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PostPosted: Sun Jan 01, 2012 10:00 am    Post subject: Iowa republican primary to sort out front runners Reply with quote

A race to the start: Iowa primary will sort out the Republican front-runners

Reuters Dec 31, 2011 – 3:08 PM ET | Last Updated: Dec 31, 2011 3:09 PM ET

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

If Mitt Romney can win in Iowa and in his stronghold of New Hampshire two weeks later, that might be the one-two punch he needs to clinch his nomination.

By John Whitesides

DES MOINES, Iowa – Republican voters in Iowa open a long and grueling 2012 presidential race on Tuesday, with polls showing Mitt Romney battling Ron Paul for a momentum-generating win in the party’s kickoff nominating contest.

Four other contenders, led by surging Rick Santorum, are vying to consolidate conservative support and break into the top tier in the state-by-state fight to pick a Republican challenger to President Barack Obama, a Democrat, in November’s election.

The stakes are high for each candidate, with Romney aiming for a win that could put him on a path toward clinching the nomination early and struggling rivals like Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann fighting to keep their White House hopes alive.


New poll solidifies Mitt Romney’s lead in Iowa

Ron Paul takes lead over Newt Gingrich in Iowa, poll suggests

Newt Gingrich, leading the race just weeks ago until he withered under an onslaught of attack ads from Paul and an outside group aligned with Romney, needs a strong showing to stop his slide in the polls and show he is capable of mounting a comeback.

The candidates spent the last days of the Iowa campaign crisscrossing the state by bus in a burst of face-to-face campaigning, and flooding airwaves and mailboxes with millions of dollars in advertisements.

But polls showed at least four of every 10 Iowa Republicans entered the final stretch undecided or willing to change their minds about a frequently shifting presidential race that has seen the rise and fall of several contenders.

“You are starting to see some separation, with Paul and Romney moving into the lead and a real battle developing for third,” said Tim Albrecht, an Iowa Republican strategist and aide to Governor Terry Branstad.

“But there is still a lot of uncertainty. Caucus campaigns in Iowa are notoriously tough to poll, and no one is sure who is going to turn out,” he said.

Iowa’s nominating contest has a spotty track record of picking winners, but it has traditionally winnowed the presidential field of laggards and elevated surprise contenders, setting the stage for later contests in New Hampshire, South Carolina, Florida and elsewhere.

The slide of Gingrich, the former House of Representatives speaker, has restored Romney as the race’s frontrunner and presumed nominee.

Polls show Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts and former head of a private equity fund, performs best of all the Republicans in head-to-head matchups with Obama in a general election campaign certain to focus on the economy and high unemployment.

Jeff Haynes/Reuters

Newt Gingrich has seen his lead slip in the last week.

A win in Iowa for Romney, an infrequent visitor to the state until this week’s late push, combined with a Jan. 10 victory in his stronghold of New Hampshire would be a one-two knockout punch that could help him clinch the nomination early.

Paul, a congressman from Texas with libertarian views, has a dedicated core of followers and the best campaign organization in the state, but questions remain about whether he can expand his base of support and compete in states beyond Iowa.

The battle for the top spot among the four conservatives also could be critical. Republicans have struggled to settle on a conservative alternative to the more moderate Romney, who is distrusted by many on the right because of his past support for abortion rights and a state healthcare plan similar to Obama’s federal overhaul.

Santorum, a former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania, has surged into third in recent polls, boosted by endorsements from prominent Iowa religious conservatives and the collapse of Gingrich.

But Santorum, who has run a shoestring campaign based on visiting all 99 Iowa counties and nurturing church-based support, would face a challenge in quickly raising enough money to compete in expensive later contests like Florida.

Scott Olson/Getty Images

Rick Santorum has visited each of Iowa's 99 counties in preparation for the primary.
Perry, the Texas governor who has poured millions into television ads in Iowa, and Bachmann, a congresswoman from Minnesota whose poll numbers plunged after a summer turn at the top, need a good Iowa finish to replenish their campaign accounts and stay alive until the Jan. 21 contest in conservative South Carolina.

“Whoever comes in third will be competitive after Iowa, just given the conservative nature of Republican primary voters,” said Steve Grubbs, an Iowa Republican strategist who was state chairman for former candidate Herman Cain.

“Iowa has never been about picking the winner, it’s about winnowing the field,” he said. “If Iowa sends a moderate, a libertarian and a conservative on to fight it out in the rest of the states, it has done its job.”

Paul has remained near the top of Iowa polls despite a controversy over racially charged 1990s-era newsletters that appeared under his name. Iowa Republicans said the controversy has been slow to sink in with state voters preoccupied with the holiday season.

Much of Paul’s strength comes from his appeal to independents and disaffected Democrats who might not have participated in past caucuses and from college students who will be on holiday break, making estimates of his turnout difficult.

