As mentioned in today’s GOP Presidential Power Rankings, Mitt Romney now leads in South Carolina, an important early primary state, and Newt Gingrich has fallen to third thanks to a surging Rick Santorum.
Here are the results of the new Rasmussen poll:
- Mitt Romney: 27%
- Rick Santorum: 24%
- Newt Gingrich: 18%
- Ron Paul: 11%
- Rick Perry: 5%
- Jon Huntsman: 2%
Romney’s lead has also been confirmed by surveys conducted by Public Polling Polling and CNN/Time, and he’s outside of the margin of error in those polls. This is obviously good news for Romney, who may wind up with a clean sweep of the four January primaries. The bad news for Romney is that Gingrich still has time to impact the race in the two weeks between the New Hampshire and South Carolina primary.
Speaking of Santorum; yes, he has managed to receive a bump in the polls, but his numbers are really limited to social conservatives. Fiscal conservatives are rightfully skeptical of him and are largely staying with other candidates. That gives you the feeling that Santorum has reached ceiling.
With Iowa out of the way, our attention shifts to New Hampshire where, according to the latest poll from Suffolk University, shows Mitt Romney ahead by a wide margin over his rivals for the Republican nomination:
- Mitt Romney: 41%
- Ron Paul: 18%
- Rick Santorum: 8%
- Newt Gingrich: 7%
- Jon Huntsman: 7%
- Michele Bachmann: 1%
- Buddy Romer: 1%
- Rick Perry: 0%
- Undecided: 17%
Other polls, as noted in this morning’s headlines, show Santorum gaining a bit more of a bump than Suffolk University, which is doing daily tracking of New Hampshire. However, New Hampshire really isn’t fertile ground for Santorum anyway. His next hurdle is South Carolina. Perry’s numbers, of lack thereof, in New Hampshire will be easy to shrug off since he is also focused on the Palmetto State.
Here are some details on the numbers:
Romney’s drop was driven by the three conservative counties of Belknap, Merrimack, and Strafford in central New Hampshire, where his 16 point advantage over Paul shrunk to just an 8 percent lead while Santorum grew to 10 percent there.
Paul is winning 24 percent of Independent voters, which is limiting Jon Huntsman’s ability to grow with Independents. Despite improved strength, Paul still trails Romney by 13 percentage points among Independents. Santorum is now winning 13 percent of conservatives and 13 percent of women ages 18-44 years as he sets his sights on Paul.
Huntsman has staked his campaign in New Hampshire, so a third place finish could make him rethink sticking around for Super Tuesday, which is too bad. Most of us, myself included, never really gave him a fair shake.
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.
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.
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 http://bit.ly/rPwWkZ in 2008 he drew 9% there to Mitt’s 26%. His ceiling’s too low.
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.
There wasn’t a shake up in the race for the Republican Party’s nomination for president in the last week. It certainly looks like Newt Gingrich is tightening his grip as the frontrunner and Mitt Romney is becoming desperate to knock him down. Meanwhile, Ron Paul is emerging as a legitimate candidate.
You can see the latest polling out of Iowa here. And in case you missed it, Saturday evening’s debate at Drake University in Des Moines, you can watch it below.
Please note that we’ve removed Herman Cain (suspended campaign) and Gary Johnson (likely running for the Libertarian Party’s nomination) from the power rankings.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry is the latest GOP presidential candidate to decline an invitation to the controversial debate that will be hosted by Donald Trump, saying that “retail campaigning” in the days leading up to the Iowa caucuses is his “top priority.”
“Gov. Perry has talked to Donald Trump in recent days and respects him and the folks at Newsmax very much,” said campaign manager Ray Sullivan in a statement. “In the coming weeks, Gov. Perry will be in Iowa almost continually, meeting with real voters, doing town-hall meetings and events and talking American jobs, faith and overhauling Washington, D.C., to Iowa voters.”
The campaign also pointed out that there are two debates in the next seven days.
Jon Huntsman, Ron Paul, and Mitt Romney have already declined invitations. Michele Bachmann backed out yesterday. RNC Chairman Reince Priebus has urged candidates not to attend, largely because Trump is still kicking around the idea of running in an independent or third party bid.
As noted on Monday, Donald Trump will moderate a Republican debate hosted by Newsmax on December 27th in Iowa. There has been some pushback inside Republican circle as Jon Huntsman and Ron Paul almost immediately declined invites. Mitt Romney has also declined. Michele Bachmann has not actually said whether she plans to attend, but did express “concern” about the debate.
Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum accepted the invitations, and Gingrich also defended Trump against criticism from Paul that it would be a circus:
After a nearly hour-long meeting at Trump Tower, Donald Trump and Newt Gingrich emerged for a joint news conference, during which the former House speaker defended The Donald from slams from Ron Paul that Trump moderating a debate would create a “circus” atmosphere.