Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Paul Surging in Iowa / Gingrich Stumbling?

In 2 polls on the GOP Presidential Primary race in Iowa released late yesterday, Ron Paul surged past Mitt Romney and into 2nd place. 

Public Policy Polling, the polling arm of the Daily Kos, has Ron Paul trailing frontrunner Newt Gingrich by just 1%, within the margin of error, with his support at the 21% level.  Mitt Romney trails Paul now at 16% support, and Michelle Bachman is in 4th with 11% support rounding out those in double digits.

Insider Advantage has frontrunner Newt Gingrich with a large 10 point lead (27%) over Ron Paul (17%), while Texas Governor Rick Perry (13%) is shown ahead of Mitt Romney (12%) and Michelle Bachmann (10%).  This is a big drop for the other GOP frontrunner, Mitt Romney.

Ron Paul is benefiting from a lot of effort made to build a strong 'ground game' inside Iowa in addition to building off a a very loyal base of supporters who focus more on Paul's message of 'strict constitutionalism' and anti-Federal Reserve Bank than they do on the far more disturbing and cranky positions regarding foreign policy, subscribing to conspiracy theories (9/11, Amero / North American Union), and connections to questionable groups / viewpoints.

Even with this surge, Paul is not surging in South Carolina or Florida where he remains in polling in the single digits.  Paul is a strong 3rd in New Hampshire, trailing the second place candidate Newt Gingrich by 5.3% on the Real Clear Politics average.

Nationally, reflecting Paul's overall standing within the Republican Party, he stands at 9.7% on the Real Clear Politics average. 

Rasmussen Reports released a new poll today that indicates some problems for the GOP frontrunner, Newt Gingrich in a head to head matchup with President Obama.  In a telephone survey of likely voters, President Obama earned 49% of the responses, while Newt Gingrich only earned 39% of the responses.  8% reported that they preferred another candidate and 4% were not sure / undecided.  This is a big change from a late November poll that had Gingrich leading the President 45% to 43%.

This poll, particularly, if matched with others, is going to fuel concerns about the electability of Newt Gingrich in November 2012 if he is the GOP candidate for President.  Overall, Mitt Romney is seen as the more electable candidate by the general population, but the GOP with it's strong conservative base still prefers Gingrich over Romney.

Some missteps by Gingrich this week, like his attack on Romney over his tenure at Bain Capital which mirrored an attack from the left, have done some damage to his candidacy as those on the fence in the GOP worry about more gaffes and missteps caused by Gingrich's sharp tongue.  Will these concerns outweigh the interests of many to see that sharpness directed at President Obama and his record / policies?

While the circumstances look good for an Obama defeat - nominating the wrong candidate will offset many of the advantages the Republican's have to gain the White House in 2012.  It's good that the Primary season still has a number of months to run before the GOP Convention.

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