Even though the Iowa caucus is over with and his surge is likely to be short-lived, Rick Santorum’s nephew, John Garver, wrote an piece for The Daily Caller that was run yesterday explaining that while he loves his uncle, he can’t support him and will instead back Ron Paul:
If you want another big-government politician who supports the status quo to run our country, you should vote for my uncle, Rick Santorum. America is based on a strong belief in individual liberty. My uncle’s interventionist policies, both domestic and foreign, stem from his irrational fear of freedom not working.
It is not the government’s job to dictate to individuals how they must live. The Constitution was designed to protect individual liberty. My Uncle Rick cannot fathom a society in which people cooperate and work with each other freely. When Republicans were spending so much money under President Bush, my uncle was right there along with them as a senator. The reason we have so much debt is not only because of Democrats, but also because of big-spending Republicans like my Uncle Rick.
It is because of this inability of status quo politicians to recognize the importance of our individual liberties that I have been drawn to Ron Paul. Unlike my uncle, he does not believe that the American people are incapable of forming decisions. He believes that an individual is more powerful than any group (a notion our founding fathers also believed in).
Republicans in Iowa will today head to caucus locations and cast their votes. In case you’ve been hiding under a rock these last few days, Rick Santorum is surging in that state at just the right time, where he may pull off an upset win.
Santorum, a former U.S. Senate from Pennsylvania who lost re-election in 2006 to Bob Casey by 18, often claims his opponents in the race, including Mitt Romney and Ron Paul, aren’t conservatives. He then goes on to cite his own “conservative” credentials, which are often limited to being anti-abortion and anti-gay.
But Santorum’s “conservative” record is dubious. While he and his supporters slam RomneyCare (passed in 2006) for covering abortion and Romney himself for giving mixed positions on the issue, Santorum endorsed him during the 2008 presidential campaign. Of course, Santorum is trying to play that down now. During a campaign appearance in Boone, Iowa, yesterday, Philip Klein reported on what Santorum told supporters:
He explained, “In the case of Gov. Romney and John McCain, I settled for what I thought was the best alternative out there…I didn’t see Mike Huckabee at that point, after having lost South Carolina and Florida, and not having at least by reports lot of money available, then I thought the best chance to stop John McCain was at that time Gov. Romney.”
We have yet another new poll out of Iowa today showing that the Rick Santorum surge is for real; at least right now. The poll, released by NBC, echoes others polls released this week by CNN and Rasmussen that show Santorum moving into third place overall. However, the NBC poll also shows Gingrich dropping to fifth.
- Mitt Romney: 23%
- Ron Paul: 21%
- Rick Santorum: 15%
- Rick Perry: 14%
- Newt Gingrich: 13%
- Michele Bachmann: 6%
Gingrich’s drop was aided by a substantial number of attack ads being run against by by super PACs and other campaigns. Perry has also seen a window of opportunity in recent days and attacking Santorum’s abysmal fiscal record, including his use of earmarks. Santorum’s defense is terrible.
The strangest development out of the state today is that Ron Paul will take this weekend off from the campaign trail to spend with his wife. With the caucus just a few days away, many observers are questioning the wisdom of such a move when public appearances to rally supporters are important. With that said, Paul does have a dedicated base of supporters that will no doubt continue working hard, but it helps to have the candidate there actively campaigning.
Things seem to be changing fast in Iowa. As was noted yesterday with CNN’s latest poll, Rick Santorum is starting to climb in the polls and Mitt Romney is beginning to emerge as a frontrunner in the state. Although there are questions about CNN’s sample and methodology, that seems to be backed up with the latest numbers out of the state from Rasmussen:
- Mitt Romney: 23%
- Ron Paul: 22%
- Rick Santorum: 16%
- Newt Gingrich: 13%
- Rick Perry: 13%
- Michele Bachmann: 5%
- Jon Huntsman: 3%
The Washington Post explains that the two main factors behind Santorum’s surge is that social conservatives abandoned Newt Gingrich and he now had some money to run ads in the Iowa. Previously, Santorum was the most underfunded candidates in the race. But this is probably to “too little, too late” for Santorum, though a third place finish would certainly justify him staying in the race.
Romney’s steady rise in Iowa is just as interesting since he was thought to have written off the state a few months ago. It’s not necessarily what his campaign is doing in the state. What really is playing to his advantage is a fractured conservative movement.
Looking at recent national polls, the same narrative seems to be playing out. Gallup reported yesterday in its national poll that Romney has now surpassed Gingrich for the first time since daily tracking began earlier this month.
