GOP_Debate_CandidatesAnd the Winner is . . .

Mitt Romney may face a serious challenge in Iowa from an unexpected source: Newt Gingrich. Following CNBC’s “Your Money, Your Vote” Republican Presidential Debate, a Traders Reserve survey found former Speaker Gingrich to be the surprising leader among likely primary voters.

82% of survey respondents said they would be very likely to somewhat likely to vote in the upcoming Republican primaries with 72.1% in the ‘very likely’ category.

The survey, which was conducted in the 48 hours following the televised debate found 80% of respondents watched the CNBC debate and 43% said Newt Gingrich had the best performance among the candidates. Governor Romney was rated second, with 20.3% saying he performed best.  (See our Traders Reserve Pre-Debate Survey).

Ron Paul and Herman Cain rounded out the top four with 14.3% and 10.5% rankings.

According to the survey, Gingrich would capture 33.7% support among likely primary voters, a sharp turn around for a campaign that was left for dead by most major media outlets. Governor Romney was second with 15.3% of the vote, followed closely by Herman Cain (13.3%) and Ron Paul (11.7%).

12% of voters remained undecided following the debate, suggesting the primary races may be closer than many predict and will not be a Romney Runaway.

Rick Perry’s disastrous “Oops” moment will live on in YouTube infamy and certainly tanked his chances at the Republican nomination as 70% of those surveyed rated his performance the worst.

Rick_Perry_Oops_Moment-300x188Across the spectrum of issues debated, including jobs, the economy, taxes and the European Crisis, Gingrich was consistently rated as having the best answers to the questions posed. 56% of survey respondents believed Gingrich best addressed the issue of the economy while 46.5% believed he best addressed the issue of jobs.

In contrast, only 31% said Mitt Romney had best addressed the issue of jobs and only 29.4% believed Romney best addressed the economy.

CNBC opened the debate discussing the situation in Italy and pointedly asking candidates whether the U.S. should contribute to bailout efforts – yet 80% of those who watched the debate agreed with the Republican candidates that the United States needed to fix its own balance sheet before rushing to bailout more banks or other countries.

Republicans still have a long road to convince voters that they have the ideas and policies to effect change for America as two-thirds of likely voters remain concerned about their long term financial outlook. When asked if they thought they would be better off four years from now, 38.8% said they didn’t know, while 27.3% said no. Only 33.9% believe they would be better off four years from now.

The constant messaging by Republicans touting tax cuts to drive the economy forward were taking root among voters as 69% agreed that tax cuts would create jobs in the U.S.

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