The Des Moines Register's new poll showing Mitt Romney and Herman Cain tied for first place in Iowa confirms what the CBS/National Journal reporters embedded with the campaigns have been hearing on the ground for a couple of weeks now: Iowa Republicans are giving former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney a chance to win their hearts, even though the religious conservatives who dominate the state's first-in-the-nation caucus don't care for him on the issues and may not be entirely comfortable with his Mormonism. The reason? Romney's electability argument is resonating.
More than ideological purity, it seems, many Iowa Republicans want someone who can beat President Obama, and Romney so far has made the most plausible argument for why he is that guy. Until recently, Romney spent little of his time or his considerable financial resources in Iowa, figuring that his best shot at an early-primary victory was with New Hampshire's more moderate and independent voters.
But the poll also contains some
political intelligence that bodes poorly for a Romney win in Iowa.