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Gingrich falls to third as Paul takes poll lead in Iowa

By SUSAN WALKER
December 19, 2011

Ron Paul: Now a frontrunner in Iowa

Mirroring the fate of other frontrunners in the roller coaster ride to the GOP nomination, last week’s frontrunner is this week’s also ran as former speaker of the house Newt Gingrich falls from first to third in the latest Public Policy Polling (PPP) survey.

Texas Congressman Ron Paul has a narrow lead over Mitt Romney — 23 to 20 percent — with 14 percent for Gingrich.  Rick Santorum, Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry tie for fourth with 10 percent while Jon Huntsman trails a distant fifth at 4 percent and Gary Johnson brings up the rear with 2 percent.

When you factor in the poll’s margin of error, Paul and Romney are essentially tied.

“Newt Gingrich’s campaign is rapidly imploding,” PPP said in a press release for the latest poll.

“Gingrich’s campaign in the latest sinking in a political war where many ships have been lost in a sea of changing voter attitudes,” a GOP consultant told Capitol Hill Blue.  “Ron Paul and Mitt Romney are the frontrunners now.”

Reports PPP:

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.

Two other notes on Romney: he’s now winning the electability primary- 25% of voters think he would have the best chance to defeat Obama compared to 17% for Gingrich and 16% for Paul. And he also leads Paul 24-18 among voters who watched the Sioux City debate on Thursday night, confirming general perception that he had the stronger performance.

Gingrich has dropped 13 percentage points from a high of 27 percent just two weeks ago.  Like other GOP frontrunners, he surged to the front as the GOP flavor of the month and then faded.

“People started taking a closer look at Gingrich and they didn’t like what they saw,” says Iowa GOP activist Carlene Wilson.

With two weeks to go before the Iowa caucuses, the race is shaping up as a two-man contest between Paul and Romney but — given the volatility of the GOP electorate this year — that could change.

“With six candidates in double digits there are still a lot of different things that could happen the final two weeks in Iowa,” PPP says. “But it looks like Paul and Romney have emerged as the clear front runners.”

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14 Responses to Gingrich falls to third as Paul takes poll lead in Iowa

  1. Gregg

    December 19, 2011 at 9:15 am

    There ya go CHB Paul fans. You might get your wish. Well, if Paul was running for the President of Iowa.

  2. Bill Cravener

    December 19, 2011 at 9:31 am

    Fox’s Chris Wallace: “Well, and the Ron Paul people aren’t going to like me saying this, but, to a certain degree, it will discredit the Iowa caucuses because, rightly or wrongly, I think most of the Republican establishment thinks he is not going to end up as the nominee. So, therefore, Iowa won’t count and it will go on.”

  3. Brian

    December 19, 2011 at 10:28 am

    Funny how Iowa only means nothing if Paul wins. All you Romney-Gingrich-Bachmann-Perry-Obamabots (becuase they all are essentially the same with a small 1% difference on the surface) want to fall in line with the status quo so bad it hurts to see this happening, I know.

  4. Sandune

    December 19, 2011 at 10:44 am

    I guess I’m in the “Ron Paul” classification but I hesitate to endorse many of his agenda changes. After wandering around the Internet sites, I have come to the conclusion that the voters themselves are not qualified or ready to take on the responsibilities that Paul wants to remove.

    Can the State Boards of Education keep control of the much needed academic changes to keep our kids up to date on what the jobs require? From my observations, our schools are not motivated by academics and could be forced into a Christian agenda right down to prayers based on Jesus Christ when they know damn well not all the children are Christians. The newest movement indicates a slant towards the Secular Humanist point of view.

    If the Secular Humanists ever get organized in the world of politics, America will be truly a nation of laws based on rational right versus wrong laws based on equal rights for all Americans.

    If any Republican is elected to the White House it can be expected that even our Supreme Court Judges will remove the laws from the Constitution and exchange the laws based on the New Testament.

    Evidently the Republican Party is focused on a Christian nation and will take no prisoners. I fear Ron Paul is fully involved in this movement. It has gone beyond a primary election versus a general election and those of us who want the separation of church and state have no party or even a candidate to support.

    Even our Media talkers realize this but are too nervous to side with what is the best form of political positions. The religious right has the winning hand again and it will bring in another weak President of the United States.

    After watching all the Debates, it makes President Bush 43 look like a winner.

    How will this new GOP force for power handle No. Korea or Iran when they get into power? Will we have to move our sons and grandsons offshore? We’ve moved everything else.

    • Jon

      December 19, 2011 at 10:26 pm

      Oddly enough, Sandune, the Founding Fathers of the USA did limit the vote to a subset of the people. Perhaps they were right?

      J.

  5. Rick

    December 19, 2011 at 6:41 pm

    This poll stuff is exciting. Another reason not to move to Iowa. Next month another reason not to move to NH.

  6. woody188

    December 19, 2011 at 7:11 pm

    Romney had better watch out. If Iowan’s figure out his plan to cut costs he might lose those older voters in a heartbeat.

    It’s great to make these promises he knows he can’t keep since he needs Congress to make the changes. Never does he mention actions the Executive can take on it’s own. I believe that’s called plausible deniability. So when he can’t change Medicare he will just blame Congress.

    Says Romney:

    “…what’s heartless is to imperil our children and what’s immoral is to imperil the strength of a nation that was founded under God and preserved by His hand.”

    Sounds like religious fanaticism to me. Does he sound like that in New Hampshire, or are his remarks on God reserved for Iowa alone?

    They guy is a chameleon, changing color depending on location and crowd. Flip-flopping seems to get one everywhere in these days of short term memory loss and high doses of anti-depressants.

