Rick Santorum. Now? Seriously? This is ridiculous. How are prognosticators supposed to do our jobs if we get a break so late it makes Mike Huckabee look like an early frontrunner? Seriously, Iowa, simmer down now.
All I know is Ron Paul isn't winning. Beyond that, anything's possible.
Well, almost anything. It's starting to look like Newt Gingrich's lack of organization and depth in Iowa is taking a toll. CNN/ORC International (452 likely caucus goers, MoE 4.5, weird split sample that skips over Christmas) puts him in fourth at 14 (Mitt Romney 25, Ron Paul 22, Rick Santorum 16, Gingrich 14, Rick Perry 11). Further he has the second-worst "Would not consider supporting" rating at 39%, better than only Ron Paul. Here's the breakdown:
Gingrich draws 14% but gets no support from 39% for a net -25 rating. Paul has 22% but none from 41% for a net -19. Perry draws 11% but none from 25% for a net -14. Romney gets 25% but none from 31% for a net -6. This makeshift intensity rating missed the Santorum surge, but suggests Gingrich's favorability is dropping back to where it was this summer.
CNN also asked similar questions in New Hampshire. The figures suggest any chance Gingrich had there has faded, as the numbers are so solid for Mitt Romney. My makeshift intensity rating (first choice support - would not consider supporting level) is entirely one sided. Romney +27, Paul -23, Gingrich -34, Perry -57 (fifty-seven). Ouch for Perry there.
InsiderAdvantage no longer projects a Paul win (429 RVs "who will be voting in Iowa's Republican Presidential Primary [sic]"), but does have Paul, Romney, and Gingrich in a three way tie at 17. Santorum falls to fourth at 13 and Perry to fifth at 11. Again though, the Paul number is inflated. He leads independents Paul 33-Santorum 14-Gingrich 13, while among Republicans it's Romney 20-Gingrich 18-Santorum 14. Some independents will show, but not that many, as I covered previously.
And then we have Rasmussen Reports (750 likely caucus participants, MoE 4, no mobile handling but an online panel to supplement landlines). No details, but Romney 23, Paul 22, Santorum 16, Gingrich 13, Perry 13 isn't good news for the Speaker, either.
Santorum up, Gingrich down, Perry not up nearly as much as he needs to be, Romney incredibly steady. And with five candidates splitting the bulk of the vote, anything can happen. Almost.