Via the National Review comes a look at new ads on the air in Iowa from Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul, both of whom are hoping to raise their numbers in advance of Tuesday’s caucus.
Newt Gingrich’s latest ad touts his jobs plan, which he says would lower taxes on small business and promote energy independence:
And Ron Paul’s latest ad strike familiar themes of targeting Washington and criticizing Gingrich and Mitt Romney as “serial hypocrites” and “flip floppers.” The ad also promote Paul’s plan to cut spending by $1 trillion and balance the budget:
With less than a week to go before the Iowa caucus, the latest polls out of the Hawkeye State from CNN and Public Policy Polling show Ron Paul and Mitt Romney fighting for the top and Newt Gingrich falling.
The more shocking of the two polls is from CNN, who hasn’t conducted a survey in Iowa since earlier this month. As you can see below, both Paul and Romney have added modest support since the last poll (in parentesis to the side) while Gingrich has fallen substantially. But the wrinkle in that Santorum’s support has jumped by double-digits (remember what I wrote about him on Monday…don’t underestimate him).
- Mitt Romney: 25% (+5)
- Ron Paul: 22% (+5)
- Rick Santorum: 16% (+11)
- Newt Gingrich: 14% (-19)
- Rick Perry: 11% (+2)
- Michele Bachmann: 9% (+2)
- Jon Huntsman: 1% (—)
- None/No opinion: 2%
Public Policy Polling (PPP) also released polling on Tuesday, which I somehow overlooked, showing Paul still on top with Romney trailing him. PPP’s last poll from Iowa came out just before Christmas. You can also see that the uptick in Santorum’s support isn’t present as it is in the CNN poll.
We have another poll coming out of Iowa. This one comes from Rasmussen Reports, a GOP-leaning firm. If you’re a Ron Paul or Newt Gingrich supporter, then you’re not going to like the results.
While the previous three polls out of the state — from Iowa State University, Public Policy Polling, and Insider Advantage — showed Paul with a anywhere from a 3-6 point lead, Rasmussen shows Romney building on his lead from the survey they conducted last week.
- Mitt Romney: 25% (+2)
- Ron Paul: 20% (+2)
- Newt Gingrich: 17% (-3)
- Rick Perry: 10% (—)
- Rick Santorum: 10% (+4)
- Michele Bachmann: 6% (-3)
- Jon Huntsman: 4% (-1)
- Other/Not sure: 9%
That’s not to say I don’t believe Rasmussen, but it looks like most are conceeding that Paul will win the Iowa caucus; though his chances for winning the nomination are still very low. The problem for Romney is that a Paul win in Iowa could have influence on the New Hampshire primary, where he needs to do will in order to not worry about South Carolina.
And let’s keep in mind that Iowa is a caucus state, which is different from a traditional primary. Campaign organization is key here, and we know that Romney is investing a lot of resources there — but he isn’t giving up on it either. Gingrich, from what I’ve heard, is struggling to build a solid team. And we shouldn’t underestimate Santorum, though we all want to. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him finish ahead of Gingrich.
As we approach the Iowa caucus, we’re seeing several new polls released that show Newt Gingrich’s lead over Mitt Romney has completely evaporated. Take the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll showing both at 30%, with Ron Paul following well behind them in third:
- Mitt Romney: 30%
- Newt Gingrich: 30%
- Ron Paul: 15%
- Rick Perry: 7%
- Michele Bachmann: 7%
- Rick Santorum: 3%
- Jon Huntsman: 3%
- None/No opinion: 5%
The Hill has some important takeaways from the poll, including that 36% of Republican voters could still change their minds before they cast their ballot:
The poll shows Romney might still be winning the electability argument, as 38 percent believed that of all the candidates, Romney “has the best chance to defeat Barack Obama in the general election,” compared to Gingrich’s 28 percent. However, Gingrich wins 43 percent compared to Romney’s 23 percent when voters were asked who “has the best experience to be president.”
Healthcare — and likely his support of the individual mandate in Massachusetts — still seems to be the major obstacle for Romney to overcome with voters, as 36 percent named it a “major reason to oppose” him as the nominee.
With the last couple of polls out of Iowa showing him at the front of the pack (though one of them is within the margin of error) — thanks in large part to younger voters, Ron Paul has rolled out another new ad in early primary states.
The new ad, rolled out like a movie preview, shows Washington as a “lost city” that has “lost hope” where none of the political parties can agree on anything and shift blame on each other for failures. The ad shows Paul emerging as someone that has always remained constant, voting against every tax hike and will pushing for $1 trillion in spending cuts during his first year.
Here’s the ad: