Lots of news stories today about how the race to win Iowa is still wide open. The New York Times’ Nate Silver takes a whirl through the polling data and says any of five candidates could plausibly win. And Politico’s Maggie Haberman reports that internal poll numbers from the Mitt Romney and Rick Perry camps show Newt Gingrich’s lead in Iowa is indeed slipping.
Interestingly, she also quotes a “veteran GOP caucus-watcher” as saying:
“Watch Rick Perry. He’s going for a top three finish, and that could be to Romney’s expense.”
We’ve found ourselves wondering about Perry, who’s kicking off a 42-city Iowa bus tour today. Notably, two recent Iowa polls have shown a slight uptick in Perry’s support. In particular, an American Research Group (ARG) poll released yesterday (Tuesday) showed him gaining 8 points (though he’s still in fourth place).
What’s behind this movement? Clearly, some of it is Gingrich starting to come back to Earth. In the ARG poll, Gingrich was down 5 percentage points from the previous poll - and Perry seemed to be the clear beneficiary.
And despite some intense Internet mockery, Perry’s “Strong” ad - where he criticizes the fact that gay soldiers can serve openly in the military while children can’t celebrate Christmas in school - may be generating some traction in the state.
In particular, Decoder is now wondering if the ad’s appeal was actually two-fold - going beyond Christian conservatives to another potentially powerful voting bloc: veterans.
Decoder just watched a live stream of an Iowa town hall event, where Perry was introduced by a veteran with who’d suffered serious third degree burns on 50 percent of his body. He gave a powerful introduction on behalf of Perry, hammering the issue of American exceptionalism.
If Perry can marshall the veteran community behind him, a campaign that not so long ago was universally seen as dead could conceivably come back to life.
- Join the Rick Perry bus tour (see the map here).
- Check out all the candidates’ schedules in Iowa, courtesy of the Des Moines register.
Like your politics unscrambled? Check out DCDecoder.com