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Guess who leads in first poll of Iowa voters

RomneyThe 2012 Republican nominee for president holds a lead over a broad field of GOP potential contenders in the Townhall/Gravis poll conducted Jan. 5-7 among 404 registered Republican voters queried. Note: the polls were conducted using IVR technology and weighted by historical voting demographics.

Former Massachusetts Gov. 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 it or let the chance pass to others.”

After two years of dampening expectations, Romney — spooked by Bush’s momentum — is now working the phones in order to put the band together for one more national tour.

While Romney, who was the choice of 21 percent of those polled, decides what to do, the GOP race revolves around former Florida governor John E. “Jeb” Bush, the choice of 14 percent, and Wisconsin Gov. Scott K. Walker, polling at 10 percent.

Bush, the son of President George H. W. Bush and a younger brother of President George W. Bush, went from a stealth candidate over Thanksgiving to today’s full-blown exploratory candidate.

Gravis Marketing is an award-winning public relations firm with a clientele including political campaigns, public affairs organizations, consultants, and nonprofit organizations across the globe. It was founded in 2010 by Doug Kaplan.