Gingrich support “collapses” in Iowa; Ron Paul in the lead — for now

I don’t know how often I’ll be posting about the national elections, but I’m fascinated by the waxing and waning fortunes of the candidates in the GOP field. As others’ poll numbers rise and then fall, there’s Romney hovering steadily.

Now there’s this from Public Policy Polling: Paul takes lead as Gingrich collapses in Iowa. A snippet:

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.

Gary Johnson?

Anyway, FiveThirtyEight also now finds Paul in the lead, largely on the basis of this PPP poll.

If Paul really does look to be the winner in Iowa and to be more competitive, the national media and the national electorate will take a closer look at him. And that will be bad news for Dr. Paul, as he is forced again to explain the frequently racist and homophobic statements in newsletters published under his name. See The Company Ron Paul Keeps in The Weekly Standard, which includes:

“Order was only restored in L.A. when it came time for the blacks to pick up their welfare checks,” read a typical article from the June 1992 “Special Issue on Racial Terrorism,” a supplement to the Ron Paul Political Report. Racial apocalypse was the most persistent theme of the newsletters; a 1990 issue warned of “The Coming Race War,” and an article the following year about disturbances in the Adams Morgan neighborhood of Washington, D.C., was entitled “Animals Take Over the D.C. Zoo.” Paul alleged that Martin Luther King Jr., “the world-class philanderer who beat up his paramours,” had also “seduced underage girls and boys.” The man who would later proclaim King a “hero” attacked Ronald Reagan for signing legislation creating the federal holiday in his name, complaining, “We can thank him for our annual Hate Whitey Day.”

No conspiracy theory was too outlandish for Paul’s endorsement. One newsletter reported on the heretofore unknown phenomenon of “Needlin’,” in which “gangs of black girls between the ages of 12 and 14” roamed the streets of New York and injected white women with possibly HIV-infected syringes. Another newsletter warned that “the AIDS patient” should not be allowed to eat in restaurants because “AIDS can be transmitted by saliva,” a strange claim for a physician to make.

Paul has claimed that he didn’t even know what was actually written in his own newsletters, but there’s no chance that a candidate with statements like this in his past — and with a host of economic ideas that are far outside mainstream economic thinking — could win a general election.

Meanwhile, in other interesting news from Iowa, the Des Moines Register endorsed Mitt Romney.

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