It seems like the rule of the Republican primary race is whatever goes up must come down, except Mitt Romney who remains creepily consistent at roughly 20 percent support. In the past few weeks Newt Gingrich went from a big lead in Iowa to dropping all the way down to a distant third place according to PPP polling. Ron Paul now leads in the caucus. From PPP:
Newt Gingrich’s campaign is rapidly imploding, and Ron Paul has now taken the lead in Iowa. He’s at 23% to 20% for Mitt Romney, 14% for Gingrich, 10% each for Rick Santorum, Michele Bachmann, and Rick Perry, 4% for Jon Huntsman, and 2% for Gary Johnson.
Gingrich has now seen a big drop in his Iowa standing two weeks in a row. His share of the vote has gone from 27% to 22% to 14%. And there’s been a large drop in his personal favorability numbers as well from +31 (62/31) to +12 (52/40) to now -1 (46/47). Negative ads over the last few weeks have really chipped away at Gingrich’s image as being a strong conservative- now only 36% of voters believe that he has ‘strong principles,’ while 43% think he does not.
What we are seeing with Gingrich in Iowa is also reflected in Gallup’s national tracking poll. According to Gallup Gingrich’s support has dropped 9 points in the past two weeks.
With Gingrich imploding under the intense scrutiny, at this point it looks unlikely that a single candidate will emerge to rally the entire anti-Romney vote. Instead it will be split among a handful of candidates. That split is looking pretty good for the Romney campaign right now.