The Iowa caucuses may very well be Ron Paul's to lose. Six days before the GOP presidential nomination contest officially begins with the critical Jan. 3 caucuses, a new Public Policy Polling survey shows the Texas libertarian maintaining his pole position. Despite a host of bad publicity over controversial newsletters from the 1980s and 1990s that resurfaced last week, Rep. Paul (R-Texas) leads former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney 24 percent to 20 percent, and Romney's favorability ratings have dipped sharply. Fighting for third place are Newt Gingrich (13 percent), Michele Bachmann (11 percent), Rick Perry (10 percent), and Rick Santorum (10 percent). Will Paul really win Iowa?
Paul has it in the bag: The Texan has the edge where it counts, says Stephen C. Webster at Raw Story. He has a "broad coalition" of supporters, but more importantly, he has the edge over Romney "when it comes to how committed his supporters are." Seventy-seven percent of Paul's supporters are "firmly committed," compared to 71 percent of Romney's. And when it comes to "the most crucial campaign metric," favorability rating, Paul has the momentum. For the first time in three months, Romney's favorability rating has dropped. The moral of the story: Ron Paul is "poised to win" Iowa.
"Poll: Ron Paul poised to win Iowa caucuses"
Don't count out Romney: Paul is depending on "a coalition of voters that's pretty unusual for a Republican in the state," says Public Policy Polling. The Texan is attracting an "unusual number" of young voters, and also leads among Independents and Democrats, who can crash the caucuses. That combination worked for Obama in 2008, and "it may be Paul's winning equation in 2012." But "if turnout ends up looking a little bit more traditional, Romney will probably prevail." That's because Romney leads among Republicans and seniors, a key metric since GOP caucus voters tend to "skew old."
"Paul maintains his lead"
Either way, this is now a "two-man race": One of the big stories here is Gingrich's "fall from grace," says Steve Singiser at Daily Kos. The former House speaker was the favorite just a few weeks ago, but now his favorability rating has taken a sharp nosedive, indicating that "what was once a three-man race is now a two-man race." It's still an exciting contest, of course, especially considering Paul's maverick coalition, and the challenges he faces in inspiring those supporters to turn out. With a "flood of polling to come this week," this "Paul-Romney dynamic bears watching."
"Daily Kos polling wrap: Iowa GOP primary now a two-man race?"