NBC/Marist IA poll: Romney 23, Paul 21, Santorum 15

posted at 8:55 am on December 30, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

In the last few days before the Iowa caucus, one would expect the polling to get chaotic and inconsistent, given the nature of caucusing and the interference of the holidays.  That’s what makes today’s NBC/Marist poll so intriguing — it’s practically a carbon copy of yesterday’s Rasmussen poll.  Both polls have Mitt Romney and Ron Paul at a virtual tie at the top, and Rick Santorum making a big move into third place:

A new NBC-Marist poll confirms that with the caucuses four days away former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney is the frontrunner in Iowa (with Texas Rep. Ron Paul close on his heels), while former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum is experiencing a late-in-the-game surge.

Romney and Paul are battling for the top spot, winning the loyalty of 23 percent and 21 percent of likely caucus-goers, respectively. The survey finds Santorum at 15 percent, a jump from 6 percent over the last month. The caucuses are Jan. 3.

At the beginning of the month in this NBC/Marist series, Romney and Paul tied at 19, while Santorum languished at 6% among likely voters.  Both sets of numbers included leaners, which only dropped the undecided respondents from 12% to 7%, and boosted Ron Paul more than anyone else (two points to one for both Romney and Santorum).  Newt Gingrich has seen his support drop by more than half in the same period, from 28% to 13%, while Rick Perry rose from 10% to 14% to finish just behind Santorum.  Michele Bachmann lost a point this month, essentially treading water near the bottom of the pack.

In the second-choice category, Perry finished second to Romney, 21/20, with Santorum in third at 15%.  That’s almost double what both Perry and Santorum had at the beginning of the month, but Romney’s second-choice support has grown, too.  Most of that came from Herman Cain’s former second-choice support as well as a significant decline for Gingrich, who at 13% still has an edge over Paul’s 9%.  That figure seems to indicate that Paul’s support in the caucuses is shallow indeed; he’s gotten all of the support he can muster at this point.  Any late breaking decisions by voters will favor Romney, Perry, and Santorum most as voters move away from other candidates.

I think it’s safe to say that NBC/Marist and Rasmussen have a good handle on what the race in Iowa looks like this week.  We’ll see what Iowans think by Tuesday.  One key Iowan still hasn’t made up his mind, but has begun to say what he can abide, at least — and what he can’t:

Steve King would be warmly welcomed onto any of the campaign buses crisscrossing Iowa in the homestretch before Tuesday’s caucuses, but he spent Thursday at his home in the state’s conservative northwest.

The influential congressman’s position on the sidelines epitomizes the failure of Iowa’s abundant social conservatives to unite behind one candidate who could overtake Mitt Romney, widely distrusted because of his Mormonism and previous support for abortion and gay rights. King expected to settle on a candidate in September or October. He didn’t. …

Erick Erickson, the popular conservative blogger for RedState, mocked Santorum’s rise to third place in the poll, noting the former Pennsylvania senator’s threadbare campaign outside of Iowa. That’s was Mike Huckabee’s problem after Iowa’s social conservatives put him over the top in the 2008 caucuses. “No Surprise, Iowa Social Conservatives Are About to Shoot Us All in the Foot Again,” read the headline on Erickson’s post about the new poll. A Santorum surge, Erickson wrote, means Romney is likely to win the nomination.

That prospect doesn’t bother King, who pointed to Romney’s “exemplary family life” with his wife of 42 years and five sons. “He has more children and fewer vices than I have, so how can I criticize him?” King said, in what could be viewed as an appeal to social conservatives to come to terms with Romney’s likely success. “I could do business with Mitt Romney. I could do business with any of these candidates.”

Actually, there is one candidate whose foreign policy position troubles King far more than Romney’s waffling on abortion. Ron Paul advocates pulling all American troops out of foreign countries as part of a massive military disengagement. “That would be a calamity,” King said. He also worries that a Paul victory in the Iowa caucuses would diminish the state’s status because the quirky libertarian is so unlikely to win the nomination.

