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.

FILED UNDER: 2012 Election, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held 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 contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Tsar Nicholas says:

    Exhibit Z for why the minimum voting age needs to be increased at least to 30 and more realistically to 35. Basic cognitive testing as a prerequisite to vote also would be worthwhile. QED.

  2. michael reynolds says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    Yeah, that makes it even easier for old people to rig government to bankrupt the young for the benefit of pensioners. I wouldn’t want the boomers to leave even a dime for the succeeding generation.

    Logically we should shut out the elderly since they have so much less interest in the future of the country, and give extra weight to the young who have to live with the results long after the elderly have stuck their kids with the tab.

  3. sam says:

    I half-love Ron Paul.

  4. nader paul kucinich gravel mckinney baldwin ventura sheehan perot carter says:

    but how could this ever be
    we have been told that everyone loves
    Newt Gingrich and Callista

  5. I said it here first says:

    Ron Paul 2012.

    Restore America Now.

    Check out his new ad destroying Newt Gingrich that’s going viral on Youtube –

  6. John P says:

    @Tsar Nicholas: I’m listening…Of course, the test would have to include the ability for prospective voters to produce more than two sentences without committing egregious logical fallacy.

  7. Neil Hudelson says:

    So Gingrich and Paul pull out a close #1 and #2 respectively (you can switch them, it doesn’t matter). Bachman and Santorum lose and (if they are intelligent) quit. I have to think that Perry, with his huge wad of cash, is going to stay in it a bit longer. Hell he has to be thinking that between his bank roll, his home state, and his southern bona fides, he can pull out a few states come Super Tuesday.

    Paul with his win/close #2 sees increased momentum and his poll numbers pick up in at least a few states. Bachman and Santorum’s supporters go to Gingrich, giving him an even greater lead. Perry, as stated, has a few states to pull in himself.

    Romney’s campaign has got to be looking at a multi-pronged attack immediately after Iowa. It’s one thing to have to fight a one front battle, 3 fronts is dangerous no matter how much of a solid plurality you have.

    Prepare for the bloodshed to begin in earnest come mid January.

  8. michael reynolds says:

    @Neil Hudelson:
    Yay, bloodshed!

  9. SJ Reidhead says:

    I think we all know Ron Paul’s little bots are going to cheat their way to a caucus victory. I have no doubt Dr. Demento will win – not that it will be an honest victory. With him, it never is.

    The Pink Flamingo

  10. Cato says:

    @SJ Reidhead:


    WTF are you talking about?

  11. WR says:

    I’d love to see Paul get the nomination, so that the die-hard libertarians could finally see exactly how popular their loathesome philosophy really is in this country. My guess is a landslide so huge 1984 will look like 2004…