Poll: Paul Continues to Surge in Iowa

A new poll shows Rep. Ron Paul continues to significantly surge in Iowa and has taken the lead – raising the real prospect that if trending continues he could be the winner of the Republican Iowa causes which would further add to the media narrative that former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney can’t close the deal and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is on the quick descent as weighty baggage pulls him down.

Not to mention it would add this factor: even if Paul has come under fire for his ideas and racist newsletters that went out under his name years ago, if he win’s Iowa he could no longer be dismissed by the media as a kind of amusing, political fringe side show. And it will mean the already increasing scrutiny of him will continue to increase:

Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX), a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, battered former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich in a Public Policy Polling poll of likely Iowa GOP caucusgoers released late Tuesday. Mr. Paul won the Iowa PPP poll with 24 percent of the votes. Mr. Romney pulled in 20 percent of the votes and Mr. Gingrich garnered 13 percent of the votes.

Approximately one week ago, Mr. Paul surprised political pundits by winning an Iowa PPP poll. In the latest Iowa PPP poll Mr. Paul’s support has risen by 1 percentage point, Mr. Romney’s support has remained steady and Mr. Gingrich’s support has dropped by 1 percentage point. Several weeks ago, Mr. Gingrich seemed poised to win the Iowa Caucuses on January 3rd.

And if some of the other candidates who’ve been virtually living in the state don’t do well, they might as well give up the political ghosts. To paraphrase a song, if they can’t do it there they can’t do it anywhere:

Mr. Paul has faced increased media scrutiny over the last several days for his association with a series of racist newsletters that were published in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Despite the media coverage of the issue, Mr. Paul’s support in Iowa does not appear to be impacted as the latest Iowa PPP poll was conducted on December 26th and December 27th.

In the week leading up to Christmas, Mr. Paul won four out of five Iowa polls. Despite Mr. Paul’s poll victories, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee thinks that Mr. Romney will win the Hawkeye State.

“I would probably say that Mitt Romney will end up winning it today,” Mr. Huckabee posited on “Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace.”

During an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer Tuesday, Mr. Gingrich slammed Mr. Paul’s chances of winning the Republican presidential nomination.

“He’s not going to get the nomination. It won’t happen,” Mr. Gingrich told Mr. Blitzer. Mr. Gingrich added that “he’s got to come up with some very straight answers to get somebody to take him seriously.”

However, other poll watchers have a different view of Mr. Paul’s chances.

The GOP race continues to be something of a big, fat mess (if winning an election is the ultimate goal).

Bill Kristol in The Weekly Standard is pleading for some Republican, any reasonable, mainstream Republican with conscience and heart to leap into the race.

Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol is pleading — for at least the third time — for someone better to get in the Republican presidential primary at the last minute and save the party from the current candidates. Kristol tries to guilt trip the guys who’ve decided to stay out of the race this year — Mitch Daniels, Paul Ryan, Marco Rubio, Chris Christe aren’t mentioned by name, but they’ve all been subject of his admiration — into changing their mind by calling them fair weather Americans. He doesn’t ask why the Republican field has been dominated by flawed candidates this year, but if he ever gets curious, he can look to himself. It was Kristol’s most famous political crush, Sarah Palin, who taught conservative voters that it’s okay to support candidates who have little experience, not know all that much about foreign policy, have a soapy personal life, say outrageous things, and even have trouble speaking complete sentences.

The prominent Republican-oriented blog Powerline argues the time of dithering is dangerously past and endorses Mitt Romney — not just making a lesser of two evils argument but an affirmative argument that Romney could also be a great President.

Throw into this context a Paul win in Iowa and you have a political monkey wrench.

The racist newsletters that went out under his name haven’t hurt Paul in Iowa, but they have hurt his “brand name.” His foes can point to them and cartoonists and comedians can most assuredly have fun with them:

UPDATE: The Politico notes that Romney is within striking distance:

Don’t look now, but Mitt Romney suddenly seems like the Iowa front-runner.

The former Massachusetts governor has carefully tempered expectations in Iowa all year, visiting only a handful of times and saving the bulk of his television spending for the final weeks of the race. But as a crowd of conservative opponents keep the anti-Romney vote divided, his odds of a victory in the state that humbled him four years ago have never been better.

Even as he tried to keep talk about his prospects in check Tuesday, a slew of public and private polling and anecdotal evidence on the ground suggests that Romney is within striking distance of a first-place finish in Iowa — especially as Ron Paul’s momentum spurt appears to have run into the reality of front-runners’ scrutiny.

Romney’s team is moving to make the most of it. The candidate launched a bus tour Tuesday and suggested on a conference call with Iowans this week that he’ll be in the state for New Year’s Eve. After a solid ad buy in Iowa for a month totaling more than $1.1 million, Romney’s camp has upped its spending in the Quad Cities market, sources familiar with the purchase told POLITICO. His team has dropped a collection of mail pieces, both positive about Romney and negative about the perceived closest alternative — Newt Gingrich.

In another clear sign he’s playing to win, he has quietly moved a handful of staffers from his headquarters in Boston and in other states earlier this month to give his skeleton Iowa staff a needed boost. And he’s cycling in a platoon of high-profile surrogates to rally around him in the state at stump stops and on talk radio, including Gov. Chris Christie, Sen. John Thune, Rep. Aaron Schock and former Sens. Norm Coleman and Jim Talent.

Among Romney’s Iowa backers, there was a marked rise in confidence Tuesday.

12 Comments

  1. I would love to see increased scrutiny about those newsletters. His followers are not at all deterred by them and accept his explanations at face value, but those who are not firmly in his camp need much better answers.

