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Tipsheet

Iowa Poll: Romney Still on Top, Leads Bush by 7

The 2016 presidential election is still light years away. Nevertheless, former GOP presidential nominee and perhaps soon-to-be 2016 hopeful Mitt Romney clears the presumed GOP field in Iowa, according to a freshly-released Townhall/Gravis poll.

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Here are the results:

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Neil W. McCabe reports on the findings:

The 2012 Republican nominee for president holds a leads a broad field of GOP potential contenders in the Townhall/Gravis poll conducted Jan. 5-7 among 404 registered Republican voters queried.

Former Massachusetts governor W. Mitt Romney has never left the hearts and minds of Republican voters and he will hold the dominant position in the race for the 2016 presidential nomination until the other candidates spin up their own campaigns, said Doug Kaplan, the managing partner of Gravis Marketing, a Florida-based pollster and call center that executed the poll. The poll carries an error rate of 3 percent.

“Romney’s name recognition and the loyalty Republicans have for their last nominee give him a opportunity that no one else has,” Kaplan said. “The question is whether he will use or let the chance pass to others.”

Quite frankly, it doesn’t appear Romney is going to “let the chance pass to others.” He’s made it abundantly clear through surrogates and donors that he has his eye on the prize and is probably going for it. This has been received as a veritable bombshell in Republican circles, setting up a high-profile race between two titans of the establishment: Mitt Romney himself and Jeb Bush.

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Not incidentally, both candidates cleared the field of candidates in this new poll -- albeit 18 percent of respondents remain undecided. Clearly, however, Romney still benefits immensely from his huge name recognition and quasi-primary win in Iowa three years ago. As the Washington Post points out, he's the early favorite, for now, if he's all-in almost by default.

Still, his front-runner status, if he does put his name forward, is hardly etched in stone. With other competitive candidates eyeing the job he covets above all others, he's going to have to earn the nomination as he once did -- a task way easier said than done.

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