Rick Santorum

New polls out of Iowa show Paul, Romney fighting for the top

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.

Rasmussen: Romney leading in Iowa

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.

Romney, Gingrich tied for lead in GOP primary

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.

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.

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.

GOP Presidential Power Rankings

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.

The News

Rick Perry declines invite to Trump debate

Rick Perry became the latest Republican hopeful to decline an invitation to the debate that will be moderated by Donald Trump on December 27th in Iowa:

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.

Gallup: Gingrich, Romney in statistical tie

As was noted in yesterday’s GOP Presidential Power Rankings, Newt Gingrich is coming on strong as he appears to be latest anti-Romney emerge from the pack. The latest numbers in the race from Gallup only serve to emphasize that point.

Here is how the field looks right now:

  • Newt Gingrich: 22%
  • Mitt Romney: 21%
  • Herman Cain: 16%
  • Ron Paul: 9%
  • Rick Perry: 8%
  • Michele Bachmann: 4%
  • Jon Huntsman: 1%
  • Rick Santorum: 1%
  • Other: 1%
  • None/No opinion: 18%

As you can see in the chart Gallup provided in their report of the poll numbers, this has been anything but a normal primary as the GOP electorate — though primarily tea party influenced and more conservative voters — moved back and forth between whatever Flavor of the Month has been put before them.

Unlikely Bachmann and Perry, Cain isn’t dropping off very far; despite the recently surfaced allegations of sexual harrassment. Most Republican voters aren’t bothered by those stories. They should, however, be very concerned at how his campaign has handled them and the frequent gaffes and lack of knowledge on policy issues that would come before him in the White House.

Another reason Cain has managed to hang on is due to some distrust of Gingrich among conservatives and tea partyers, which is understandable.

Santorum would use government to combat acceptance of gay marriage

It certainly isn’t news that Rick Santorum doesn’t care much for gay people, and he certainly doesn’t lie outside of the mainstream Republican view on gay marriage. What is slightly unorthodox about Santorum’s approach is his view of the government’s role in changing society. Fearful of the “consequence to society of changing this definition” of marriage, the former senator believes that government should have an active role in molding society’s view of gay marriage. Proof of that came when he was asked if he thought he could combat an increasing acceptance of gay marriage:

Christopher Patton, a Gary Johnson supporter, stopped Santorum as he approached his table and asked the candidate if he really felt he could “turn back the clock” on progress for gay marriage, considering that some polls show that a majority of Iowans under 30 years of age support it.

Santorum paused.

“Yeah, I do,” he replied.

It’s one thing to be intolerant of something and even to speak out against it publicly in an effort to persuade others – everyone is entitled to freedom of speech – but to use the power of government to force the masses to adhere to your set of morals is the textbook definition of bigotry.

 


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