Swing state blues: Looks like Iowa will maintain its battleground state status in the 2012 general election.
A University of Iowa Hawkeye Poll, which found Newt Gingrich leading Mitt Romney 30 percent to 20 percent, also included questions about the 2012 general election. Answers from about 900 Iowans polled suggest the president will have a tight race in Iowa whether the nominee is Gingrich or Romney.
Data expected to be released later this week found a virtual toss-up in head-to-head contests between Obama and Gingrich and Obama and Romney, according to Hawkeye Poll faculty adviser and UI Associate Professor of Political Science Frederick Boehmke.
“At this point we are seeing a virtual tie,” Boehmke said. “They’re within a couple of points of each other.”
Like the Hawkeye Poll results showing that a large number of likely Iowa GOP caucusgoers have yet to make up their minds, Boehmke said about 12 percent of the general election voters are undecided, according to the poll data.
Center stage: Another sign that Gingrich is the frontrunner will be the former U.S. House speaker’s center stage position in tonight’s Fox News/ Republican Party of Iowa live presidential debate in Sioux City.
Gingrich will be in the middle of the seven-candidate line-up flanked by Romney and Texas Rep. Ron Paul. Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum will be on one wing with Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman on the other.
Romney, the talker: Once again Saturday night, Romney had more speaking time than any other candidate in the Des Moines Register/ABC News/Yahoo!/Republican Party of Iowa live presidential debate, Drake University.
According to Smart Politics, Romney talked for 25 percent of the time 17 minutes, 40 seconds compared to 13:11 for Gingrich. Bachmann, perhaps on the strength of her “Newt Romney” line, talked for 11:50, 2:25 more than the previous debate.
Perry talked for 10:18, Santorum, 9:34 and Paul, 7:59.
What’s in a name: Smart Politics also includes a couple of folks with Iowa ties on a list of U.S. senators of distinction.
First, it notes that Jon Kyl of Arizona, the son of John Kyl, a former U.S. representative from Iowa, has the shortest legal first and last name out of the 1,931 men and women to serve in the U.S. Senate.
Former Cedar Rapidian Bourke Hickenlooper makes the honorable mention list for the length of his name – 18 characters. The senators with the longest name – 22 characters — were Frederick Frelinghuysen – a New Jersey Federalist who served from 1793-96 and his grandson a Republican who served from 1866-69 and 1871-77.
The Frelinghuysen clan also produced Theodore, an Anti-Jacksonian, 1829-1835, and Joseph, a Republican, 1917-1913.
On the calendar:
Rick Santorum, 7 a.m., Westside Conservative Club, Urbandale; 9 a.m., Nationwide Insurance employees, Des Moines; noon, Pioneer Hi-Bred employees; 5:30 p.m., Christmas party at campaign headquarters, Urbandale
Rick Perry, 1 p.m., town hall, Council Bluffs; 3:15 p.m., Main Street Walk, Harlan; 5 p.m., Cronk’s Café, Denison
Rick Santorum, 8 a.m., town hall, Dangie’s Diner, Rockwell City; 11 a.m. Sac City Cattleman’s Co. employees, Sac City; 2:30 p.m., town hall, Java Junkies, Holstein
Rick Santorum, 7 p.m., house party, Sioux City
Rick Perry, 1:30 p.m., Copper Cup Coffee Shop, Cherokee; 3:30 p.m., Grand Central Coffee Station, Storm Lake
Rick Perry, 11 a.m., La Chiesa Restaurant, Spencer; 1 p.m., Chrome County Country Inn, Algona; 3:30 p.m., Cabin Coffee Co., Clear Lake; 5:15 p.m., Music Man Square, Mason City
Rick Perry, 8 a.m., Evangelical Free Church, Clear Lake; 10:30 a.m., First Wesleyan Church, Charles City; noon, Dave’s Restaurant, Charles City; 2:45 p.m., Chickasaw Events Center, New Hampton; 5 p.m., Winneshiek Hotel, Decorah
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