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Ron Paul First, Romney Second, Newt Gingrich Slips To Third In New Iowa Poll

Hot off the presses from Public Policy Polling is a new poll which seems to indicate a major collapse in Newt Gingrich’s support in Iowa:

Newt Gingrich’s campaign is rapidly imploding, and Ron Paul has now taken the lead in Iowa.  He’s at 23% to 20% for Mitt Romney, 14% for Gingrich, 10% each for Rick Santorum, Michele Bachmann, and Rick Perry, 4% for Jon Huntsman, and 2% for Gary Johnson.

Gingrich has now seen a big drop in his Iowa standing two weeks in a row.  His share of the vote has gone from 27% to 22% to 14%.  And there’s been a large drop in his personal favorability numbers as well from +31 (62/31) to +12 (52/40) to now -1 (46/47). Negative ads over the last few weeks have really chipped away at Gingrich’s image as being a strong conservative- now only 36% of voters believe that he has ‘strong principles,’ while 43% think he does not.

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.

Paul’s base of support continues to rely on some unusual groups for a Republican contest.  Among voters under 45 he’s at 33% to 16% for Romney and 11% for Gingrich.  He’s really going to need that younger than normal electorate because with seniors Romney’s blowing him out 31-15 with Gingrich coming in 2nd at 18%. Paul is also cleaning up 35-14 with the 24% of voters who identify as either Democrats or independents. Romney is actually ahead 22-19 with GOP voters.  Young people and non-Republicans are an unusual coalition to hang your hat on in Iowa, and it will be interesting to see if Paul can actually pull it off.

Romney’s vote share is up 4 points from a week ago to 20% from it previous 16% standing. His favorability numbers have improved a little bit as well from 48/44 to 49/40. One thing Romney really has going for him is more room for growth than Paul.  Among voters who say they’re not firmly committed to their current candidate choice, Romney is the second choice for 19% compared to 17% for Perry, 15% for Bachmann, and only 13% for Paul.   It’s particularly worth noting that among Gingrich- who seems more likely to keep falling than turn it around- voters, he’s the second choice of 30% compared to only 11% for Paul.

In addition to having more support right now Paul also has firmer support (73% solidly committed) than Romney does (68% solidly committed.) But at the same time Romney appears to have more room for growth, which could allow him to overtake Paul in the last two weeks.

The idea of Ron Paul in first place in Iowa is likely to draw a lot of attention over coming days, but it’s the Gingrich numbers that are really the most fascinating. Over the course of three weeks he’s gone from the seeming prohibitive leader in the Iowa Caucuses to third place. And, it’s not just one single poll showing Gingrich’s collapse, as the RCP polling chart shows:

If these trends are an accurate reflection of  voter sentiment. then they would indicate that Gingrich has followed the same path as all the other contenders that have arisen since this race started in earnest in August, a swift and sudden rise, followed by a sudden fall.

This should not come entirely as a surprise, of course. Just last week, we saw Ron Paul pull to within one point of Gingrich in the PPP poll, and that was before yet another week of fails strident attacks on Gingrich from Paul, Romney, Perry, and Bachmann. Additionally as I noted last week and just this morning, there were already signs that Gingrich’s support was starting to slip, although nothing to indicate that the slippage was quite this extreme. In the PPP poll, Gingrich slipped from 22% down to 14%. Paul, meanwhile, ticked up slightly and Mitt Romney jumped up from 16% to 20%. With the exception of Paul’s 1 point up-tick, all of these moves were outside the margin of error.

Obviously, this is just one poll so we’ll need to see if this is replicated in other results, of course,  but for the moment it looks like the negative campaign against Gingrich, of which Paul and Romney have been the primary instigators on Iowa television, is working. Whether Gingrich is able to reverse this remains to be seen.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Ron Beasley says:

    Ron Paul – last anti Romney standing? The neocons worst nightmare!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  2. Peter says:

    Just wait for Paul’s baggage to be exposed as Gingrich’s has been in the last couple of weeks and his numbers will follow the same path. Not necessarily in time for the Iowa caucus, but soon after.

    I can’t help myself thinking that the only reason the GOP establishment left Paul alone while they went after Gingrich in a big way, was that it helped Romney by dividing the anti-Mitt.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 6

  3. ponce says:

    Paul is the only Republican candidate I’d consider voting for (for about 5 seconds).

    OT: Whatever happened to Sarah Palin?

    Two weeks to Iowa and I haven’t seen anything on her in weeks…or has it been months?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

  4. superdestroyer says:

    Who cares? Does anyone really believe that any of these failed candidates can beat President Obama.

    I guess spending most of 2012 posting about irrelevant Republicans beats spending the year thinking about issues, policy, or governance.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 11

  5. Nikki says:

    @superdestroyer: It’s so nice to see you (especially you!) admit it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  6. Jordan Bourne says:

