Gingrich leads in CNN/Opinion Research/Time polls in Iowa, South Carolina and Florida. And he’s narrowed the gap in New Hampshire to just single digits. Here are the results:
Iowa: Gingrich 33%, Romney 20%, Paul 17%, Perry 9%, Bachmann 7%, Santorum 5%.
New Hampshire: Romney 35%, Gingrich 26%, Paul 17%, Huntsman 8%.
South Carolina: Gingrich 43%, Romney 20%, Perry 8%, Bachmann and Paul 6%.
Florida: Gingrich 48%, Romney 25%, Paul 5%, Bachmann 3%, Huntsman 3%, Perry 3%, Santorum 1%
In a round of Quinnipiac polls, Gingrich leads in GOP primaries in Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. In Florida, Gingrich leads Romney 35%-22% with Paul at 8%. In Ohio, it’s Gingrich 36%-18% over Romney, and in Pennsylvania, where Gingrich grew up, he leads Romney 31%-17%. (In a generic head to head with Romney, Gingrich leads 52%-34%.) Romney, however, does better than Gingrich in head to heads with Obama in a general election. Romney leads Obama in Florida 45%-42%, in Ohio 43%-42, but loses in Pennsylvania 46%-43%. Gingrich trails in Florida 46%-44%, leads in Ohio 43%-42%, and trails in Pennsylvania 48%-40%. Romney is better liked than Gingrich as well. He has net positive ratings in all three states, while Gingrich is a net-negative.
Political Wire notes, per Gallup: "Republicans' enthusiasm about voting in the election for president next year has decreased, with 49% of Republicans and independents who lean Republican now saying they are more enthusiastic than usual about voting, down from 58% in September. This narrows the gap between them and Democrats, 44% of whom are more enthusiastic than usual, essentially the same as in September."
BACHMANN: “Minnesota Public Radio reports that Michele Bachmann's memoir has sold just 3,000 copies since it debuted two weeks ago,” per GOP 12. “As of this morning, it's #4,230 on Amazon's best-seller list.”
GINGRICH: “Newt Gingrich met privately with about 70 leading movement conservatives this morning in suburban Washington,” Politico’s Martin reports, adding, in attendance were: “Richard Viguerie, Al Regnery, Mike Farris, Penny Nance and Jim Martin. Viguerie, the direct mail pioneer, helped organized the confab. These are the sort of Republicans who'd prefer a Mitt Romney alternative and have been casting about for some time looking for one. Many of them have sat down with other conservatives in the race.”
He hired two former Cain staffers in New Hampshire, NBC’s Jo Ling Kent reports. Cain's state operations director in New Hampshire Charlie Spano is now Newt's deputy state field director. And Jamie Coughlin, former Cain state director, is heading up social media, phone banking, and "emerging technologies" for Gingrich. And former U.S. Sen. Bob Smith (R-NH) has moved up to NH from his home in FL to work as a "full-time volunteer" at Gingrich headquarters. Gingrich’s total paid staff for in New Hampshire is now 15, outnumbering Romney’s 10.
Gingrich’s gay half-sisters says she’s voting for Obama.
HUNTSMAN: He speaks this morning at the National Press Club in a speech he calls “Restoring Trust.” He will take shots at President Obama and what he sees as a lack of leadership on deficits, his inexperience, and partisanship. But he will pivot and say, “My opponents offer no better.” He will then take aim at Romney and Gingrich. “Governor Romney will say anything to earn the voters trust,” he will say, according to prepared remarks. “We are in this mess because there are already enough people in Washington who make a career out of telling people what they want to hear. Newt Gingrich is a product of that same Washington, who participated in the excesses of our broken and polarized political system.”
PERRY: “Rick Perry's going big in Iowa, and making no secret of it,” the Texas Tribune reports. “Perry makes a direct play for evangelical Christians, who make up a large share of the Iowa caucus turnout, in an aggressive new ad released Wednesday. … The Perry campaign denies that the ad signals that the governor has turned his focus away from the economy.”
ROEMER: “Roemer’s campaign is spending $100,000 for three 30-second ads, which will air on WMUR for the next few weeks,” the Boston Globe says. “As of Sept. 30, Roemer had raised just $186,000 and contributed another $45,000 to his campaign. The campaign’s New Hampshire state director Chris Buck said Roemer expects to qualify for public funding, and the money behind the ads will be a combination of public funds and donations.”
ROMNEY: “One of Mitt Romney’s highest-profile supporters – New Jersey Governor Chris Christie – tonight portrayed the former Massachusetts governor as a committed family man who won’t embarrass the Republican Party or America,” the Boston Globe notes. “Without directly mentioning Newt Gingrich, who is Romney’s chief rival and has been married three times, Christie said voters should make sure they evaluate the candidates’ personal backgrounds when going into the voting booth.”
Christie said, “He loves his wife, he loves his children, and he has no absolutely no hesitation in showing that affection openly. … Examine his record, absolutely. Examine his position on the issues now, they’re important,” Christie continued. “But first and foremost when you look at these extraordinary candidates, say, ‘Is this the kind of person that is always going to make me proud in the Oval Office -- and I never have to worry whether they’ll embarrass America, that I never have to worry will do something that will make me ashamed?’”
“If there were a Fox News primary, Mitt Romney would be losing it,” the New York Times writes. “Among Republican voters in Iowa, nearly 40 percent say they get most of their news from the network and its many conservative hosts, according to the most recent New York Times/CBS News poll. And among those viewers, Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker, is trouncing Mr. Romney.”
And the Times notes: “Mr. Romney’s attempt to make that closing argument on Fox did not go particularly well during an often tense and combative interview with the network’s Bret Baier in late November. The interview was panned by several media pundits, and Mr. Baier later said that Mr. Romney complained about Mr. Baier’s questions about whether he had flip-flopped on issues.”