Let’s see, we’ve already been through Donald Trump, Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, and Herman Cain. Newt Gingrich is currently teetering atop the leader board, but the more people hear him and remember him, the more they’re reminded of that bratty kid in Grade 4 who knew everything — or Huey Long — and now he’s beginning to fade. So who’s next?
Well, Ron Paul, of course.
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.
Even Ross Douthat is taking a look at him, but only as a spoiler for Newt Gingrich and the one who will serve as the tear the Tea Party apart and deliver the nomination to Mitt Romney.
There isn’t enough popcorn in the world that can make this any more entertaining.