The nature of Iowa’s caucus system, which requires voters to head out on a cold winter night to join their neighbors at a community gathering spot for speeches and the balloting, also makes turnout unpredictable.

State activists agree, however, that Paul has Iowa’s best organization, run by veteran members of the party’s central committee.

“For all the talk about his unconventional ways, Paul set up the most conventional approach to Iowa, with a lot of retail politics and a really strong organization,” said Steve Deace, an Iowa talk radio host.

“He’s tilled the soil here, and when you till the soil you usually get a pretty good crop,” Deace said.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 01, 2012 10:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Romney Holds Slim Lead in Key Iowa Poll

by Jake Gibson | December 31, 2011

A Des Moines Register poll released Saturday night shows Mitt Romney holding onto a slim lead in the critical Hawkeye state, with Ron Paul and Rick Santorum still in the hunt.

The well-respected poll was conducted Tuesday through Friday and has Romney, the former Massachusetts Gov. with 24 percent; Texas Congressman Ron Paul with 22; and 15 percent for former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum who has been surging at just the right time.

However in a sign of the highly volatile nature of the race, 41 percent of likely caucusgoers say they could still change their minds before Tuesday night's vote.

The bottom half of the poll shows former House Speaker Newt Gingrich with 12 percent; Texas Gov. Rick Perry with 11; and Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann with 7 percent.

The poll of 602 likely Republican caucusgoers has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

The first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses, which take place Tuesday evening, kick off voting in the presidential nominating process. The Iowa Poll, a Register exclusive since 1943, is a much-watched indicator of how candidates are faring in the leadoff caucus state.

The first three Iowa Polls of the 2012 caucus cycle, conducted in June, October and November, featured a different leader each time: first Romney, then retired business executive Herman Cain, then Gingrich. Other candidates took turns in the top tier, too. Bachmann was in second place to Romney in the June poll and won the Iowa straw poll in August. But her support plummeted this fall.

Gingrich surged to the lead with 25 percent support in the late November poll, but slid to 12 percent in the new poll.

Now, it’s Santorum’s time to rocket to the top tier. He has campaigned in Iowa more than any other candidate, stumping the state more than 100 days and conducting more than 300 events since the last presidential election. Next closest is Bachmann, at 80 days.

But until recent weeks, Santorum has struggled to escape single digits in state and national polls. He has campaigned as both a strong fiscal and social conservative, but social conservative voters had remained undecided or split among several candidates.

Romney campaigned lightly in the state until December, but he benefits from the network he built as a candidate four years ago, when he campaigned constantly and poured $10 million into a heavy advertising schedule and a big campaign organization.

Read more: http://politics.blogs.foxnews......z1iDeSYQcU
905 Tory

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2012 2:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Its pretty ridiculous how the media has treated this. Santorum has never polled ahead of Ron Paul and yet they spent much much more time covering him than Paul this past week. Hell, they basically say that if Paul wins Iowa, it doesn't matter anymore. I may not agree with him on every little thing but he's far better than Romney.

People say Romney has the best chance against Obama. I disagree as Romney can't create the type of excitement to rally against Obama. At least with Paul, he'll tell it like it is to Obama at the debates when the whole world is watching and at least pick up some disaffected democrats and independents.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2012 10:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ron Paul will be 77 this year, I'm not sure I'd feel comfortable electing a President that old.

Wonder will Romney choose someone from the tea party as his running-mate?

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2012 11:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

905 Tory wrote:

People say Romney has the best chance against Obama. I disagree as Romney can't create the type of excitement to rally against Obama. At least with Paul, he'll tell it like it is to Obama at the debates when the whole world is watching and at least pick up some disaffected democrats and independents.

The 2008 election was about anointing a savior not electing a President.

Romney may be as exciting as watching molasses come out of the can but he is electable and holds appeal in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Michigan which you really need to win most of to become President.

I have no issue with Ron Paul's vigor
But I tend to agree that being 77 and being a potential deadzone in States the Republicans need to win are at least concerns.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2012 6:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

GOP Candidates Step Up South Carolina Push as Polls Show New Leaderboard

Published January 06, 2012

| FoxNews.com

Jan. 6, 2012: Mitt Romney speaks at a campaign event in Conway, S.C.

The Republican presidential candidates are keeping a close eye on South Carolina even as they prepare for the first-in-the-nation New Hampshire primary, with new polls showing the leaderboard shifting in the Palmetto State contest

Three polls Friday showed Mitt Romney reclaiming the lead from Newt Gingrich in South Carolina following the former Massachusetts governor's narrow win Tuesday in Iowa. Rick Santorum and Gingrich are now battling for second in South Carolina -- whose election results historically have been the most accurate gauge for who becomes the Republican presidential nominee.

