The latest survey from The Washington Post and ABC News shows former House Speaker Newt Gingrich with a crushing lead in the Iowa Republican caucuses. Thirty-three percent of Iowa Republicans support Gingrich’s bid for the Republican presidential nomination, compared to 18 percent support for former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, 18 percent support for Congressman Ron Paul, and 11 percent support for Texas Governor Rick Perry. What’s more, Gingrich leads on the concrete questions as well. On the question of electability: “29 percent of likely caucus-goers say Gingrich represents the Republicans’ best chance to defeat President Obama in 2012, while 24 percent say so of Romney.”
However, there’s one big caveat to these numbers; the large majority of Iowa Republicans are undecided:
More than six in 10 potential caucus-goers say they could change their minds, and even among the likeliest attendees, fewer than half say they have definitely chosen a candidate."
If Gingrich implodes between now and the end of the month, his support could slip to another candidate, like Ron Paul, Rick Santorum, or Rick Perry—who remains on the list of plausible nominees. It should be said that if Gingrich does implode, it won’t be because of immigration; 27 percent of Iowa Republicans trust the former House speaker on immigration, compared to 8 percent for Romney and 18 percent for Perry (a sign that his backtracking was at least partially successful).