I don’t think I ever got a chance to post an interview I conducted with Rep. King before the debate in Des Moines on December 10th, so now seems like a good time to do so.  King clearly wants to find a candidate he feels comfortable in endorsing, and his endorsement is probably the one left on the table that could still make some difference, but just as was three weeks ago, King still hasn’t found the right fit.


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VP for Romney?

Forget the present poster kids and rock stars. Romney is establishment and will not go with “star power.”

Someone now running? No. Too dented.
Christie – No. Northeast Repub like Mittens
Jindal – No. Little accomplishment/Demoncrats will hit him with birther stuff.
Rubio – No. Little experience. Demoncrats have already slapped him with birther stuff (“He doesn’t even know WHERE he was born)

Romney fit – Blackburn from Tennessee
Conservative, Southern, female, ten years in Congress, very vocal Obamacare opponent, solid family life, no birther nonsense, articulate and helps Romney in every single area where he might have problems.

Horace on December 30, 2011 at 5:14 PM

Aslan’ Girl

Who cares what Perry’s spokesperson says. Of course he’ll say Perry is in it to the end – so did Bachmann’s folks a short while back.

Perry’s money will dry up after he loses big-time in NH. Donors will look for a winner, not a maybe. His money will dry up completely after SC and Florida. He can stay on the ballots to the end, but the money will be gone and the organization will drift.

He should make it back to Texas about the time calving season begins, so that will keep in busy while he bemoans his fate.

Horace on December 30, 2011 at 5:17 PM

subjunctive mood(mode).

haner on December 30, 2011 at 5:11 PM

I wish I were an oscar myer weiner.

BoxHead1 on December 30, 2011 at 5:20 PM

cd98

Apparently, Perry works for Jesus, or at least he did before he took retirement a couple of weeks ago and began receiving tax money from Texans. So, to him, jobs and Jesus go together.

Plus, didn’t Perry say a few days ago that either he or his wife got a twitter from God telling him to press on?

And look at all the parables by Christ about field hands, vineyard owners, etc? Fits right in with Perry’s jobs theme.

Horace on December 30, 2011 at 5:22 PM

Aslans GIrl?

More like Perry’s Girl. :)

That’s a woman who likes a Perry right there.

Dr. Tesla on December 30, 2011 at 5:22 PM

BoxHead1

Rubio is possible Romney VP pick, especially after he endorses Romney in Florida and helps with the primary. Also, he is less susceptible to silly birther issues like Jindal.

But, it would be completely out of character for Romney not to go “safe.” He always has. And Blackburn is safe. And she and Romney have past ties.

Horace on December 30, 2011 at 5:28 PM

I see TheRightMan is here doing his late afternoon equivalent of “sloppin’ the hogs” for God’s Governor from Texas.

Why (to use a Perry metaphor) he’s busier than a three-legged cowboy at a boot namin’ contest.

Horace on December 30, 2011 at 5:31 PM

Rubio is possible Romney VP pick, especially after he endorses Romney in Florida ..Horace

Better if Rubio dosen’t endorse Romney and then is his VP pick. This way Rubio keeps his Tea Party cred and Romney makes his peace with the base.

BoxHead1 on December 30, 2011 at 5:32 PM

Horace – pitching for Romney again I see.

besser tot als rot on December 30, 2011 at 5:33 PM

Dr. Tesla

“I know just what to say
I answer right away
There’s just one thing
I’ve been wishing for…
I want to be Ricky’s girl
I want to be Ricky’s girl
That’s the most important thing to me…”

Ain’t love grand?

Horace on December 30, 2011 at 5:35 PM

besser tot als rot

Yeah, doin’ my usual pitchin’ for Mitt. That’s why I said I don’t like Romney twice in the same post. Hopin’ to fool simple-minded folks like youse-self. Got caught again, dadgumit!

Horace on December 30, 2011 at 5:38 PM

BoxHead1

Good point. Rubio has to do something because he owes Romney big-time for favors on funding sources, but under your scenario he could accept the VP spot and keep his Tea Party cred by portraying it as “taking one for the team.”

However, keep in mind that Rubio is not and never has been a Tea Partier. He is a Florida Scott Brown – use ‘em and lose ‘em. But, enough Tea Partiers think he’s one of them, so the myth continues. Look at his Senate record and actions – then compare it to Rand Paul’s. The real Tea Partier readily stands out.

