by Art Kelly
1. With less than 3 weeks before the Iowa caucus, and less than 4 weeks before the New Hampshire primary, there appears to be changes in voters' sentiments in both states.
The latest nationwide Gallup Poll found Newt Gingrich leading the pack, but by a diminished margin from the previous survey. The latest results are:
31% Newt Gingrich
22% Mitt Romney
8% Ron Paul
7% Rick Perry
6% Michele Bachmann
4% Rick Santorum
2% Jon Huntsman
In Iowa, Gingrich and Paul are neck and neck. The results from the new Public Policy Polling are:
1% Gary Johnson
7% Others & Undecided
Timothy Carney, Senior Political Columnist for the Washington Examiner, writes, "I think it's the beginning of a Gingrich collapse…I bet plenty of Bachmann and Perry supporters who were contingently settling for Gingrich are now going home to their original candidates."
Carney adds that, because of the intensity of the Paul supporters, he expects the Texas Congressman to "outperform whatever his poll results are."
If Gingrich is fading in Iowa, he "continues to build momentum" in New Hampshire, according to the summary of the latest 7NEWS/Suffolk University Poll. Even so, Romney has a substantial lead.
Here are the complete results from the Granite State:
2% Buddy Roemer
13% Others & Undecided
CNN notes that Huntsman has gained and is now in third place. His surge appears to indicate support from independents, who can vote in the state's open primary.
"If independents participate in a big way next January, Huntsman will benefit," said David Paleologos, director of Suffolk University's Political Research Center. "While other candidates have focused on the more traditional Republican voters, Huntsman has traction among independents, who could dominate the Republican Primary if mobilized."
2. Several commentators have remarked that the changes in poll results for some of the candidates appears to be related to how they did in the last debate, which was held at Drake University in Des Moines.
3. The Washington Examiner, a conservative newspaper, has endorsed Mitt Romney for the Republican presidential nomination.
"The 2012 Republican presidential race has become a two-man race between Romney and Gingrich. The Washington Examiner believes Romney can defeat Obama, but Gingrich cannot. And Romney the businessman is far better suited to the nation's highest office--by temperament, experience, and cast of mind--than Gingrich the consummate Washington insider."
4. The latest CHQ weekly presidential straw poll showed continued strong support for Ron Paul, but also suggested that Michele Bachmann may be making a comeback.
The results reflect the unsettled nature of the GOP presidential race as a whole, and indicate that some of the second-tier candidates may still have a chance to do well.
"When Herman Cain announced last week that he would be dropping from the presidential race, the question then became to whom his supporters would fall. It appears that question has been answered: Michele Bachmann. In the first week that Cain was not included in our straw poll (only announced candidates are included), Bachmann saw a 7 percent jump -- from 10 to 17 percent," writes CHQ's Andrew Davis.
Even if you don't live in Iowa or New Hampshire, you can still influence the race by taking part in this week's CHQ poll.
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