A new survey by left-leaning Public Policy Polling (PPP) finds the Texas congressman now leading for the GOP nomination in Iowa, where voters cast the first ballots of the 2012 presidential contest on Jan. 3.
Paul today also announced on his website that he raised more than $4 million since Friday in his latest "money bomb," aimed at helping him in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada -- which all hold early caucuses or primaries.
Tough break for the Gingrich:
Paul's rise comes as Newt Gingrich fades. The former House speaker has dropped nine percentage points nationally since the beginning of the month, according to the Gallup daily tracking poll.
Recall, of course, that Paul underperformed (based on polls) in Iowa and New Hampshire in the 2008 contests (In Iowa, . But he was so much older then, he's younger than that now. As former Reason intern Jeremy Lott writes over at Real Clear Politics:
Paul...didn't have an organization to speak of last time, and finished fifth in Iowa. He used much of the money raised in the last primary season to build an organization.
Paulistas have been testing their organizational strength for years now, winning several straw polls. The overall campaign effort is better this time. The ads are professional and hard-hitting, as is the candidate himself. Paul this time around is more committed to the fight, having sworn off running another term for the House of Representatives.
The Paul campaign has thrown a marker down in Iowa and it has thrown it wisely: must win third place or better on Jan. 3. That way, if they take second, they beat the expectations game. And if they take first, it's a whole new race for New Hampshire a week later.
Update: Nate Silver, bloggerkind for the New York Times, a daily newspaper, gives Paul the inside lane:
The model gives him a 44 percent chance of winning Iowa based on the current standing of the candidates and the historic uncertainty of polling-based forecasts. Mr. Romney has a 32 percent chance of winning, while Mr. Gingrich’s chances have crashed to 15 percent.
Reason on (god help us) on 2012 Election.