Monday, December 19, 2011

Second thoughts about Gingrich in Iowa

Good morning and welcome to O-pinion, the Observer's place for perspective and discussion. I'm Peter St. Onge, associate editor of the O's editorial board, and I'll be hosting today.

We'll be watching the developing chaos surrounding a two-month extension of a payroll tax cut, which has stalled after Republican House members objected Sunday to a Senate agreement to extend the cut for two months. We're in favor of a payroll tax cut extension, if it's paid for, although a two-month extension is too temporary to prompt the consumer spending and business hiring that advocates have said a full-year extension would bring. It would be a stunner, however, if Republicans, despite their misgivings about the extension, handed Democrats a political gift by allowing the tax cut to expire at the first of the year.

The other big buzz this morning? The maligning of Newt Gingrich from within his own party is finally taking a toll.

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Iowa shows Gingrich sinking suddenly - "imploding," says PPP's Tom Jensen - with Ron Paul now taking the lead in the state and Gingrich sliding to a distant third.

Paul leads with 23 percent in the poll, released this morning. Mitt Romney has 20 percent, with 14 percent for Gingrich, 10 percent each for Rick Santorum, Michele Bachmann, and Rick Perry, 4 percent for Jon Huntsman, and two percent for Gary Johnson.

That's a 13 percent drop in the past two PPP polls for Gingrich, and Jensen says that negative ads have taken their toll: Gingrich's personal favorability numbers have gone from 62 percent positive to 52 percent, with respondents who have an unfavorable impression of him rising from 31 to 40 percent.

The polls in Iowa and elsewhere continue to be volatile as Republicans search for a candidate not named Romney. But, says Jensen, Paul's rise is a sign that campaigns actually do matter some in Iowa. Says Jensen:

22% of voters think he's run the best campaign in the state compared to only 8% for Gingrich and 5% for Romney. The only other candidate to hit double digits on that question is Bachmann at 19%. Paul also leads Romney 26-5 (with Gingrich at 13%) with the 22% of voters who say it's 'very important' that a candidate spends a lot of time in Iowa.
There's still two weeks of campaigning left before the Jan. 3 caucus, but historically, candidates that begin to decline in Iowa don't recover. A Gingrich loss - especially if he finishes third behind Romney - would clearly be a blow to his campaign. Given Romney's likely victory in New Hampshire, Gingrich would be reeling as the primaries move to South Carolina, where Newt would have to get a win.

Liberals are gleeful about the chaos. Says Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne: "The establishment was happy to use Gingrich’s tactics to win elections, but it never expected to lose control of the party to the voters it rallied with such grandiose negativity."

The New York Times Frank Bruni adds that while most politicians are full of themselves, Gingrich is overstuffed.

The Weekly Standard's William Kristol wonders if the volatility among Republicans could lead to a convention in which delegates didn't merely rubber-stamp what the primaries gave them. That might be a good thing, Kristol says.


DistrictSix said...

Those Republicans never want to wipe topical jell on a cancer, hoping that will clear it up, do they?

The Republicans should have just done what the other party wanted, and has been so successful at, all these years, temporary fixes.

David I said...

I am actually surprised this news outlet is even reporting that Ron Paul is leading the polls in Iowa. Up until this point the Observer has done their absolute to best to either act as if Ron Paul simply doesn't exist or skew his points so much that he appears to be out of touch.

American is finally waking up. You can only keep truth down for so long. Ron Paul accurately warned us all of the housing bubble collapse 5 years prior to it happening, but no one wanted to listen. He accurately warned us all that invading Iraq was a bad idea and they had no WMD. He did this back in 2001. But again no one wanted to listen. He accurately warned us all that our currency would be seriously devalued and the world's economy would collapse with all of the Fed's printing up of money and the artificially lowering of interest rates, but again we all thought he had no idea what he was talking about. He even told us all in 2007 that Osama Bin Laden was hiding out in Pakistan, but once again most simply laughed at him and called him crazy. And now some are trying to do the exact same thing to him when he warns us of overreacting to Iran's supposed nuclear capabilities. The problem for the "establishment" now is the American People have seen these tactics used consistently for over 10 years now. We're not falling for it this time.

Going to be hard to ignore Ron Paul now that he is surging in the polls and will likely win Iowa. He is also polling right now in a very close 2nd to Romney in New Hampshire. This race is finally getting interesting.

Ron Paul's money bomb this weekend raised more than $4 million for his campaign. Shutting this man up, as the media has been trying to do for years, is starting to seem like an impossible task. People are waking up.

Ron Paul 2012!

Garth Vader said...

Of course they had to plaster Gingrich's name all over the headline - couldn't allow R** P***'s name on your homepage, huh?

Garth Vader said...

Charlotte Observer's lead story, November 7 2012:

"While Ron Paul did win yesterday's general election, the long shot fringe candidate is unlikely to win the electoral college vote later this month."