Skip to main content

Iowa voters gear up for Republican presidential nomination

By Chris Welch, CNN
Click to play
Republicans ready to debate
  • Some voters say it is too early to pick an ideal candidate
  • "It's definitely time to start paying attention," Iowa resident Sue Janka says
  • She says she supported Obama in 2008, but her allegiance may be shifting

CNN hosts the first New Hampshire Republican presidential debate on Monday from Manchester at 8 p.m. ET. Follow all the issues and campaign news leading up to the debate on and @cnnpolitics on Twitter.

Clear Lake, Iowa (CNN) -- Eight months from now, Iowa will once again lead the nation as the first state to officially vote for a Republican presidential nominee.

And while it may be early, potential 2012 candidates have been making trips to the Hawkeye State for months.

This week, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, fresh off the heels of announcing his candidacy, made the rounds on Iowa talk radio and made a stop in West Des Moines. Two weeks ago, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty announced his candidacy in front of the state capitol in Des Moines.

But as the election nears, some voters say it is too early to be standing firmly behind one candidate at this stage in the game.

"I'm kind of inclined to lean toward Mitt Romney," Mike Janka said as he and his wife tried to beat the heat at the lake.

Sue Janka said her allegiances may be shifting.

"I supported Obama (in '08), but I'm not real happy with what he is proposing for health care," she said. "And the economy is going south."

New poll: Obama vulnerable
2012 hopeful Herman Cain: His stance
Mitt Romney talks gay marriage
Rick Santorum: 'I'm ready to lead'

The Jankas said they wish President Barack Obama had a more efficient plan for the removal of U.S. troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.

It's "definitely" a possibility that they will support a Republican candidate based on those reasons, they said.

While Romney currently stands out in Mike Janka's eyes, both admitted they still need to do more research on the GOP contenders.

"It's definitely time to start paying attention," Sue Janka said.

Kermit and Judy Studer are in a similar boat.

They are dissatisfied with Obama's handling of health care and the economy, and they're generally disappointed with Washington.

"I don't like the idea that everybody in the government gets all of the perks," Judy Studer said, as she and her husband sat at a shade-covered picnic table near the lake.

"The rest of us work ourselves (to death) and we don't get the perks, we don't get the cuts, we don't get anything."

The Studers say if a Republican they can get behind comes along, they'll gladly support them over Obama.

So far, Romney is one of the few candidates who has come close to gaining some respect from the Studers.

"He's the best the we've got so far ... more experience than most of them," Kermit said.

One thing is for sure, they won't be supporting Michele Bachmann, who appears poised to jump in the race, or Sarah Palin, who may still throw her hat in.

"Definitely no, I'm sorry," Judy Studer said, calling them more "showy" than anything.

She'd like to believe there's a female candidate out there who can finally make it to the top job.

"(The ideal woman would) still have to have a little finesse, but a lot of knowledge. I think there's a lot of (potential candidates) out there. I don't know any of them, but I know there are."

If any of them decide to go with a Republican, they will be able to caucus for their candidate -- no matter how late in the game.

In Iowa, even though you must be registered Republican to caucus, same-day registration is permitted at the caucus location on February 6, 2012.