    Interestingly, it seems Romney is also bankrolled by the Koch brothers Americans for Prosperity Foundation. Note also the quote from Herman Cain in this article. The plot thickens…

  7. Charles

    December 19, 2011 at 11:32 pm

    Only Ron Paul, of all the presidential candidates of both major parties, has repeatedly spoken out clearly and forcefully against the belligerent war propaganda and calculated lies in the bipartisan lead up to war with Iran, against the bipartisan campaign for punitive sanctions against Iran, and against further covert operations to destabilize the fragile geopolitical situation in the Mideast. He is not afraid to speak truth to power, which is why he is greatly admired by stalwart GOP conservatives, grass-roots tea party activists, independents, and disillusioned Obama Democrats.

    Never forget that these same duplicitous chickenhawk jihadists (Gingrich, Romney, Santorum, Bachmann, and Perry) beat the propaganda war drums of “weapons of mass destruction” in the failed war in Iraq. The American people know the bitter tragedy of war. They are tired of being lied to about these futile no-win conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is their sons and daughters, husbands and wives, who were seriously maimed, irreparably disabled, and killed, never to return physically or psychologically intact as they were when they marched off to these egregious follies.

    The principled constitutionalist and noninterventionist Paul was right from the start about our disastrous preemptive imperial wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, right from the start about the destructive ‘blowback’ fomenting more hatred directed towards America, right from the start about the Federal Reserve’s monetary policies creating the housing bubble which led to the 2008 financial meltdown, right from the start about the War on Drugs, the USA Patriot Act and the TSA imposing a police state upon the American people.

    Ron Paul is the most decisive, authoritative, and substantive consistent conservative candidate on the crucial national security issues facing our nation. Americans have always rooted for the heroic underdog, the principled David facing down Goliath. By standing out from the pack of neocon clone candidates, Paul once again proved his forthright courage, his dedication to first principles, and to the United States Constitution and the rule of law.

    Ron Paul is our Cicero, our defender of the republic, a statesman of unblemished character and principled judgment. The twelve-term congressman has for decades courageously spoken out for a conservative foreign policy based upon a strong national defense of the essential core principles of liberty and justice as established by the Framers, a defense of the territorial integrity of the United States and its national borders. Peace, prudential diplomacy, international trade and commerce, and the free exchange of ideas are the key elements to a constitutional foreign policy. Only by setting an exemplary example to the world will the United States of America once again become “the exceptional nation,” that “shining city upon a hill.”

    But Ron Paul is first and foremost a realist. America is financially bankrupt due to decades of reckless, irresponsible fiscal and monetary policies pursued by the Fed, the Congress, and the Executive branch of the state. Paul’s measured conservative program of strategic disengagement from the unconstitutional pre-emptive wars of the past decade, coupled with a serious analytical reassessment of the imperial over-reach of 900 military bases in 130 nations, is the only wise course dictated by this unsustainable debt situation.

    • Sandune

      December 20, 2011 at 9:23 am

      Bravo Charles! Here we go again with a voice of reason giving us a voice of repair.

      But just like Perot who also answered the call and offered “the fix of the century” and was ignored due to an ill-equipped voter base who could not think out of the old box of a two party government.

      It must be catching on as I’m finding more post-it notes on my car windscreen when I park at the local super market. I have s bumpersticker for the LP.

      My greatest wish is to have a White House based on fiscal policies and not social prohibitions. Ron Paul has most of it on my terms; but not all. I’ve written in his name for years and maybe this time he will make an impression.

      Perot woke D.C. up in a way that no other candidate had done in the past. They don’t have to always win to make a strong impression and my hopes are that Paul is making waves in our direction.

      The religious right has its own arena and that is all the combined churches and temples across America. They now have the right to advertise their political positions on the television, radio and internet. Bush 43 took down the Separation of Church and State and gave permission for the churches to voice their opinion that our government has the authority to legislate prohibitions from the bible. Assuming the GOP is their road to a Christian nation is doing nothing but bringing down the Republican voters popularity. They lost me!

  8. Bill Cravener

    December 20, 2011 at 6:43 am

    The notion that he will be the Republican nominee is too absurd to spend a moment more contemplating. Ron Paul is doing nothing more then helping to reelect President Barack Obama by splitting the Republican vote. I find it hilarious that anyone would believe that the Republican Party would nominate Ron Paul their candidate.

  9. Keith

    December 20, 2011 at 12:06 pm

    I’m having a good laugh watching all the Republican “powers that be” have a proverbial “cow” over the rise of Ron Paul’s candidacy.

    All I can say is that it’s about time these arrogant clowns learned they can’t control the votes of all the people all the time.

  10. Sandune

    December 20, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    Right on Keith! The GOP should also learn a valuable lesson that not all Republicabs are Christians. The RNC had much stronger support before the Separation of church and state was watered down under Bush 43. We had no party for our support after the GOP introduced the prohibitions.

    Not to be deterred from my mission, I will continue to work for another Candidate who will stand up for the rights of women, gays and those terminally ill who have their owh wishes written up.

    2016 is just around the corner and all I have to do is live that long. I have put the call out on Huffington’s site for a revised GOP to get busy and prepare for the future of American freedoms.

  11. Rick

    December 22, 2011 at 9:58 am

    The Republicans continue to pander to a element within the party that in reality just isn’t that significant. They have acquired a voice and influence much greater than they deserve.

    If they hold their breath long enough and scream loud enough they will get that candy bar until someone who is a candidate steps up and becomes a parent.

    Seems Obama has been quite able to say the occasional no to the same faction in his party.