Ron Paul leads in Iowa

With the Iowa caucus just a couple of weeks away, camapaigns are working hard to make a good impression on voters and to push down rivals. Polls earlier this month had showed Newt Gingrich doing well in the Hawkeye State, but as his record has been attacked, his base of support has dropped.

Recent polls had showed Gingrich in a statistical tie with Paul and/or Mitt Romney in the state; but according to the latest survey from Public Policy Polling (PPP), Gingrich has bottomed out and Ron Paul now leads (though Romney is in the margin of error):

  • Ron Paul: 23%
  • Mitt Romney: 20%
  • Newt Gingrich: 14%
  • Rick Perry: 10%
  • Michele Bachmann: 10%
  • Rick Santorum: 10%
  • Jon Huntsman: 4%
  • Other/Not sure: 7

PPP dives into Paul’s numbers:

Paul’s ascendancy is a sign that perhaps campaigns do matter at least a little, in a year where there has been a lot of discussion about whether they still do in Iowa.  22% of voters think he’s run the best campaign in the state compared to only 8% for Gingrich and 5% for Romney. The only other candidate to hit double digits on that question is Bachmann at 19%. Paul also leads Romney 26-5 (with Gingrich at 13%) with the 22% of voters who say it’s ‘very important’ that a candidate spends a lot of time in Iowa.  Finally Paul leads Romney 29-19 among the 26% of likely voters who have seen one of the candidates in person.

Some pundits already dismissing a possible Ron Paul win in Iowa

With Gingrich falling in the polls, the very real prospect of Ron Paul winning the Iowa caucus has some, including Chris Wallace of Fox News, saying that it will cheapen its significance. None of that is to say he will win, but it’s clear that there is an element in Republican politics that is going to downplay Paul’s impact in the race.

Over at The Atlantic, Conor Friedersdorf explains that downplaying Paul and his views — as so many, including the National Review, are trying to do — is a mistake:

Dismissing the burgeoning number of Americans on the right who are suspicious of interventionism and hawkishness is intellectually suspect and unwise. A majority of Republicans now think that the Iraq War was a mistake. The general non-interventionist impulse on the right has never completely gone away. Paul is by no means the ideal vehicle for non-interventionism. But insofar as he plays a significant role in the GOP primary, it will be partly due to the fact that the legitimate concerns he articulates are taken up by no other viable candidate. One needn’t be an ardent Paul supporter to suspect that National Review would rather that no viable GOP candidate spoke up to challenge the hawkish impulses on the elite right .

Gingrich losing ground fast in Iowa

Things are really getting interesting in Iowa. Polls have shifted during the course of the week. What looked like a strong lead for Newt Gingrich diminished into a tie with Ron Paul. But the latest survey from Rasmussen of likely caucus-goers shows Mitt Romney emerging with a slight lead.

  • Mitt Romney: 23%
  • Newt Gingrich: 20%
  • Ron Paul: 18%
  • Rick Perry: 10%
  • Michele Bachmann: 9%
  • Rick Santorum: 6%
  • Jon Huntsman: 5%
  • Other: 2%
  • Not sure: 8%

Byron York explains the significance of the poll:

In the new survey, every candidate but Gingrich gained support in the last few weeks. The biggest gainers were Romney, up four points; Paul, up eight points; and Perry, up four points.  Michele Bachmann climbed three points, as did Jon Huntsman, who has been to Iowa a grand total of one time in the campaign.

Gingrich, on the other hand, fell 12 points.
Gingrich has been the target of a barrage of attack ads on Iowa television and radio, particularly from Paul, Romney, and Perry.  The consensus among Iowa GOP insiders is that those ads are beginning to take a toll.  “That stuff has an impact, where people are at least going to pause” in their enthusiasm for Gingrich, says Bob vander Plaats, an influential Iowa social conservative leader.

National Review comes out against Newt Gingrich

Despite his rise in the polls, not all conservatives are sold on Newt Gingrich. In recent days, Gingrich’s shortcomings as Speaker, his inconsistencies, and support for a bigger, more intrusive government have been the focal point of many in the right-leaning blogosphere.

In recent days, Gingrich has been rightfully criticized by Fred Barnes and George Will for comments about Mitt Romney’s time in the private sector. While Gingrich passes these off as a “joke,” it’s clear that he doesn’t understand the difference between capitalism (the concept of profit and loss) and corporatism, which he engaged in during his time as a lobbyist for Freddie Mac.

To make his growing problem worse, the editors of the conservative National Review came out strongly against Gingrich’s candidacy yesterday:

Trump backs out of Newsmax debate

Donald Trump has backed out of the December 27th debate, hosted by the conservative magazine, Newsmax, after several Republicans candidates turned down invitations to participate. Why? Well, Trump says it’s because he is still considering an independent bid for president:

Donald Trump has backed out of moderating a Republican debate because, he says, he’s still considering running for president as an independent candidate.

In a statement on Tuesday, Trump said that GOP candidates are “very concerned” that he will announce an independent candidacy after “The Apprentice” ends, and that they won’t agree to a debate with him unless he rules that out. Which he won’t do.