    At a minimum, its unacceptable that he used the income generated by the newsletter subscriptions to finance his political comeback. He may have disavowed their content but he hasn’t disavowed the subscribers –

    Gotta love Newt’s chutzpah in telling the media that RP’s gotta come up with some answers to explain them though. What about answering for his own past transgressions??

  2. bluebelle, nothing, absolutely nothing will deter the true believers that fanatically support Ron Paul. I think you can tell a great deal about his ideas and his followers by reading what they write in response to any criticism of Ron Paul on the web. Probably more than you can learn from his official web site. Many of them don’t even know how much he has kowtowed to the social conservatism of Iowa in the last year.

  3. Yes Paul is surging and the weather is good too. Imagine that.

    Makes me think of Josef Mengele.

  4. Please Jim, we’re electing a President who will have influence in matters of legislation and executive powers. There are no scary ghosts of racists that are going to cause riots or start genocides. No associates are going to be able to repeal the 13th amendment. He’s known for his consistency over the years, so it’s safe to say that he’s going to do what he says he’s going to do. Much scarier to me, are the candidates who can change their stance because of the last poll.

    It’s also funny how other candidates have supporters, while Paul has “fanatics”. No bias there, of course.

    Even funnier are the themes about how he can’t win, despite his popularity. Exactly how is this contest supposed to work again?

  5. jim satterfield– I’ve been reading a lot of the web comments from his supporters– and I agree that they are not a group I’d be inviting over for a wee cup o’ eggnog at New Year’s. LOL

  6. Prof– If he wins in Iowa, the establishment party will pour money into attack ads against him– and as much as people say they hate attack ads – its been proven that they work. The press will scrutinize every word that is in those newsletters and will be like a dog with an 18 oz t-bone steak.

    Most Republican voters will reject his foreign policy positions, including the zionist groups.
    He’s just not electable.

  7. “I would love to see increased scrutiny about those newsletters.”

    The conservatives are all about racism these days. The conservatives appear to blame everyone else for today’s problems- the everyone comprising of gays/lesbians (for straights getting divorces and the decline in “family values”), immigrants (legal and otherwise) for taking jobs away. The Dems for supporting policies that are soft on crime and terrorists, environmentalists for causing so many regulations that businesses go out of business, scientists for the fall of religion, etc.

    Critical conservative thinking has been on the downswing for several years now. With their growing support of isolationism it makes total sense to me that Republicans do not mind politicians with racist histories. Bush started the “us vs. them” theme and this is just a furtherance of that. The not caring about politicians racist past is the logical next step back into the past.

  8. John McCain voted AGAINST the Martin Luther King holiday and Ron Paul voted FOR the MLK holiday. Why didn’t the GOP establishment and MSM smear John McCain as racist?

    Certainly this exchange in the newsletters was outside the normal bounds of polite discourse:

    Robin: I was going to bring you a VCR, but the stores had none.

    Johnny: A little low, are they?

    Robin: Somebody, I guess, had done a little “political shopping.” [Suddenly imitating an angry black man] “Yo, man, this [giving the clenched-fist Black Power salute] is for Rodney King … and the five TVs are for me.”

    Wait a second, that’s not from the newsletters at all — that’s from Robin Williams’ appearance on Johnny Carson’s final episode of the Tonight Show.

    Want to know why most people don’t take these newsletter charges seriously? Read this:
    http://tunewall.com/2011/12/to.....wsletters/

    The real racism and the real context of the LA race riots was an out of control War on Drugs and an authoritarian, paranoid, racist response from the police.

    Ron Paul’s individualism and libertarianism is diametrically opposed to classifying and treating people as groups. He has talked about the injustice of the War on Drugs and how it disproportionately falls on the African American community.

    The principle purveyor of these baseless smears is James Kirchick who serves as a fellow with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a neo-conservative group that actively promotes American interventionism. Gingrich is on this group’s Leadership Council. Time Magazine’s Joe Klein has described James Kirchick as “dishonest”, a “propagandist” who “has opinions but no facts or experience.”

    http://voices.washingtonpost.c.....leins.html

  9. @bluebelle
    They’ve already started. They’ve already started here on TMV. Heck, look at the cartoon above.

    The question is whether those attacks will work like they did on Bachmann, Cain, and Perry. So far, he still seems to be plucking along in Iowa, which may just mean that people can weigh his anti-racist policies (like bucking the drug war and police state) over the guilt by association claims. I make no predictions.

    Although it doesn’t fit into a sound bite, the facts on the mid-east policy have a chance, on the internet, of exposing the other candidates’ folly. The terrorists are fighting for their national sovereignty, not a religious or cultural war.

  10. Another perspective from Slate about why Gays aren’t worried about a Paul candidacy, but would be about a Santorum win.

    http://www.slate.com/articles/....._gays.html

    Of course pro-choice advocates would still be concerned about both.

  11. Can someone from the TMV team please fix the formatting problem in this thread? The text refuses to stay in the defined text box.

  12. Prof,

    I call them fanatics based on their writings. Paul has more of them than any other candidate that I’ve seen in recent history. Have you actually read very many of them. Only Ron Paul can save America! Only Ron Paul represents We the People! Only Ron Paul has really studied economics! Only Ron Paul understands the threat to America posed by the Fed and fiat money! It goes on and on. They don’t even know when their writings go into the area of conspiracy theory. They often write as though before the Federal Reserve system there were no cycles of boom and bust in the economy. So yes, Ron Paul has fanatics at least as much as supporters. And they wrote the same sorts of things in 2008.

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