First question of the new year!

Will Fred finish ahead of Ron Paul in Iowa?

Answer: Probably. The new CNN poll has him five points ahead of Paul and three ahead of McCain, good for third place. Our new leader? Mitt, by three over Huck. Which is within the margin of error.

Update: David Brooks lowers the boom on Romney.

The leaders of the Republican coalition know Romney will lose. But some would rather remain in control of a party that loses than lose control of a party that wins. Others haven’t yet suffered the agony of defeat, and so are not yet emotionally ready for the trauma of transformation. Others still simply don’t know which way to turn.

And so the burden of change will be thrust on primary voters over the next few weeks. Romney is a decent man with some good fiscal and economic policies. But in this race, he has run like a manager, not an entrepreneur. His triumph this month would mean a Democratic victory in November.