    Paul doesn’t have any baggage to speak of. He’s that squeaky clean. Anything you might hear to the contrary are just fabricated lies to try and knock him down. Every bad thing you’ve heard about Gingrich and Romney are true, so that will be the big difference. Ron Paul is a smart, honest, and honorable man. He hasn’t done anything wrong in 30 years of politics. Now that is a truely remarkable feat. The man deserves not only our attention, but our respect. When did balancing a budget, giving you back your god given freedoms and promoting peace become such a crazy notion? Ron Paul is the only candidate who takes the time to actually STUDY the facts about the current situation at home and abroad. The things he says are based on fact not rhetoric to win your vote. You should consider that next time you let Sean Hannity or Rush Lameballs sway how you think. Do your own research, think for yourself and come to your own conclusions based on that information. This man will bring America back to it’s glory days when everyone, especially this mad man Obama are pulling the rug out from under us every chance they get. Don’t believe me? Well how about a skyrocketing national debt, I mean 5Trillion dollars added in 3 years (wow), a new bill to detain AMERICANS indefinitely without the due process of law. New and expanded presidential powers that allow the president to assasinate any AMERICAN he see’s fit. Bailout and bailout of OUR MONEY being wasted to prop up banks and companies that mismanaged themselves to OUR OWN PERIL because they have our money as a safety net. The list goes on and on. All these establishment types are all the same because they’re all doing the bidding of Goldman Sachs. Don’t believe that last sentence? Do a google search and find out exactly how many previous Goldman Sachs employees happen to be working at the White House as we speak. Don’t let America fall. Vote Ron Paul in 2012!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 3

  7. sam says:

    @Nikki:

    Ah, Nikki, that is the standard SupeD line: The election is in the bag for the Dems because there is no way the white-honorary-white-asian-real-murican Republicans can overcome the numerical advantages of the the black-brown-race-traitor-white electoral machine that is the Democratic Party.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  8. superdestroyer says:

    @sam:

    You are not doing anything to show that Democrats are the “fact-based” party when you answer demographic facts with snark.

    The demographic groups that vote for Democrats by overwhelmingly percentages are growing (to include Asians). The demographic groups that vote for Republicans by overwhelmingly percentages are shrinking. Why else do you think that neither party pays attention to California, New York, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, Mass., Washington, Oregon?

    So the real question is how does the media and the wonks talk about an election when every tracking poll will show that President Obama will be easily re-elected. Why get excited about elections when 90% of the voters cannot be affected by the campaign?

    The only question for politics is how will the Democrats government when they are the only relevant political party and how will the media cover elections when the Democratic primary is the real election.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  9. Vast Variety says:

    I have give Paul credit to his ad team. Some of the the ads I’ve seen here in Iowa, they have made me think he is putting on a Monster Truck Rally at Vets Auditorium.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  10. Fiona says:

    I guess the pompous pretend-historian dough boy’s charms have proven less than durable to the Republican electorate. Thank goodness! A vote for Paul would seem to make a lot more sense for Tea Party types as his views most closely correlate to their supposed principles. While I’m not convinced Paul could win a general election, I’d love to see him school Obama on the meaning of civil liberties. The Con Law professor needs to do another reading of the Constitution if he thinks failing to veto a bill granting the executive power to detain American citizens indefinitely is constitutional.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  11. sam says:

    @superdestroyer:

    You are not doing anything to show that Democrats are the “fact-based” party when you answer demographic facts with snark.

    And how, just freaking how, does this

    The demographic groups that vote for Democrats by overwhelmingly percentages are growing (to include Asians). The demographic groups that vote for Republicans by overwhelmingly percentages are shrinking. Why else do you think that neither party pays attention to California, New York, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, Mass., Washington, Oregon?

    not count as “fact-based” evidence for the truth of my Monday, December 19, 2011 at 07:39 about you? That you’re race-obsessed?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  12. mantis says:

    @Jordan Bourne:

    Paul doesn’t have any baggage to speak of. He’s that squeaky clean. Anything you might hear to the contrary are just fabricated lies to try and knock him down.

    Yeah, you keep thinking that. No baggage indeed!

    @Fiona:

    The Con Law professor needs to do another reading of the Constitution if he thinks failing to veto a bill granting the executive power to detain American citizens indefinitely is constitutional.

    First of all, not vetoing something is indeed constitutional. Second, the bill doesn’t do that at all:

    Section 1021(e): Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect existing law or authorities relating to the detention of United States citizens, lawful resident aliens of the United States, or any other persons who are captured or arrested in the United States.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  13. Peacewood says:

    Hate to say this, but I agree with the general sentiment that Paul won’t win the nomination.
    (I say hate because he has many ideas that are worth airing.)

    If he wins Iowa, the Fox machine will jump on him with cleats on. It will be damn ugly.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  14. de stijl says:

    @Vast Variety:

    This SUNDAY, SUNDAY, SUNDAY!!!! We’re turning the floor of Veterans’ Auditorium INTO A GIANT MUD PIT!!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  15. Come on people, read my blog! From my post Ron Paul- Drop Out of the Race:

    “Representative Ron Paul (R-TX) is a good Representative to the United States Congress and is a good advocate for libertarian views on public policy positions- but he should in no way be considered for the office of the President of the United States of America. This means that he should not be encouraged or supported in any effort to do so through support in straw polls, campaign donations, or nice comments online, and that he should not fan any sort of flames for a Paul Presidency by running. He should drop out of the race for the Presidential nomination of the Republican Party and not even hint or flirt about running for President again….”

    Read the rest of it at http://tinyurl.com/dy6oh6d

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  16. george says:

    Wow! Ron Paul seems like a little man with tiny ideas and no proven ability to accomplish anything. What makes you believe that he will do anything that he is now whining about? Remember all the promises made by W? Pay attention to what people do rather than just what the say.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  17. superdestroyer says:

    @sam:

    Why do Democrats consider the fact that ab out 90% of blacks are automatic Democratic Party voters a racist statement.

    I guess the proposals that the Democratic Party makes only work as long as demographic are ignored, so demographics will be ignored.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0