Goodbye Newt! A new poll out of Iowa finds Gingrich has dropped to third place behind Ron Paul and Mitt Romney.
The Public Policy Polling survey has Ron Paul at 23%, Mitt Romney at 20% and Gingrich at 14%. Gingrich's standing has dropped from 27% just two weeks ago.
Paul's ascendancy is a sign that perhaps campaigns do matter at least a little, in a year where there has been a lot of discussion about whether they still do in Iowa. 22% of voters think he's run the best campaign in the state compared to only 8% for Gingrich and 5% for Romney. The only other candidate to hit double digits on that question is Bachmann at 19%. Paul also leads Romney 26-5 (with Gingrich at 13%) with the 22% of voters who say it's 'very important' that a candidate spends a lot of time in Iowa. Finally Paul leads Romney 29-19 among the 26% of likely voters who have seen one of the candidates in person.
Romney's vote share is up 4 points from a week ago to 20% from it previous 16% standing. His favorability numbers have improved a little bit as well from 48/44 to 49/40. One thing Romney really has going for him is more room for growth than Paul. Among voters who say they're not firmly committed to their current candidate choice, Romney is the second choice for 19% compared to 17% for Perry, 15% for Bachmann, and only 13% for Paul. It's particularly worth noting that among Gingrich- who seems more likely to keep falling than turn it around- voters, he's the second choice of 30% compared to only 11% for Paul.
Two other notes on Romney: he's now winning the electability primary- 25% of voters think he would have the best chance to defeat Obama compared to 17% for Gingrich and 16% for Paul. And he also leads Paul 24-18 among voters who watched the Sioux City debate on Thursday night, confirming general perception that he had the stronger performance.