Attacks on Gingrich in Iowa working? (updated)

The Newt has been hammered unmercifully by the GOP field in the last few days, but especially by Ron Paul and Mitt Romney. The question asked by AT Political Correspondent Rich Baehr in today's PJ Media is; does this kind of negative campaigning hurt Gingrich?

A survey of how supporters of Gingrich, Romney, and Rick Perry respond  to positive and negative ads for their candidate as well as for other candidates demonstrates Gingrich's vulnerability. The survey by Evolving Strategies indicates that nearly half of Gingrich's supporters might abandon him after seeing a tough negative ad. The study suggests Romney would benefit from a  Gingrich decline, but did not test how much Ron Paul would benefit.

The latest Rasmussen survey (subscribers only) seems to bear that out as Byron York reports:

A new survey from pollster Scott Rasmussen shows support for Newt Gingrich in Iowa has fallen sharply in recent days. The poll shows the former House speaker with the support of 20 percent of likely Republican caucus-goers -- down from 32 percent in the last Rasmussen survey released November 15.

Gingrich has now fallen into second place in the Iowa race, behind Mitt Romney, who is at 23 percent, up from 19 percent in the last Rasmussen survey.

The complete poll results are: Romney, 23 percent; Gingrich 20 percent; Ron Paul, 18 percent; Rick Perry 10 percent; Michele Bachmann, 9 percent; Rick Santorum, 6 percent; and Jon Huntsman, 5 percent. Ten percent of likely caucus-goers said they support some other candidate or are not sure how they will vote.

In the new survey, every candidate but Gingrich gained support in the last few weeks. The biggest gainers were Romney, up four points; Paul, up eight points; and Perry, up four points. Michele Bachmann climbed three points, as did Jon Huntsman, who has been to Iowa a grand total of one time in the campaign.

Gingrich, on the other hand, fell 12 points.

"This is the fifth consecutive monthly poll with a new leader," Rasmussen says in an email. "It was Bachmann in August, then Perry, Cain, and Gingrich. Amidst all the volatility, Romney's numbers have held steady each month, and Ron Paul has been in double digits each month."

Everybody appears to be getting a second look by Iowa Republicans and Gingrich is suffering because of it. In truth, the more people know about Gingrich the less they appear to like him.

I am not convinced Romney is ahead in Iowa at this point. With a little more than two weeks to go, it looks like a three man race with Gingrich having the inside track - as long as he can get his supporters to the caucus sites. Romney and Paul are light years ahead of Gingrich in organization which means that volatility will probably rule until the voters make their choices.

One interesting note: The way that the caucuses are conducted makes a voter's "second choice" important. Romney is the clear second choice of the vast majority of Republicans which may be a deciding advantage in a close race.

Update from Richard Baehr:

A new Rasmussen poll out today has Romney up by 3 in Iowa.  I would like to believe it, but I don't, until I see some confirmation from others.  Rasmussen polls this cycle have been more favorable to GOP than other pollsters (in head to head matchups with Obama, generic ballot for Congress, unnamed GOP candidate versus Obama). 

I think Newt is taking some shots and may not win Iowa, which could be very bad for him given the high expectations.  A month from now,  Ron Paul may be on the cover of Newsweek and Time.  The GOP is giving lots of ammunition to those who want to portray it is an extremist party, rejecting their most electable guy, as measured in head to head matchups with Obama,  and giving votes to a 76 year old  flake.    

It has not been picked up much,  but Huntsman, who is following the McCain strategy from 2000 and 2008, of ignoring iowa, and focusing almost exclusively on New Hampshire, is gaining traction there.   If Paul wins Iowa, and Mitt finishes back in the pack there, with everyone bunched together  -- this is a a real possibility --  Huntsman has a  chance of winning new Hampshire, or getting second.    

Paul could also win both states, an incredible embarrassment for the party.  In Intrade betting, Huntsman is now rated 3rd most likely to be nominated after Romney and Gingrich.   Nate Silver says he may be most electable Republican.  I think Huntsman is wrong on an Afghanistan pullout, and a pretty smug guy, but Nate Silver says he would have even more appeal among independents than Romney (fresh face, no damaging history,  nice family, successful career, worked in the Obama administration, so not hugely partisan).  Of course he is a Mormon, so the bigot vote will turn out against him in GOP primaries. 

