A new Rasmussen Iowa 2012 GOP Caucus Poll shows Mitt Romney slipping in to the lead in Iowa, a state where he has been consistently in the top two but rarely in the number one spot. Iowa has also been considered a relatively weak state for Romney and he has only recently begun to focus any attention on it.
In that Rasmussen Poll, Romney has gained 4% points since last month, but Newt Gingrich dropped 12% since November, and Ron Paul jumped up 8 percentage points during that same time frame.
1. Mitt Romney 23% (19%)
2. Newt Gingrich 20% (32%)
3. Ron Paul 18% (10%)
4. Rick Perry 10% (6%)
5. Michele Bachmann 9% (6%)
6. Rick Santorum 6% (5%)
7. Jon Huntsman 5% (2%)
These results would seem to indicate that the onslaught of negative attacks on Newt Gingrich from both the left and the right have taken their toll on his meteoric rise to the top of the field and that he possibly peaked too early. Quite interestingly, Newt was the only candidate to have lost support in Iowa between this month and last. Everyone else increased their numbers to one degree to another. The rise of those candidates accounted for a shift of 23%, nearly twice the amount of support that Gingrich lost during that same time period. That means that undecided voters are not flocking to any one specific candidate and it is not quite clear who former Newt supporters are bolting to. The obvious choice may be Ron Paul, but if you add the rise in the poll of Perry, Bachmann, Santorum, and Huntsman, what you come up with is an 11% shift that could account for where most of Newt’s 12% went. From all of this, the only thing one can assume is that a significant portion of Iowa Republicans are still in a state of flux when it comes to who they want to be the Republican nominee and are changing their minds often. However, Ron Paul clearly has the momentum behind him in Iowa as we go in to the final days prior to the caucus.
Another important thing to note here is how tight the race has now become between the top three candidates.
A tight race in Iowa between Romney, Gingrich, and Paul, would tend to be very bad news for Gingrich.
In close elections, organization tends to be a decisive factor in the final results. The candidate with the largest and most coordinated organizational ground game, tends to get their people to the polls, or in this the case, the right caucus location, in far greater numbers than the candidate with a lack of organization. Newt has a very poor organization in Iowa. However Ron Paul and Mitt Romney have Get Out the Vote operations that are being manned by, in Ron Paul’s case, aggressive, dedicated supporters, who are passionate about their support for Ron Paul, and in Romney’s case, are manned by experienced, well financed, well organized ,staffers and volunteers. It should also be noted that Michele Bachmann is another candidate with a sharp organization in Iowa.
All of this means that Newt is now less likely to pull off a first place finish in Iowa. It also means that Mitt Romney may finally be coalescing support based on the electability argument and ultimately proving that among Republicans, the consistency of his candidacy in regards to the polls is becoming more important than his consistency as a conservative.
In New Hampshire a new poll again shows Mitt Romney remaining consistent in his placement on top.
A Suffolk University/7NEWS New Hampshire 2012 GOP Nomination Poll found the following results:
- Mitt Romney 38% (41%)
- Newt Gingrich 20% (14%)
- Jon Huntsman 13% (9%)
- Ron Paul 8% (14%)
- Michele Bachmann 3% (1%)
- Rick Santorum 2% (3%)
- Buddy Roemer 2% (1%)
- Rick Perry 1% (2%)
- Gary Johnson 1% (0%)
- Fred Karger 0% (1%)
- Undecided 11% (9%)
Here, while Romney lost 3% since the previous month, he still maintains a large double digit lead over all his rivals. However Newt has picked up 6% and would seem to have some momentum in New Hampshire. At the same time, John Huntsman is making decent gains and Ron Paul lost 6% of his support.
This is all good news for Romney. A loss in New Hampshire would essentially hobble his campaign and at this point in time, that does seem likely. But it could easily change if Romney fails to finish well in Iowa. Anything less than a third place finish there could have an impact on New Hampshire. But as we see, the Rasmussen poll would seem to indicate that anything less than a third place finish in Iowa for Romney is unlikely.
As for Jon Huntsman, he has pinned his entire campaign on New Hampshire and the outside chance of beating Romney there. He is hoping to play David to Romney’s Goliath and then ride a shockwave to victories in South Carolina and Florida. But his gains in the Suffolk University would seem to be like President Obama’s monthly jobs numbers, his increasing numbers of are not growing at a pace fast enough to do the job.
Overall, while these numbers remain quite fluid, they do offer us a glimpse of current trends, trends which are quickly turning into final results and which makes tonight’s Fox News debate more important with each approaching hour. Personally while, Romney may not win Iowa, he will do better than expected and I suspect that he is still the likely Republican presidential nominee. While I am rooting for Newt, all indications lead me to maintainmy long held belief that Romney is the candidate with the greatest endurance, organization, and in the best position.
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