Five weeks before the Iowa presidential caucuses, Kansas Sen. Bob Dole is significantly ahead of Vice President George Bush among the state's Republican voters, and former Colorado Sen. Gary Hart is 2-1 ahead of his nearest rivals among Democrats, according to a public opinion survey in Iowa by the Gallup Organization.
Dole was favored by 44% of Iowa Republican voters, compared to 29% for Bush. New York Rep. Jack Kemp and former television evangelist Pat Robertson each received 6%; former Delaware Gov. Pierre S. (Pete) du Pont IV, 3%, and former Secretary of State Alexander M. Haig Jr., 2%.
Hart, who re-entered the race Dec. 15, was favored by 34% of Iowa Democratic voters. Illinois Sen. Paul Simon was favored by 16%; Missouri Rep. Richard A. Gephardt, 15%; Massachusetts Gov. Michael S. Dukakis, 13%; the Rev. Jesse Jackson, 7%; former Arizona Gov. Bruce Babbitt, 2%, and Tennessee Sen. Albert Gore Jr., 1%.
Among Biggest Margins
The margins for Dole and Hart are among the largest recorded by a public opinion survey in Iowa. The Des Moines Register poll last month had Dole ahead of Bush 37% to 33% and Hart leading Simon 29% to 18%.
Gallup polled 519 Republican voters and 588 Democratic voters, resulting in a margin of error of 5 points in either direction. Thus among Democrats, Simon, Gephardt and Dukakis are in a statistical tie behind Hart.
The Republican race in Iowa seems very much a Dole vs. Bush affair, Gallup officials said. Few Republican voters consider any of the other candidates as even a second choice.
Despite Dole's considerable lead, Bush can remain competitive because of the degree of commitment to his candidacy his supporters are showing, according to Gallup. Much of the Dole lead is "soft," indicating that his supporters could shift to Bush on the day of the caucus, the pollsters said.
Second Place Important
Among Democrats, Hart's front-runner status "may be well ahead of his campaign organization's ability to bring that support to the caucuses," they said, thus making second place in pre-caucus surveys particularly important.
The Gallup survey found that Simon's star has fallen somewhat in the state, with his support now apparently less firm than his rivals among those most likely to attend the Democratic caucuses.
Gephardt, appealing most to older Democrats, remains in the thick of things in Iowa, a state crucial to sustaining his candidacy, while Dukakis is well-organized and shows the most potential to break out of the pack.