally satisfied with his second place finish, but said the poll ″doesn’t mean much.″
Questioned during an Iowa campaign stop, Dole said the poll confirmed his feeling that the GOP battle is a two-person race.
″Unless I miss something, it’s a race between myself and Bush,″ Dole said.
Simon was third place among Democratsin the last poll the newspaper published, but since that time has scored some major organizational gains. When Delaware Sen. Joseph Biden dropped from the race, Simon picked up the bulk of his large and respected staff, and has campaigned heavily in the state.
In addition, though he was a relatively late entry in the Democratic field in May, Simon has benefited from living in neighboring Illinois, which gives him a degree of name recognition among Iowans.
Jesse Jackson was fourth among Democrats with 11 percent, former Arizona Gov. Bruce Babbitt was fifth with 8 percent, while Tennessee Sen. Albert Gore was last with 3 percent, the poll indicated. Gore announced on Friday he was pulling most of his staff out of Iowa to concentrate on other tests in New Hampshire and the South.
New York Rep. Jack Kemp was in third place among Republicans at 9 percent, followed by former television evangelist Pat Robertson at 8 percent, former Delaware Gov. Pete du Pont at 5 percent and former Secretary of State Alexander Haig at 2 percent, the poll indicated. Haig also has said he plans to concentrate on New Hampshire.
The newspaper said it conducted a telephone survey Oct. 29 through Nov. 12 of 312 Republicans and 330 Democrats who said they ″definitely or probably″ would attend the Iowa caucuses. Within those confines, the subjects were chosen at random, the paper said.
The poll seemed to indicate the Republican battle is beginning to solidify. Only 10 percent of those questioned were undecided, while 44 percent said they were ″not at all likely″ to change their minds.
The Democratic field, however, was far less settled, with 20 percent undecided and only 26 percent saying they were unlikely to switch.
In addition, when asked if other candidates should enter the race, 22 percent volunteered the name of New York Gov. Mario Cuomo.