 

The Newt has been hammered unmercifully by the GOP field in the last few days, but especially by Ron Paul and Mitt Romney. The question asked by AT Political Correspondent Rich Baehr in today's PJ Media is; does this kind of negative campaigning hurt Gingrich?

A survey of how supporters of Gingrich, Romney, and Rick Perry respond  to positive and negative ads for their candidate as well as for other candidates demonstrates Gingrich's vulnerability. The survey by Evolving Strategies indicates that nearly half of Gingrich's supporters might abandon him after seeing a tough negative ad. The study suggests Romney would benefit from a  Gingrich decline, but did not test how much Ron Paul would benefit.

The latest Rasmussen survey (subscribers only) seems to bear that out as Byron York reports:

A new survey from pollster Scott Rasmussen shows support for Newt Gingrich in Iowa has fallen sharply in recent days. The poll shows the former House speaker with the support of 20 percent of likely Republican caucus-goers -- down from 32 percent in the last Rasmussen survey released November 15.

Gingrich has now fallen into second place in the Iowa race, behind Mitt Romney, who is at 23 percent, up from 19 percent in the last Rasmussen survey.

The complete poll results are: Romney, 23 percent; Gingrich 20 percent; Ron Paul, 18 percent; Rick Perry 10 percent; Michele Bachmann, 9 percent; Rick Santorum, 6 percent; and Jon Huntsman, 5 percent. Ten percent of likely caucus-goers said they support some other candidate or are not sure how they will vote.

In the new survey, every candidate but Gingrich gained support in the last few weeks. The biggest gainers were Romney, up four points; Paul, up eight points; and Perry, up four points. Michele Bachmann climbed three points, as did Jon Huntsman, who has been to Iowa a grand total of one time in the campaign.

Gingrich, on the other hand, fell 12 points.

"This is the fifth consecutive monthly poll with a new leader," Rasmussen says in an email. "It was Bachmann in August, then Perry, Cain, and Gingrich. Amidst all the volatility, Romney's numbers have held steady each month, and Ron Paul has been in double digits each month."

Everybody appears to be getting a second look by Iowa Republicans and Gingrich is suffering because of it. In truth, the more people know about Gingrich the less they appear to like him.

I am not convinced Romney is ahead in Iowa at this point. With a little more than two weeks to go, it looks like a three man race with Gingrich having the inside track - as long as he can get his supporters to the caucus sites. Romney and Paul are light years ahead of Gingrich in organization which means that volatility will probably rule until the voters make their choices.

One interesting note: The way that the caucuses are conducted makes a voter's "second choice" important. Romney is the clear second choice of the vast majority of Republicans which may be a deciding advantage in a close race.

Update from Richard Baehr:

A new Rasmussen poll out today has Romney up by 3 in Iowa.  I would like to believe it, but I don't, until I see some confirmation from others.  Rasmussen polls this cycle have been more favorable to GOP than other pollsters (in head to head matchups with Obama, generic ballot for Congress, unnamed GOP candidate versus Obama). 

I think Newt is taking some shots and may not win Iowa, which could be very bad for him given the high expectations.  A month from now,  Ron Paul may be on the cover of Newsweek and Time.  The GOP is giving lots of ammunition to those who want to portray it is an extremist party, rejecting their most electable guy, as measured in head to head matchups with Obama,  and giving votes to a 76 year old  flake.    

It has not been picked up much,  but Huntsman, who is following the McCain strategy from 2000 and 2008, of ignoring iowa, and focusing almost exclusively on New Hampshire, is gaining traction there.   If Paul wins Iowa, and Mitt finishes back in the pack there, with everyone bunched together  -- this is a a real possibility --  Huntsman has a  chance of winning new Hampshire, or getting second.    

Paul could also win both states, an incredible embarrassment for the party.  In Intrade betting, Huntsman is now rated 3rd most likely to be nominated after Romney and Gingrich.   Nate Silver says he may be most electable Republican.  I think Huntsman is wrong on an Afghanistan pullout, and a pretty smug guy, but Nate Silver says he would have even more appeal among independents than Romney (fresh face, no damaging history,  nice family, successful career, worked in the Obama administration, so not hugely partisan).  Of course he is a Mormon, so the bigot vote will turn out against him in GOP primaries. 

 

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