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"It's going to come down, as it always does, to South Carolina," Sen. John McCain, the 2008 GOP nominee, said Friday while on the stump with Romney in Conway, S.C. "If Mitt Romney wins here, he will be the next president of the United States."

McCain predicted Romney would win in New Hampshire, hardly a radical forecast at this point. Most polls show Romney well ahead in the state, though the race there is tightening a bit.

Although all the GOP candidates are competing in New Hampshire, even before the Iowa caucus results came in they were plotting for how to make inroads in South Carolina and prevent Romney from going three for three.

Gingrich said in an interview Friday that one of Romney's rivals "will eventually emerge as the conservative alternative and will beat Romney."

Gingrich lost an earlier lead in South Carolina but he remains competitive there despite a fourth-place finish in Iowa. A Rasmussen Reports poll out Friday showed Romney with 27 percent support in South Carolina, followed by Santorum with 24 percent and Gingrich with 18 percent. An American Research Group poll in the state showed Romney with 31 percent, and Gingrich and Santorum each with 24 percent.

A CNN/Time poll later showed Romney with 37 percent, followed by Santorum at 19 percent and Gingrich at 18 percent.

The polls reflected a steady rise for Romney and an astonishing surge for Santorum following his near-tie with Romney in Iowa -- Rasmussen had him at 1 percent in South Carolina just two months ago.

The Rasmussen poll of 750 likely GOP primary voters was taken Thursday and had a margin of error of 4 percentage points. The ARG survey of 600 likely GOP voters was taken Wednesday and Thursday and also had a margin of error of 4 percentage points. The CNN/Time poll of 485 likely primary voters was taken Wednesday and Thursday, with a margin of error of 4.5 percentage points.

McCain and other Romney surrogates hammered at the candidate's rivals ahead of the New Hampshire and South Carolina contests. McCain criticized Gingrich and Santorum for supporting earmarks in Congress, telling voters, "My friends, earmarks are the gateway to corruption."

Romney's GOP rivals are likewise working overtime to cast as him to too timid and too moderate: They're urging Republicans to do themselves a favor and nominate a more conservative standard-bearer offering a sharper contrast to Obama.

"The only way Republicans lose is if we screw this up and nominate another moderate who has taken multiple positions on every major issue of our time," Santorum, a former Pennsylvania senator, told supporters in a fundraising appeal Friday.

Gingrich argued on ABC News that Romney can't win the nomination and said that even if he did, his performance against Obama in the general election campaign debates would be laughable.

Romney is heavily favored to win Tuesday's New Hampshire primary, so much so that he can afford to focus on South Carolina, where voters aren't due to cast primary ballots for another two weeks.

Romney kept his focus on Obama, telling his audience in Conway that the president's proposal to reduce the military and focus more on Asia was "inexcusable, unthinkable and it must be reversed."

Santorum, who pulled within a handful of votes to place just behind Romney in Iowa's caucuses, is likely to find a welcome audience among South Carolina conservatives, and so he remained in New Hampshire to try to maintain the momentum he earned from Iowa.

"Don't settle for less than America needs," Santorum asked those expected to vote in New Hampshire's first-in-the nation primary. Without saying so Thursday, he and the other candidates appeared to share a common objective -- hold down Romney's vote totals in New Hampshire, then knock him off stride in the first Southern primary.

Romney benefited handsomely from having several rivals split the vote in Iowa, where his winner's share was roughly 25 percent.

His allies were fully engaged in the tussle over which GOP candidate is the true conservative. On Friday, he showcased the endorsement of conservative leader Bay Buchanan, whose brother Pat won the New Hampshire primary in 1996. Bay Buchanan cast Romney as a "real conservative" who could get things done.

Restore Our Future, the pro-Romney super PAC that unloaded a barrage of negative TV ads on Gingrich in Iowa, planned to go after him again -- this time in print. The group announced Friday it had purchased full-page newspaper ads in New Hampshire and South Carolina tying the former House speaker to Obama.

"On issue after issue, Newt Gingrich and Barack Obama have so much in common, the right choice is to choose neither," the ad said, ticking through issues, including backing the federal bank bailout and favoring "amnesty" for illegal immigrants

Jon Huntsman, who bypassed Iowa to bet his campaign on a good finish in New Hampshire, was showing off an endorsement by The Boston Globe, Romney's hometown paper. It was the second time Massachusetts' largest newspaper had snubbed Romney ahead of the New Hampshire primary.

Also vying to emerge as Romney's chief rival were Texans Ron Paul and Rick Perry.

Perry, who finished fifth in Iowa, released a biographical ad in South Carolina that spokesman Ray Sullivan said shows his "perfect-for-South-Carolina status" as a conservative man of faith and a veteran.

Paul, who placed third in Iowa, was arriving in New Hampshire on Friday, in time to campaign and participate in a pair of weekend debates.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politic.....z1iiy0hR3F
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Iowa republican primary to sort out front runners

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