Poll watcher: Gingrich slides in national, Iowa polls


At his peak in early December, Gingrich held a wide 15 percentage point advantage over second place Mitt Romney in Gallup polls, but the most recent tracking poll (concluding Wednesday) found Gingrich leading by only 5 points. No candidate has benefited greatly from Gingrich's slide - Romney's support is two points higher than it was before - but the number of Republicans who are unsure how to vote has grown slightly.

After holding double digit leads in several Iowa polls earlier this month, more recent surveys depict a closer race. An American Research Group poll of likely caucus-goers completed last weekend found Gingrich at 22 percent support, somewhat lower than 27 percent in late November and now holding a narrow 5-point advantage over Ron Paul and Romney. Automated surveys conducted this week by Rasmussen, PPP and Insider Advantage show wide-ranging results, but none show Gingrich as strong as some polls earlier in December.

Despite the fluid forecasts, Gingrich has some reason for solace. Gallup finds his numbers are strongest among conservatives, older voters and rank-and-file Republicans, which are groups that tend to vote more regularly in Republican primaries. Moderates and independents who lean toward the Republican Party are less supportive of Gingrich, but tend to make up a smaller portion of GOP primary voters. Gingrich ran strongly among conservatives and older voters in a Post-ABC Iowa poll earlier this month. 

Most say Obama deserves to be voted out - A 52 percent majority of Americans say President Obama deserves to be voted out of office, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll released Friday. Fewer, 43 percent, say he deserves a second term.

While fewer than half of Americans cheer for “four more years,” Obama runs even or better when compared with potential Republican challengers. In the poll, Obama gets 47 percent to Romney’s 46 percent (within the margin of error), but the president leads Gingrich 51 to 42 percent.

A Washington Post-ABC News poll released Wednesday found Obama's favorability ratings about evenly split, though independents saw him negatively by 52 to 44 percent.

Here’s the full data from the AP-GfK and Post-ABC polls

Young adults split on Obama

In 2008, Obama benefited from above-average turnout and an overwhelming vote advantage among younger voters. Ahead of 2012, both those may be at risk. Obama holds a tepid 46 percent approval rating among Americans ages 18 to 29, with 51 percent disapproving according to a poll by Harvard's Institute of Politics released Thursday. Younger adults still prefer Obama by double digits over top GOP alternatives Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney, but his current advantage is a far cry from 2008, when he won younger voters by a 2 to 1 margin over John McCain, according to exit polls.

As far as showing up on Election Day, a bare majority in the Harvard poll - 51 percent - say they'll definitely vote in 2012, while nearly one in three rate their chances of voting at 50-50 or less. 

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Scott Clement is a survey research analyst for The Washington Post. Scott specializes in public opinion about politics, election campaigns and public policy.

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