Paul closes in on Gingrich

Public Police Polling December 13, 2011

There has been some major movement in the Republican Presidential race in Iowa over the last week, with what was a 9 point lead for Newt Gingrich now all the way down to a single point.

Gingrich is at 22% to 21% for Paul

with Mitt Romney at 16%, Michele Bachmann at 11%, Rick Perry at 9%, Rick Santorum at 8%, Jon Huntsman at 5%, and Gary Johnson at 1%.

Gingrich has dropped 5 points in the last week and he’s also seen a significant decline in his favorability numbers. Last week he was at +31 (62/31) and he’s now dropped 19 points to +12 (52/40). The attacks on him appear to be taking a heavy toll- his support with Tea Party voters has declined from 35% to 24%.

Paul meanwhile has seen a big increase in his popularity from +14 (52/38) to +30 (61/31). There are a lot of parallels between Paul’s strength in Iowa and Barack Obama’s in 2008- he’s doing well with new voters, young voters, and non-Republican voters:

-59% of likely voters participated in the 2008 Republican caucus and they support Gingrich 26-18. But among the 41% of likely voters who are ‘new’ for 2012 Paul leads Gingrich 25-17 with Romney at 16%. Paul is doing a good job of bringing out folks who haven’t done this before.

-He’s also very strong with young voters. Among likely caucus goers under 45 Paul is up 30-16 on Gingrich. With those over 45, Gingrich leads him 26-15 with Romney at 17%.

-Among Republicans Gingrich leads Paul 25-17. But with voters who identify as Democrats or independents, 21% of the electorate in a year with no action on the Democratic side, Paul leads Gingrich 34-14 with Romney at 17%.

Young voters, independents, and folks who haven’t voted in caucuses before is an unusual coalition for a Republican candidate…the big question is whether these folks will really come out and vote…if they do, we could be in for a big upset.

Paul’s supporters are considerably more committed to him than Gingrich’s are. 77% of current Paul voters say they’re definitely going to vote for him, compared to only 54% for Gingrich. Romney has much more solid support than Gingrich as well, 67% of his voters saying they’re with him for the long haul. Among only voters who say their mind’s totally made up, 29% support Paul to 21% for Gingrich, 18% for Romney, and 11% for Bachmann.

Romney’s staying right in place. He was at 16% last week and he’s at 16% this week. His net favorability was a +4 spread last week and it’s a +4 spread this week. Gingrich’s support is declining in Iowa but Romney’s not gaining, just as he failed to gain when Cain and Perry and Bachmann collapsed before. One statistic that really jumps out- only 44% of Romney’s supporters from 2008 say they plan to vote for him again. If he was even just retaining all his support from last time around he’d be in the lead.
Like Romney, there’s been little change in Michele Bachmann’s standing over the last week. Her favorability was +21 (56/35). Now it’s +18 (55/37). She’s gone from 13% support to 11%.

Rick Perry generated a ton of attention in the last week with his ad decrying the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ and the ‘War on Christmas,’ but it hasn’t done much for his poll standing. He was at 9% and he’s still at 9%. His favorability numbers are under water with 43% of likely voters viewing him favorably to 47% with a negative opinion. The only Republican who’s less well regarded is Jon Huntsman. Only 41% of Iowa Republicans even oppose gays serving in the military to 28% who support it and 31% unsure…and Perry’s only tied for fourth even with those who are opposed, behind Gingrich, Bachmann, and Paul.

RP12 – Ron Paul 2012