December 04, 2011

Can Gingrich hold Iowa poll lead to win GOP caucuses?

Newt Gingrich is the new GOP leader in the influential Iowa Poll, coming just a month before the state opens the official 2012 presidential nominating season.
In a volatile Republican race where the leader of national and state polls has changed often, does the former House speaker have the staying power to become the party's standard bearer against President Obama?

Craig Robinson, a former Iowa Republican Party political director, told USA TODAY that Gingrich just might be able to stick as the alternative to Romney, who has long been perceived as the "next guy in line" for the GOP nomination but not sufficiently conservative for some voters.
"Gingrich's rise in the polls is going to be different," said Robinson, founder and editor in chief of The Iowa Republican website. "The main reason is Gingrich has been a national figure for two decades. He's better known … he has the ability to hold on to these numbers, where the others spiked and fell dramatically down quickly."

The influential Iowa Poll, released in full Saturday night by the Des Moines Register, shows essentially a three-way race with Gingrich leading with 25% support from likely GOP caucusgoers. He's followed by Texas Rep. Ron Paul (18%) and Mitt Romney (16%), who has dropped to third.
Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, who was born in Iowa and won the state's straw poll this summer, was at 8% and tied with Herman Cain. The businessman suspended his campaign Saturday.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum were tied at 6% and former Utah governor Jon Huntsman was at 2%.
The poll was taken Nov. 27-30, as Cain grappled with allegations of an extramarital affair by Ginger White. He said they were only friends.

Romney recently started running TV ads in Iowa, in a sign that he might want to play to win the caucuses for some momentum going into the New Hampshire primary on Jan. 10. He's leading Gingrich in the Granite State by an average of 16.6 percentage points, according to recent New Hampshire surveys.
Paul, a libertarian who has a passionate following among some conservatives, has attacked Gingrich for what he says is "serial hypocrisy" on issues and in his post-congressional career. Earlier this year, Paul criticized Romney, Perry and Bachmann as "smooth-talking politicians" in a $2 million ad campaign.
Robinson, who worked on Steve Forbes' Iowa campaign in 2000, says Romney could hurt himself if he doesn't do well in the caucuses.
"Romney needs to have a good finish in Iowa," Robinson said. "He needs to create momentum. He needs to damage or try to kill off maybe his big opponent and that could be Gingrich."

By Catalina Camia, USA TODAY

No comments:

Post a Comment