DES MOINES — The Iowa Poll released Sunday shows Illinois Sen. Paul Simon leading the Democratic presidential field here and Kansas Sen. Bob Dole ahead of his Republican opponents.
The poll by the Des Moines Register found that 24% of Iowans who say they are likely to attend the Feb. 8 Democratic caucuses support Simon for President.
Massachusetts Gov. Michael S. Dukakis came in second with 18%, followed by Missouri Rep. Richard A. Gephardt with 14%, the Rev. Jesse Jackson with 11%, former Arizona Gov. Bruce Babbitt with 8% and Sen. Albert Gore Jr. with 3%.
Help From Biden Camp
Simon's rise to the top from a third-place showing in the Iowa Poll in August follows the withdrawal from the race of former Delaware Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr., many of whose Iowa supporters eventually moved into Simon's camp.
For the Record
Los Angeles Times Sunday November 22, 1987 Home Edition Part 1 Page 2 Column 6 National Desk 1 inches; 26 words Type of Material: Correction
In a story in Monday's editions on a presidential preference poll in Iowa, Delaware Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. was misidentified as a former senator. He is a former presidential candidate.
The poll results appeared to be the most disturbing for Gephardt, who was in first place in August. Gephardt has campaigned more days in Iowa than any of his opponents, building expectations of a strong showing here.
"It's Paul Simon's turn now in the spotlight," said Laura Nichols, Gephardt's Iowa campaign spokesperson. She called the Iowa situation "very fluid" and noted that Simon will now face greater scrutiny and pressure as a front-runner.
Nichols attributed Gephardt's drop at least in part to damage from unfounded allegations that his campaign had been responsible for making and distributing a videotape that helped push Biden out of the race. "We lost a lot of momentum for two weeks in October" because of the reports, she said.
Dukakis, whose campaign eventually admitted responsibility for the video, retained the second-place slot he had in the August poll. The video showed Biden borrowing a British politician's rhetoric and personal history and led to other damaging disclosures that ended his candidacy.
The new poll shows that one in five Democrats who plan to attend the caucuses are still undecided. Of those supporting a candidate, 62% said they are "somewhat likely" to change their minds by caucus night.
Bush Finishes Second
Among the Republicans, Dole polled 36%, followed by Vice President George Bush with 30%, New York Rep. Jack Kemp with 9%, former television evangelist Pat Robertson with 8%, former Delaware Gov. Pierre S. (Pete) du Pont IV with 5% and former Secretary of State Alexander M. Haig Jr. with 2%.
Robertson, who the poll showed has failed to make significant gains here, received two-thirds of his support from evangelicals and Christian fundamentalists.
Only 10% of the Republican caucus-goers polled said they were undecided, and 44% of those who favor a candidate said they were firmly decided.
The polls were taken from Oct. 29 through Nov. 12. The Republican poll of 312 Iowans had a margin of error of 5.5%, and the Democratic survey of 330 had an error margin of 5.4%.