Horace on December 30, 2011 at 5:43 PM

South Carolina is about to get very interesting. Newt is not going to be polling in the 30s-40s like earlier this month. As we’ve seen in Iowa and Nationally, Gingrich is falling quickly. Iowa, while meaningful for another 100 hours, has been the place where trends are first measured before they spread to national level.

Big news in next 48 hours will be the changing GOP landscape in South Carolina.

Deep Timber on December 30, 2011 at 7:04 PM

Clemson University poll had Newt up over Romney in South Carolina just a few days ago.

Dr. Tesla on December 30, 2011 at 7:14 PM

Santorum is throwing out John Bolton for SECSTATE, similar to Newt from a few weeks ago. Interesting thing now is that Bolton is getting in line behind Santorum. Also, Jan Brewer is talking with Santorum’s team–no indication of VP chatter, but perhaps anti-Perry immigration talk and joint appearances.

Deep Timber on December 30, 2011 at 7:17 PM

Deep Timber

When I first read your post, I thought it said Perry is anti-immigration.

Oh, hell no. “Y’all come see us, hear? And pick up your in-state tuition coupons on the way in. Yeeeeeeeeehaaaaaawwwwww!

Horace on December 30, 2011 at 7:37 PM

Deep Timber on December 30, 2011 at 7:17 PM

John Bolton has been one of Perry’s advisers for months now.

Jan Brewer should be thankful that Rick Perry enjoined HER lawsuit against Obama — he had her back.

Aslans Girl on December 30, 2011 at 7:46 PM

Further, Perry has Sherriff Arpaio alrady stumping for him for a month and all this week on his bus tour.

Aslans Girl on December 30, 2011 at 7:47 PM

<blockquoteJohn Bolton has been one of Perry’s advisers for months now.

Jan Brewer should be thankful that Rick Perry enjoined HER lawsuit against Obama — he had her back.

Aslans Girl on December 30, 2011 at 7:46 PM

Brewer can’t stand Rick Perry. I personally believed Perry joined lawsuit to offset his soft immigration policy. Brewer and Perry have had several blow ups but if you want it all wrapped up nicely, it comes down to the Dream Act.

In Sioux City, Bolton practically endorsed Rick Santorum. He’s probably keeping his options open but Bolton is very much in the Santorum camp right now.

Deep Timber on December 30, 2011 at 8:04 PM

Aslans Girl on December 30, 2011 at 5:21 PM

Thanks for the links to on-the-ground reports about Perry’s Iowa campaign events.

Here’s another quote I think I saw from one of the Perry supporters who attended a rally: “Rick Perry, he don’t talk real good, but he sure do sound like I do. He’s not one of them fancy smarty pants, so that’s why I’m votin’ fer him.”

bluegill on December 30, 2011 at 8:35 PM

Santorum was completely WRONG on Iran at the foreign policy debate on CBS in Nov. He said that becuse they want nukes, we should let ourselves be blackmailed by them. I can’t see how Bolton would like Santorum after that.

The Bachmann-Santorum Rule: We Can Be Extorted

Aslans Girl on December 30, 2011 at 8:43 PM

Deep Timber, I’d like actual quotes/links on what Bolton said. I want to read for myself if Bolton practically “endorsed” Santorum.

Aslans Girl on December 30, 2011 at 8:44 PM

Jan Brewer should be thankful that Rick Perry enjoined HER lawsuit against Obama — he had her back.

Aslans Girl on December 30, 2011 at 7:46 PM

What a laughable claim. The truth is that Rick Perry threw Jan Brewer under the bus when he REFUSED to support her efforts before his latest re-election campaign. Pro-Amnesty Rick Perry was simply trying to pander to Hispanic voters, even though many Hispanic voters supported Jan Brewer. Now soft-on-illegal-immigration Rick Perry is flip flopping, trying to persuade people that he will be tough when it comes to border security. Unfortunately for Rick Perry, his refusal to support a border fence and his support for tuition breaks for illegals will keep a lot of people from voting for him… and that’s not even considering Rick Perry’s inability to speak coherently.

