As noted yesterday, President Obama has made it clear that he intends to use Bain Capital as part of his campaign against Mitt Romney. His team no doubt hopes that they can reignite the same populist craze that put him in the White House by tearing down private equity in the process, despite the fact that he takes their money (a shocker, I know) and took economic advice from Jon Corzine, former head of MF Global.
But a new poll from Rasmussen shows that the attacks aren’t working, and may indeed hurt Obama more than it helps him:
Democrats have begun criticizing Mitt Romney’s business record, but a plurality of voters view the Republican’s business past as a positive.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 44% of Likely U.S. Voters believe that Romney’s track record in business is primarily a reason to vote for him. Thirty-three percent (33%) see his business career as chiefly a reason to vote against him. Twenty-two percent (22%) are undecided.
With just a couple of days to go until the South Carolina Republican primary, we’re seeing some movement of the anti-Romney vote in the state back to Newt Gingrich as Rick Santorum falls back to earth.
This is reflected in several surveys, but to show you the numbers, here is a look at the last four polls out of South Carolina conducted by Rasmussen, who has done the most frequent polling in the state.
|1/18||31%||33% ||11% ||15% ||2%|
|1/12||28%||28% ||16%||16% ||6% |
What is exactly is happening to cause this second Gingrich surge? While Romney benefited from a fractured conservative base and many Republican voters accepting the “inevitably” of his nomination, recent strong debate performances and questions about Santorum’s fiscal conservatism and electability are bringing anti-Romney vote back into a one camp.
Gingrich will no doubt be aided by Perry’s withdrawal and endorsement even though his numbers weren’t all that great. The fiasco in Iowa, a state that Santorum seems to have now won — though some ballots have been lost, has showed us that every vote matters in this election. As I noted earlier, Perry’s supporters may just be what pushes Gingrich over the top in South Carolina.
At this point, there is little question that Newt Gingrich’s criticism of Mitt Romney’s time at Bain Capital has backfired. Gingrich himself recently acknowledged that the rhetoric may have been taken too far, allowing President Barack Obama to take yet another opening to slam capitalism.
You need only look at the separation between Romney and Gingrich in the polls to know that Gingrich has done himself no favors. Moreover, a new Rasmussen poll show voters, at this point, aren’t particularly concerned about Romney’s career.
And perhaps the biggest blackeye, which Romney may wind up using to his advantage, comes approval of the line of attack by Gingrich from anti-capitalist filmmaker and Occupy Wall Street supporter, Michael Moore:
Hollywood came early to the 2012 presidential race in the unlikely form of “When Mitt Romney Came to Town,” the 28-minute documentary-style attack film that opens with the word “capitalism” and comes to an end with chants of “Wall Street greed.”
While watching it, I half-expected to see Michael Moore, the creator of “Roger and Me” and “Bowling for Columbine,” walk onto the screen to hammer the point home.
Mr. Moore half-expected it himself, even if the film was paid for by supporters of Newt Gingrich.
“I wondered who they stole from my crew,” Mr. Moore said in a phone interview. “It was fun to hear what I have been saying for 20 years, not just by any Republican candidate, but Newt Gingrich.”
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.
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.
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.
The race for the Republican presidential nomination is beginning to get interesting as the gap in the polls between Rick Perry and Mitt Romney begins to close, according to the latest numbers from Gallup.
- Rick Perry: 31%
- Mitt Romney: 24%
- Ron Paul: 13%
- Michele Bachmann: 5%
- Newt Gingrich: 5%
- Herman Cain: 5%
- Rick Santorum: 2%
- Jon Huntsman: 1%
- Other: 4%
- No opinion: 10%
Perry did pick up two points from last the Gallup survey in the race. But Romney gained substantially, jumping from 17% to 24% in just a few weeks. While he’s still in third overall, Ron Paul is held steady. Michele Bachmann, continuing the trend irrelevance in the race, fell sharply from 10% in late August to 5%.
It’s bad news for Perry because he is beginning to fall back to earth. Moreover, Perry lost ground in a potential head-to-head matchup with President Barack Obama (he was tied last month) while Romney remained steady.
- Obama: 50%
- Perry: 45%
- Other: 3%
- No opinion: 2%
Over and over again, I get told that Ron Paul isn’t a serious candidate. After all, he’s Ron Paul. However, Jason posted yesterday showing a recent Rasmussen poll of Iowa of voters likely to take part in the Iowa Caucus that clearly shows Paul is among the so-called top tier of candidates:
A Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of those likely to participate in the Iowa GOP Caucus shows that Perry is the first choice for 29%. Essentially tied for second are Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann at 18% and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney at 17%. Texas Congressman Ron Paul picks up 14% of the vote, and nobody else currently reaches the five percent (5%) mark. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
With the margin of error at on +/- 3%, Paul is clearly holding his own against everyone but Rick Perry. However, historically, front runner status this early isn’t always an indication of later victory. He wouldn’t be the first candidate to crash and burn later in the race. A lot of Perry’s polling comes from being the “shiny and new” candidate, though a fair amount also comes from being a very charismatic governor. While those drawn to his charisma aren’t likely to back down in the near future, the “shiny and new” crowd are likely to jump ship later.
Rassmussen released a new survey out of Iowa on Friday, their first since the Ames Straw Poll, showing Texas Gov. Rick Perry with a double-digit lead over Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
- Rick Perry: 29%
- Michele Bachmann: 18%
- Mitt Romney: 17%
- Ron Paul: 14%
According to Rasmussen, nobody else in the race polled above 5% (that info is behind a paywall and I’m reluctant to share it here), so it’s a four person race; including Texas Rep. Ron Paul. Bachmann and Romney were at 22% and 21%, respectively, in the last Rasmussen poll out of Iowa. Paul was at 16%. But there has been a shakeup in the race since then as Perry has jumped in (he polled at 12% in the last Rasmussen poll) and Tim Pawlenty has dropped out (he was at 11%).
While Public Policy Polling left him out of the Republican candidates they polled against Barack Obama (and oddly included Herman Cain, who is polling low in the GOP field), Rasmussen released a poll yesterday showing Ron Paul just 1 point down from the president.
- Obama: 39%
- Paul: 38%
- Other: 14%
- Undecided: 8%
Rasmussen also matched Sarah Palin, former Governor of Alaska and 2008 GOP nominee for Vice President, against Obama. She didn’t fare so well, trailing by 17 points to our increasingly unpopular president.
This is the second poll this week to show Ron Paul competitive against President Obama. In case you missed it, Gallup released polling on Monday testing four GOP candidates against Obama. Ron Paul came within 2 points. Don’t look for this to be reported or anything, the media is too busy covering Jon Huntsman.