With the Iowa caucuses just two weeks away, Ron Paul has taken the lead in two caucus forecasts — a development that has the GOP establishment on edge.
A December 18 Public Policy Polling survey found that the Texas Congressman was the choice of 23 percent of likely Republican caucus voters. Mitt Romney came in second at 20 percent, with Newt Gingrich in third at 14 percent and Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum tied at 10 percent. “Someone else/Not sure” was next at 7 percent, followed by Jon Huntsman at 4 percent and Gary Johnson at 2 percent.
Gingrich was the biggest loser in the poll, having plunged from 27 percent support three weeks ago to 14 percent now. In addition, he possesses the highest “unfavorable” rating of any candidate in the race (47 percent). Paul, meanwhile, led the pack on the positive side with 54 percent of voters viewing him favorably.
On matters of principle, Paul, not surprisingly, is the champion in voters’ minds. Seventy-three percent said he has strong principles, while only 50 percent thought the same of Romney and 36 percent of Gingrich. (The question was not asked about the other candidates.)
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