Ron Paul Surging In Iowa?
A new Public Policy Polling survey in Iowa seems to show Ron Paul catching up to Newt Gingrich among likely Iowa Caucus goers:
There has been some major movement in the Republican Presidential race in Iowa over the last week, with what was a 9 point lead for Newt Gingrich now all the way down to a single point. Gingrich is at 22% to 21% for Paul with Mitt Romney at 16%, Michele Bachmann at 11%, Rick Perry at 9%, Rick Santorum at 8%, Jon Huntsman at 5%, and Gary Johnson at 1%.
Gingrich has dropped 5 points in the last week and he’s also seen a significant decline in his favorability numbers. Last week he was at +31 (62/31) and he’s now dropped 19 points to +12 (52/40). The attacks on him appear to be taking a heavy toll- his support with Tea Party voters has declined from 35% to 24%.
Paul meanwhile has seen a big increase in his popularity from +14 (52/38) to +30 (61/31). There are a lot of parallels between Paul’s strength in Iowa and Barack Obama’s in 2008- he’s doing well with new voters, young voters, and non-Republican voters:
-59% of likely voters participated in the 2008 Republican caucus and they support Gingrich 26-18. But among the 41% of likely voters who are ‘new’ for 2012 Paul leads Gingrich 25-17 with Romney at 16%. Paul is doing a good job of bringing out folks who haven’t done this before.
-He’s also very strong with young voters. Among likely caucus goers under 45 Paul is up 30-16 on Gingrich. With those over 45, Gingrich leads him 26-15 with Romney at 17%.
-Among Republicans Gingrich leads Paul 25-17. But with voters who identify as Democrats or independents, 21% of the electorate in a year with no action on the Democratic side, Paul leads Gingrich 34-14 with Romney at 17%.
Young voters, independents, and folks who haven’t voted in caucuses before is an unusual coalition for a Republican candidate…the big question is whether these folks will really come out and vote…if they do, we could be in for a big upset.
We won’t know the answer to that question until Caucus Night, of course, but the one thing that being successful in a caucus requires is committed supporters, and Ron Paul has those is droves:
Paul’s supporters are considerably more committed to him than Gingrich’s are. 77% of current Paul voters say they’re definitely going to vote for him, compared to only 54% for Gingrich. Romney has much more solid support than Gingrich as well, 67% of his voters saying they’re with him for the long haul. Among only voters who say their mind’s totally made up, 29% support Paul to 21% for Gingrich, 18% for Romney, and 11% for Bachmann.
Meanwhile, the candidates for whom Iowa is do-or-die — Bachmann, Perry, and Santorum — are not appearing to move in the polls at all despite the fact that all three of them have stepped up their campaigns in the Hawkeye State over the past two weeks or so. This is surely disappointing to Perry in particular who has been making a hard-sell play for the evangelical vote in the state recently. If this continues, I’m not sure how any of these three maintain credible campaigns.
As for the topline results, I’m not sure what to make of them until we see other polls. Right now, though, it looks like some of the attacks on Gingrich are having an impact while Paul seems to be the one benefiting from them. Romney, on the other hand, is pretty much stuck where he’s been for a month or more. The one piece of good news for Gingrich here is that its better to have the numbers dipping three weeks out than one week out. We’ve got another debate coming Thursday, then we head into the holidays. If this trend continues, get ready to see a lot more Ron Paul coverage between now and January 3rd.