“It is very important to me that the right Republican candidate be chosen to defeat the failed and very destructive Obama Administration, but if that Republican, in my opinion, is not the right candidate, I am not willing to give up my right to run as an Independent candidate,” Trump said in his statement. “Therefore, so that there is no conflict of interest within the Republican Party, I have decided not to be the moderator of the Newsmax debate.”

Ron Paul tied with Newt Gingrich in Iowa

Yesterday, I noted new polling from the American Research Group showing that Rick Perry was making a bit of a comeback in Iowa. That may or may not be true. Polls are difficult to read and nearly everyone shows something different, but what we do know is that Newt Gingrich’s support is fading.

The latest poll from Public Policy Polling (PPP), which is a Democratic firm, shows that Ron Paul is now in a statistical tie with Gingrich. Here is how the field shapes up in the Hawkeye State, at least according to PPP:

  • Newt Gingrich: 22% (-5)
  • Ron Paul: 21% (+3)
  • Mitt Romney: 16% (—)
  • Michele Bachmann: 11% (-2)
  • Rick Perry: 9% (—)
  • Rick Santorum: 8% (+2)
  • Jon Huntsman: 5% (+1)
  • Gary Johnson: 1% (—)
  • Other/Not sure: 7%

PPP also shows Paul with the highest favorability, 61%, of any of the Republicans candidates. Only 31% have an unfavorable view of the Texas Congressman.

When these results were release yesterday, I saw several conservative scoff at them. For example, RedState’s Dan tweeted this:

Folks, Ron Paul can’t crack 20% in IA in 2008 he drew 9% there to Mitt’s 26%. His ceiling’s too low.

Ron Paul’s latest ad attacking Newt Gingrich

In a new web ad, Ron Paul’s take another hard shot at Newt Gingrich for “selling access” to Washington, nothing several dozen ethics complaints filed against him during his time in Congress and time as a lobbyist and consultant for Freddie Mac. The ad also notes that Gingrich personal wealth grew substantially by the time he left Congress. And Paul once again points out that Gingrich backed an individual mandate for health insurance.

The video was released on the same day a new poll out of Iowa shows Gingrich is losing ground as both Mitt Romney and Paul are within five points:

Rick Perry moving up in Iowa?

After coming on strong in August and September and largely stealing Michele Bachmann’s thunder, Rick Perry was knocked down a peg after a some bad debate performances and gaffes. But don’t look now, Perry may be making a comeback in Iowa, at least according to a new poll from the American Research Group (ARG).

  • Newt Gingrich: 22% (-5)
  • Ron Paul: 17% (+1)
  • Mitt Romney: 17% (-3)
  • Rick Perry: 13% (+8)
  • Michele Bachmann: 7% (+1)
  • Rick Santorum: 7% (+1)
  • Jon Huntsman: 5% (+2)
  • Other: 1%
  • Undecided: 12%

As you can see, Perry has seen an 8 point jump in his numbers since the last ARG poll, while Gingrich and Romney have declined. Here are some other key points from the poll from the Houston Chronicle:

Perry’s in fourth with 13 percent, almost as much as the 14 percent support he had in September when his campaign trail looked a bit smoother than it’s turned out to be.

Perry, however, jumps slightly ahead of Paul (still within the four-point margin-of-error) with strong Republican respondents, pulling 14 percent of their support to Paul’s 13 percent. But Paul rules the Independent vote in Iowa—a full 39 percent of respondents identifying as Independents say they’ll vote for him. Gingrich is first with Republicans and second with Independents, but Jon Huntsman, perennially stuck at the bottom of the pack, is close behind him with Independents, polling with 13 percent of their support.

Gingrich drops his first ad in Iowa

With polls showing him with a growing lead over the rest of the pack — a lead that has largely fallen in his lap, Newt Gingrich has finally started to run ads in Iowa, less than a month before the state’s caucus.

The minute-long ad channels Ronald Reagan, who often spoke of America’s best days being ahead of us; though Gingrich is not as passionate or eloquent. Gingrich says that the “America we know and love” is not a thing of the past, adding that “we can rebuild America.” Gingrich mentions a restoring the confidence of small-business owners, putting a “simple and fair” tax code into place; and regaining respect in the world by “standing strong again”:

Gingrich builds on lead in Iowa, South Carolina

With less than a month to go until the Iowa caucus, a new poll from ABC News and the Washington Post shows him opening his lead on Mitt Romney and Ron Paul among likely caucus-goers:

Gingrich, according to the survey, has advantages that extend well beyond the horse race that put him in an enviable position in the final weeks before the state’s Jan. 3 caucuses, which serve as the formal start of the long nominating season. On electability, empathy and handling the economy, he does as well as or better than former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, who has long been described as the nominal front-runner for the nomination, or Rep. Ron Paul (Tex.).
With 33 percent support among likely caucus-goers in the new poll, Gingrich runs well ahead of his two main rivals, Romney and Paul, a libertarian whose passionate following and anti-government rhetoric have made him a durable force in the race. Both are at 18 percent.

But Iowa Republicans are far from decided. More than six in 10 potential caucus-goers say they could change their minds, and even among the likeliest attendees, fewer than half say they have definitely chosen a candidate.

Of the top three, Paul’s supporters are the most solid, followed by Gingrich’s and Romney’s.

Here are the full results of the poll:

The views and opinions expressed by individual authors are not necessarily those of other authors, advertisers, developers or editors at United Liberty.