A new poll released by CNN/Time this afternoon found that one in five Iowa Republican voters said "moral issues" -- like abortion and same-sex marriage -- will not be that important in deciding which candidate will get their support at the Jan. 3 Republican presidential caucus.
According to the poll, likely voters have placed former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney at the top of their caucus-going hearts -- for today. With 25 percent of voters saying they would vote for Romney, he is outpacing Texas Rep. Ron Paul by 3 percent, the same amount that separated the two in a poll conducted at the beginning of the month.
The big changes, however, were that former House Speaker Newt Gingrich lost his significant lead in the state, moving from 33 percent at the beginning of the month to 14 percent today, and that former Sen. Rick Santorum increased his support significantly, moving into 3rd with 16 percent support.
Regardless, 43 percent of survey respondents said that they could change their mind by time the caucus is held on Jan. 3.
When it comes to what issues Republicans in Iowa care about, the economy took a strong first with more than 90 percent of respondents saying the issue is extremely important or very important. In contrast, more than 70 percent said so about foreign affairs and national security policy and just more than 50 percent said so of moral issues such as abortion and gay marriage.
In addition, 19 percent of survey respondents said that moral issues were "not that important." In contrast, only 2 percent said the same of foreign affairs and none said so of the economy.
The survey results echo Log Cabin Republicans deputy executive director Christian Berle, who told Metro Weekly on Dec. 27, "Polls have consistently shown that potential Caucus-goers are primarily concerned with the economy and jobs as are Republicans across the country."
In New Hampshire, where CNN/Time also included independents who are likely to vote in the Republican primary there on Jan. 10, the distinction between "moral issues" and the others was even more striking. There, more likely voters -- 35 percent -- said issues like abortion and same-sex marriage would not be that important in deciding their vote than said the issue was either extremely or very important -- 34 percent. As to the other two areas, however, the responses were similar to those in Iowa.