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The Gazette KCRG
Posted November 18, 2011
What’s Ahead Nov. 18: Not so lonely atop the Iowa caucus polls

Whoever said “It’s lonely at the top” wasn’t watching the Iowa precinct to caucus campaign.

Rep. Ron Paul

Newt Gingrich

Everyone wants to be at the top and with the plethora of polls this election cycle, more than one candidate can claim to at the top – or close.

After polls this week showing that Herman Cain continues to lead the field of hopefuls in Iowa, rivals Texas Rep. Ron Paul and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich staked their claims.

In an email with a subject line: “Ron Paul Continues Iowa Surge,” his campaign makes the claim he “remains within striking distance of the lead among likely Iowa caucus voters.”

That’s a reference to the Iowa State University/Gazette/KCRG-TV9 poll that showed Cain “tentatively” — according to the Paul campaign — holding the lead at 24.5 percent. Paul was within the margin of error with 20.4 percent.

Paul, who will be touring Eastern Iowa today – 1 p.m., Pizza Ranch, Vinton; 4 p.m., Lawrence Community center, Anamosa; 7 p.m., Hotel at Kirkwood, 7725 Kirkwood Blvd., Cedar Rapids – also finished in a statistical tie for first place in Iowa in a Bloomberg News poll. The ISU/The Gazette/KCRG  poll also found Paul gets nearly twice as much support as the rest of the field from those in the lower income brackets while Cain scored well among the richest likely caucusgoers.

Meanwhile, the Gingrich campaign likes the results of a Fox News poll showing that the Georgian has surged to the top of the polls. Fox found Gingrich’s support had doubled in the last three weeks to 23 percent. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney had 22 percent and Cain had 15 percent.

Jim McCormick

Tim Hagle

While the campaigns see these numbers as good news, ISU Jim McCormick, chairman of the Political Science Department, thinks Paul has probably hit the “ceiling of his support.

“I’d be surprised if he gets much beyond that,” McCormick said, but noted that when asked who their second choice would be, 11 percent of likely caucusgoers polled named Paul.

The challenge for Gingrich, according to University of Iowa political scientist Tim Hagle, is to solidify his new-found support in the 40-some days remaining before the Jan. 3 caucuses.

“He’s starting to surge,” Hagle said, “but time is running short and he’s getting some pushback because of his political baggage.”

He’s also getting some help from a pair of former staffers who have rejoined Gingrich’s Iowa campaign. Des Moines attorney Craig Schoenfeld and former Iowans for Tax Relief vice president Katie Koberg will serve as senior advisers. They were part of Gingrich’s Iowa staff that quit the campaign in June out of frustration with what they saw as the campaign’s lack of focus.

On the calendar:

Nov. 18

Rick Santorum, 7:30 a.m., Broadway Café, Burlington; 10 a.m., Papa Georges Pizza, Mount Pleasant; noon, town hall, Café Dodici, Washington; 2:30 p.m., Ottumwa Public Library; 5:30 p.m.; Godfather’s, Knoxville

Ron Paul, 1 p.m., Pizza Ranch, Vinton; 4 p.m., Lawrence Community center, Anamosa; 7 p.m., Hotel at Kirkwood, 7725 Kirkwood Blvd., Cedar Rapids

Nov. 19

Rick Santorum, 9 a.m., Grace Church, Des Moines; noon, Patriot Outreach, Des Moines;

Ron Paul, 9 a.m., GOP pancake breakfast, Indianola Christian Church, Indianola

Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul and Rick Santorum, 4 p.m., The Family Leader Thanksgiving Family Forum, First Federated Church, 4801 Franklin Ave., Des Moines

Ron Paul, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum and Michele Bachmann, Gov. Terry Branstad’s Birthday Bash, 3200 Adventureland Dr., Altoona

Nov. 20

Rick Santorum, 2 p.m., Fort Des Moines Church of Christ, Des Moines; 7 p.m., house party, Steve and Amy Sherman, North Liberty

Nov. 21

Rick Santorum, 8 a.m., town hall, Cottonwood Canyon, Waterloo; 10 a.m. Waverly Public Library; noon, Pizza Ranch, Oelwein; 1:30 p.m., Independence Public Library

Nov. 23

Mitt Romney, Des Moines

Dec. 10

8 p.m., Des Moines Register/ABC News/Yahoo!/Republican Party of Iowa live presidential debate, Drake University

Dec. 15

Fox News/ Republican Party of Iowa live presidential debate, Sioux City







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