In an ABC News/Washington Post poll released Sunday, former Romney leads his Republican rivals, both in overall support and ratings of personal attributes, but Iowa caucus-goers indicate they are eager for more GOP choices at the ballot box.
Only 19 percent of likely Republican caucus-goers say they're "very satisfied" with their choices in the presidential contest. (On the Democratic side, 53 percent are "very satisfied.")
In the current climate, 26 percent of likely Republican caucus-goers back Romney. Giuliani comes in at 14 percent, while former Sen. Fred Thompson -- who has yet to formally announce his candidacy or campaign in Iowa -- has a 13 percent backing. McCain and Huckabee each have 8 percent support.
Lukewarm Republican enthusiasm in Iowa manifests itself in several ways. If it doesn't heat up until the caucus next January, it could lend to lower turnout -- Iowans are currently less likely to say they'll attend a Republican caucus than a Democratic one. Low turnout of GOP caucus-goers could ultimately hurt such candidates as Giuliani, who do less well among conservative Republicans.
On the other hand, a spark-free candidate pool also opens the possibility of shifting presidential preferences in the Hawkeye State. Romney is the party's front-runner in Iowa, but only 41 percent of Romney's backers support him "strongly," and across the GOP strong support runs to just 46 percent. (Strong support for Democrats in Iowa is 10 points higher, peaking at 60 percent for Hillary Clinton.)