The race for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination in Iowa, traditionally the nation’s first caucus state, remains a muddle. But only if Mitt Romney stays out of the race.
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, with 13 percent, topped the GOP field in the latest Suffolk University/USA Today poll. The survey of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents who said they would participate in their party’s caucus found New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie second at 11 percent.
Next: Texas Gov. Rick Perry, 9 percent and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, 7 percent.
But.....add 2012 presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s name to the list of choices, and 35 percent left their first pick and went with Romney. Nine percent stayed with Huckabee, and 6 percent with Christie. Romney lost Iowa’s Republican caucuses in 2008 to Huckabee and in 2012 to former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum. Romney has said he doesn’t intend to run in 2016, but has not completely ruled it out, telling radio host Hugh Hewitt earlier this week “circumstances can change.”
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Among Democrats, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had a wide lead, with 66 percent of registered Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents. Next was Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., at 10 percent, and Vice President Joe Biden, at 8 percent.