A breaking poll conducted by the Public Policy Polling organization shows Rep. Ron Paul in a statistical tie for first place among likely GOP voters next to Newt Gingrich, the first poll yet to show Texas Congressman in a position to win outright in the Iowa Caucus, the nation’s leader in the 2012 GOP primary.
Though Newt Gingrich had a clear lead last week, Paul has closed the margin, now polling at 21%, statistically matching Gingrich’s 22%. As the above graphic shows, the libertarian-leaning Congressman has tremendous support in Iowa, which is only growing. Mitt Romney remains at third with 16%. The standard margin of error for scientific polls is 3%.
“Newt Gingrich’s momentum is fading in Iowa,” commented the President of Public Policy Polling Dean Debnam. “Meanwhile Ron Paul is building an unusual coalition of support for a Republican primary. The big question is: will they really turn out?”
Further, the polling results show that Ron Paul supporters tended to be staunch and firm in their candidate, with 77% “definite” in their choice, while Gingrich supporters were only 54% certain, according to the poll. Iowa goes to caucus January 3rd.
From the Public Policy Polling website:
Paul closes in on Gingrich
There has been some major movement in the Republican Presidential race in Iowa over the last week, with what was a 9 point lead for Newt Gingrich now all the way down to a single point. Gingrich is at 22% to 21% for Paul with Mitt Romney at 16%, Michele Bachmann at 11%, Rick Perry at 9%, Rick Santorum at 8%, Jon Huntsman at 5%, and Gary Johnson at 1%.
Gingrich has dropped 5 points in the last week and he’s also seen a significant decline in his favorability numbers. Last week he was at +31 (62/31) and he’s now dropped 19 points to +12 (52/40). The attacks on him appear to be taking a heavy toll- his support with Tea Party voters has declined from 35% to 24%.
Paul meanwhile has seen a big increase in his popularity from +14 (52/38) to +30 (61/31). There are a lot of parallels between Paul’s strength in Iowa and Barack Obama’s in 2008- he’s doing well with new voters, young voters, and non-Republican voters:
-59% of likely voters participated in the 2008 Republican caucus and they support Gingrich 26-18. But among the 41% of likely voters who are ‘new’ for 2012 Paul leads Gingrich 25-17 with Romney at 16%. Paul is doing a good job of bringing out folks who haven’t done this before.