Rick Perry should quit wasting other people’s time and money. Perry is not someone who has any business of running for president. His campaign is a total joke.

bluegill on December 30, 2011 at 8:46 PM

Deep Timber, I’d like actual quotes/links on what Bolton said. I want to read for myself if Bolton practically “endorsed” Santorum.

Aslans Girl on December 30, 2011 at 8:44 PM

Here’s one mention…

“Santorum has spent lots of time in conservative northwest Iowa, where voters have had the chance to meet him and shake his hand. Doc Zortman, also from Sioux City, met Santorum at a fundraiser for Republican congressman Steve King. Zortman was impressed when former U.N. ambassador John Bolton, appearing at the same event, praised Santorum’s work on national security. “Bolton went right down the list and talked about all of the things Santorum had done. He’s not talking about abortion, he’s not talking about marriage – none of the social issues – but all of the things that Rick Santorum had accomplished on national security. Then, when Rick Santorum came up and said, ‘How would you like John Bolton to be secretary of state?’ – I think he got a standing ovation. There were cheesecakes that fell to the floor when people stood up clapping hands!”

http://www.weeklystandard.com/keyword/Rick-Santorum

Deep Timber on December 30, 2011 at 9:38 PM

Bolton is also throwing love towards Santorum on The Law of Sea Treaty…

FRANK GAFFNEY: Yeah. And also that can be said of the various mechanism that the treaty creates for mandatory dispute resolution, which are also stacked decks against us. Mr. Ambassador, before we turn to another topic, just quickly, one of the presidential candidates for the Republican nomination, Rick Santorum, was on our program last week and made much the same sort of argument against the treaty. How important would you say, given your sense of the threat this treaty represents to American sovereignty, that we have the other Republican presidential candidates address this issue forcefully and directly in the days ahead?

JOHN BOLTON: Well, I think it’s very important. You know, one of my concerns for the past year has been the lack of discussion of national security matters at the top levels of our national political debate. And I’ve been particularly concerned about the relative lack of discussion of national security in the presidential campaigns. So I’m quite glad that Rick Santorum has come out forcefully against the Law of the Sea Treaty and in these days before the Iowa caucus and the New Hampshire primary, I’d like to see all the Republican candidates oppose it. I think that is their inclination. But I think we should get them on record. I think people need to know about these issues as they cast their votes in the caucuses and primaries.

http://bigpeace.com/sfr/2011/12/28/bolton-kerrys-lost-treaty-will-damage-u-s-sovereignty/
———–
Don’t discount a Bolton endorsement of Rick Santorum. Also, as I mentioned, Jan Brewer and Santorum are in talks.

Deep Timber on December 30, 2011 at 9:43 PM

Interesting thing now is that Bolton is getting in line behind Santorum.
Deep Timber on December 30, 2011 at 7:17 PM

I really want to believe this, DT.
I like Rick Santorum, and I really like John Bolton. : )

listens2glenn on December 30, 2011 at 10:36 PM

Romney fit – Blackburn from Tennessee
Conservative, Southern, female, ten years in Congress, very vocal Obamacare opponent, solid family life, no birther nonsense, articulate and helps Romney in every single area where he might have problems.

Horace on December 30, 2011 at 5:14 PM

Woo hoo! I made a convert :-)

MJBrutus on December 31, 2011 at 5:11 PM

Nothing to add to the comments here aside from the fact that wearing orange hunting gear is shameful.

CorporatePiggy on December 31, 2011 at 10:27 PM

Romney fit – Blackburn from Tennessee
Conservative, Southern, female, ten years in Congress, very vocal Obamacare opponent, solid family life, no birther nonsense, articulate and helps Romney in every single area where he might have problems.

Horace on December 30, 2011 at 5:14 PM

I like Romney/Blackburn!

bluegill on January 1, 2012 at 4:24 AM

CorporatePiggy on December 31, 2011 at 10:27 PM

Absolutely. What they should have worn is . . . . . . uhhhhh . . .
. . . . what, EXACTLY? ! !

listens2glenn on January 1, 2012 at 9:36 AM

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