A couple of posts back I speculated that the massive air assault launched against Newt Gingrich by Mitt Romney and Ron Paul was indeed weighing down Gingrich, and might allow Romn Paul to sneak in the back door. Public Policy just released some new Iowa poll numbers showing just that, with Gingrich actually slipping into third place and Ron Paul leading the pack. For those that think that negative campaigning does not work lets look at this tidbit from Public Policy:
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.
Ron Paul stands at 23%, with Mitt Romney at 20%, 14% for Gingrich, 10% for Michelle Bachmann, Rick Perry, and Rick Santorum, 4% for Jon Huntsman, and 2% for Gary Johnson.
Paul does not just have good poll numbers in Iowa. He also has organization and money. Paul’s people have maintained libertarian organizations that date back to his last run, leaving him positioned to out-hustle the opposition on caucus day. Mitt Romney could not have mapped this out any better.
I am somewhat mystified as to the real lack of response by Gingrich to the savage assault placed on him over the airwaves. He apparently does not have the financial resources to respond at all, and he does not really have a ground game in Iowa. Looks like another “not-Mitt” flameout, with Newt’s eschewing “traditional” campaign methodology coming back to bite him hard. It may be time for another cruise so that Newt can think this over.
My only concern is that by bashing each other the final nominee will be too bloodied by the effort.