Another snapshot poll for you. In this one, it appears to have captured Newt's fall and Romney's rise as they meet in mid air.
Two weeks before Iowans cast the first votes of the 2012 election cycle, Republicans nationally are sharply divided over whom their party's presidential nominee should be, with Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich locked in a dead-even race, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
Gingrich and Romney are each favored by 30 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents. Running behind them is Rep. Ron Paul (Tex.), whose libertarian philosophy has attracted a strong following. He stands at 15 percent, about double his tally in an early November poll. All other active candidates are in the single digits.Romney has edged higher in the GOP contest, breaking out of the 20s for the first time since July. Gingrich has jumped greatly since early November, in part because of businessman Herman Cain's decision to suspend his candidacy.
Gingrich peaked at an even higher level and started to fade in other national surveys conducted between the Post-ABC polls, suggesting that he may have lost some momentum recently. He was on the defensive in the final debates before the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses and has come under sharp attack by Romney in a series of media interviews. He also is the target of hundreds of thousands of dollars in negative ads in Iowa from his major rivals and their allies, all of which could be taking a toll.
Still time for a Ron Paul boomlet that would make this a three way race, or perhaps even a surprise showing by Bachmann in Iowa or Huntsman in New Hampshire could complicate the race.
As for Gingrich, he may be tanking in Iowa but his national numbers are still pretty strong. There's a chance he may have bottomed out, although a disappointing finish in Iowa could accelerate his fall.
And Romney just keeps plugging along, not rising much and not falling much. This feeds the Romney campaign narrative that in the end, the GOP will see him as the only alternative and get behind him. It will be a reluctant party that does so if that happens which leaves a lot of room for a challenger to make their case.