PPP: Paul Within One Point of Gingrich in Iowa?
Caution: This is the same outfit that polled Obama ahead of Rick Perry, in Texas, a few months back. I'm not saying PPP is unreliable, just...it's a good idea to check their track record before panicking. And then panic if you must.
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...
Non-Republican voters shouldn't be voting in a Republican caucus. But Iowa allows voters to pick a party on caucus day, and the possibility of mischief along with that. Ron Paul's strength among "non-Republican" voters may be made up of equal parts discontent with the front-runners, and mischief.
As for his strength with young voters...giving us Barack Obama wasn't enough damage for one generation to do?
But if Ron Paul were to actually win Iowa, what then? There will be blood, as candidates on the lower end of the vote drop out. And then things may get quirky.
The Iowa caucus is on Jan. 3. The New Hampshire primary is on January 10th, which is practically an eternity in this primary, and there is a debate scheduled to take place in New Hampshire on Jan. 7. If Paul wins Iowa, he will face the mother of all debate dogpiles on the 7th, and he won't survive it. Trutherism, those 1990s newsletters, his overall out-of-the-GOP-mainstream views on foreign policy -- all of that will take center stage. The GOP will not nominate Ron Paul for president, period. The things that Paul says in the clips in this post, and more like them that are out there, will help see to that.
But in the short term, Newt Gingrich's status as the front-running "monkey up the pole" will be gone. Romney becomes more likely to take New Hampshire as fear pushes more voters his way to fend off Paul, which does more damage to Gingrich's chances while not really helping Romney all that much (he competed in Iowa, and lost to Ron Paul, and was always expected to win NH). And then we get to South Carolina and it's anyone's game, among those who remain in the race.