Even the New York Times is obliged to admit, if dismissively, that Ron Paul has a good chance in Iowa. Ross Douthat writes for the Gray Lady today that Paul is neck-to-neck with Newt Gingrich in the caucus state while the former front-runner Mitt Romney trails in the shadows.
Predictably, the Times scrivener takes the opportunity to elevate the establishment candidate Gingrich while softly berating Ron Paul, but this does not negate the fact Ron Paul is, as Douthat's title suggests, on the rise and will likely jostle past Gingrich in the days ahead.
On Tuesday, a Public Policy Polling survey showed him one percentage point behind Gingrich for the lead in Iowa. Paul took 21 percent in the survey compared to 22 percent for Gingrich with Romney third at 16 percent, according to Reuters.
Rasmussen Reports released poll data on Tuesday showing Romney in the lead in New Hampshire, the state where the next caucus will be held on January 10. Gingrich was second with 22 percent and Paul third at 18 percent. It should be noted that Paul narrowed a ten point gap in a week's time, again demonstrating that he is indeed "on the rise."
"In political terms, it probably means we're peaking at the right time," Paul told Reuters.
A national poll conducted by NBC News/Wall SPtreet Journal has Gingrich leading Mitt Romney by 17 points. If the election were held today, however, Gingrich would lose to Obama. "Although Gingrich may be at the front of the pack of contenders, if the next election for president were held today, four in ten registered voters said they'd choose him and 51% said they'd vote to re-elect President Obama, whose approval rating remains in the mid-forties according to the poll," notes CNN .
Mitt Romney would fare better against Obama, but would also lose if the election were held today.
The only Republican contender who stands a chance against Obama is Ron Paul. According to an NBC/Marist poll , 42% of registered voters in Iowa support Ron Paul and 42% back Obama, with 16 percent undecided.
"Paul also leads Obama 42 to 35% among independent voters and attracts 15 percent of Iowa's Democrats according to the survey. The Congressman also betters Obama by 14 percentage points among voters under 45 years of age," writes Steve Watson.
"Tellingly, Paul also leads the way over his GOP rivals with 25% among voters who see a candidate's position on the issues, rather than electability or popularity, as the most important factor of their candidacy. Gingrich, on the other hand, leads among avid college football fans."
Paul continues to gain momentum and win straw polls. He won the Cedar Valley Tea Party Presidential Straw Poll and a straw poll held in Pasco County, Flordia. Despite the fact the two recent straw polls had a small number of participants and were off the establishment media's radar screen, they demonstrate growing support for the Texas congressman.
Ron Paul is indeed rising. If the trend continues and there is no reason to believe it will soon abate Ron Paul will come out of Iowa the winner and will go into New Hampshire with a full head of steam. If he takes New Hampshire as well, his shot at the nomination is almost certainly guaranteed.
Added emphasis mine.