WINSTON-SALEM, NC, December 28, 2011 — New polls show Mitt Romney surging to the front of the Iowa polls. Up from a recent 15%, he now stands at 20%, while the current Iowa frontrunner Ron Paul holds 24%.
Percentages are important, but so is positive momentum. Both in Iowa and nationally, the most recent poll results indicate that Paul’s (post-Christmas) momentum is stagnating or possibly lowering, while Mitt Romney’s momentum appears to be moving upward.
With the Iowa caucuses nearing on January 3rd, it looks as though the August Ames Straw Poll was wrong again. Its “prediction” of a Bachmann win has seen Bachmann slide to a mere 9%.
Gingrich plummets in Iowa
Very recently, Newt Gingrich led Iowa with 31%. Seventeen days later, in the sharpest decline in Iowa polling began in this race, Gingrich now holds 14%.
In both the Iowa and the national polls, Gingrich has fallen significantly. This highly correlates with the Sioux City Debate held on December 15th, where Gingrich was called out on several issues. During the debate he was criticized (specifically by Michele Bachmann) for working with and taking money from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac during the mortgage bubble, when other conservatives were trying to shut them down. He was also accused of having a faulty pro-life record. The Sioux City Debate, the Democratic Party, and Ron Paulhave all influenced Gingrich popularity.
Gingrich supporters find Paul and Romney attractive
From Gingrich’s recent national 7.4% drop, Ron Paul and Mitt Romney seem to have taken the majority with +2.9% and +2.5% respectively. Jon Huntsman and Rick Santorum each bumped upward in polls with their good performances in the Sioux City debate but seem to have stagnated and fallen since then.
Gingrich jabs back at Paul
Gingrich recently made evident his severe distaste of Paul in an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.
“I think Barack Obama is very destructive to the future of the United States. I think Ron Paul’s views are totally outside the mainstream of virtually every decent American.”
When asked if he could vote for Paul in a Paul vs. Obama race, he responded, “You’d have a very hard choice at that point.”
Romney uses humor against Gingrich
When asked about Gingrich’s failure to qualify for the Virginia Ballot, Romney responded, “I think he compared that to … Pearl Harbor? I think it’s more like Lucille Ball at the chocolate factory.”
Romney’s statement made reference to a famous “I Love Lucy” episode, where they are “fighting a losing game,” and rushing against the clock to get their operations organized.
Romney’s surge partially attributable to endorsements
In recent weeks, several big name conservatives have rallied to support Romney, beginning with Tea Party Conservative, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley.
Ron Paul defends accusations of racism in newsletters
As the Iowa frontrunner, Paul is now in a position to get swiped by his rivals.
Paul’s stance on National Security has sparked much debate within the GOP. His unpopular foreign policy stances specifically those relating to Iran and closing all foreign US bases are points of contention that are being accentuated by rivals.
The Economist’s Lexington recently went so far as to denounce him as having “a worldview so wacky and a programme so radical” that he “will never be America’s president.”
Recent allegations of racism have become more prominent. Several awkward and offensive comments were released decades ago in newsletters that bore his name. Although he didn’t write the comments directly, some of them could hurt his campaign.
We’ll soon see what Iowan voters think of the field. The Iowa caucus results aren’t definitive, but they will be relevant in narrowing down the field of candidates.
John Paul Cassil studies Management/Entrepreneurship and Political Science at Clemson University. A former U.S. House of Representatives Page, Cassil has since worked on conservative campaigns and in Congress for Congresswoman Foxx.
Cassil is the Managing Editor of the Tiger Town Observer, Clemson’s Conservative Journal of News and Opinion. He regularly speaks about activism at national conservative conferences.
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