One Month: Boy, things have changed. Newt Gingrich is surging in Iowa, according to the Des Moines Register's latest Iowa Poll. Ron Paul's support is on the rise, too. And Mitt Romney's hanging in 3rd place. Of course, there is a major wild card in these numbers (with HEAVY emphasis on the "wild"). The Register's pollster talked to people before Herman Cain bailed from the race. So we need to take that into account. But here's my take on the new numbers...
I'll put my thoughts in bold, right above my previous reaction to the poll in October (which also included the candidate's Register poll numbers from June, too).
My thoughts on the numbers...then and now...
ROMNEY: 16% Uh-oh. Down 6% from October. Romney has largely counted on his support from 4 years ago in Iowa as he spent his time in other early states this time around. If these numbers hold, will he regret not trying harder in Iowa? Expect more attention from him in these final 4 weeks.
Romney June 23%, October 22%--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: 8%. Flat from October. Not very impressive for the woman who keeps stressing she was born in Iowa. Would need miracle December finish for top 3 on January 3rd caucus night. And since she went "all in" for Iowa, doesn't she need to win the state to keep going? Maybe surprise 2nd lets her survive until New Hampshire?
Bachmann 22% June, 8% October--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: 8%. Down a staggering 15%. Doesn't matter, though, since he dropped out. Where will 8% now go?
Cain 10% June, 23% October --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: 25%. Up 18%. Wow. More than triped his support in a month. Can he get the traditional caucus organation together in time to carry this surge to a caucus night win?Gingrich 7% June, 7% October --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: 18%. Up 6%. Don't count him out. Support 2 1/2 times as he had over the summer. If he grabs some of Cain's defectors, who knows?Paul 7% June, 12% October --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; 6%. Up 1%. Growing but LONG way to go. Needs huge chunk of the 11% undecided and some mass defections from others. Has definitely put in the time to meet people. But needs a lot more people for a top finish on caucus night. Santorum 4% June, 5% October. Little Engine. He is about to complete his tour of all 99 Iowa Counties. But when will all that work show some better numbers?
PERRY: 6%. Down 1%. Spent a ton of dough blanketing the state with campaign ads. And he lost support? Ouch. Perry....not yet a candidate in June. 7% October. 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?