Poll Power...The key to popularity in Iowa right now is to rarely come to the state. O.K., I doubt any political scientist could prove that, but the new Des Moines Register Poll might give that thought to someone. Herman Cain finished at the top of the new poll. Mitt Romney finished one point behind in the poll of likely Republican caucus goers. Neither has been blazing any trails across the state this year but both enjoy a strong showing in this poll.
The Register last polled Iowans about the field in June (Perry wasn't in the race yet).
My thoughts on the numbers...then and now...
Romney 23% June...22% Now --Steady Eddie. Not losing, not gaining. Holds support from 2008. Good enough showing that we shouldn't expect him to pick up the campaigning in Iowa?
Bachmann 22% June... 8% Now --Flamed out? Needs major momentum reversal. How does she win people back after losing them? Cue Eric Woolson, Mike Huckabee 2008's Iowa miracle worker, who has taken over her efforts in the state.
Cain 10%...June 23% Now --Smoking hot. But...who keeps 'em burning with little Iowa campaign infrastructure? Romney already had a built-in base here. Where's Cain's?
Gingrich 7% June...7% Now --Hanging on. Gets praise for debate (mostly outbursts about the media) but not translating into growth here yet. And will he put together a staff to get the needed caucus turnout to allow him to continue?
Paul 7% June...12% Now --Mini-revolution. The Ron Paul revolution isn't storming the castle yet, but it's growing nicely. Can it grow enough for a caucus finish that will get national attention beyond Iowa?
Pawlenty 6% June... Dropped out. Endorsed Romney. Will he campaign here to help Romney?
Santorum 4% June...5% Now. Little Engine. He is about to complete his tour of all 99 Iowa Counties. But when will all that work show some better numbers?
Huntsman 2% June....who?
Perry....not yet a candidate in June. 7% Now. That's 5th in this poll if you're keeping score. Lot of work to do to make Romney sweat. Running tv ads (Paul is, too). Will reading scripted comments make up for the unscripted problems he has during debates?
So...you have the two businessmen at the top, then Paul's anti-governmentals and social conservative-favorites split the rest. Will all these candidates survive long enough to get to caucus night?
And for a dose or reality...O. Kay Henderson who reminds us who looked good in the Register's poll in October of 2007. Cue the Law and Order theme music now...