In case you took your eye off the bouncing ball for a moment, several polls show that Newt Gingrich has not only fallen out of first place among likely Iowa caucsus goers, he’s fallen to third or even fourth.
Several polls now have Ron Paul leading the field, generally followed by Mitt Romney. Several of the polls show Rick Perry and/or Rick Santorum moving up fairly sharply. Minnesota’s own Michele Bachmann isn’t getting much of a bump in the most recent polls but is flirting with double digits.
The political number crunchers still don’t consider Paul to have much chance of being the nominee, but it seems quite possible he will win Iowa, which is in many ways uniquely suited to his strengths.
The two most recent polls that are causing everyone to reevaluate the race are summarized here. Political numerologist Nate Silver has developed some formula for blending the numbers together and showing the likely vote range of each of the contenders and forecasting the likelihood that each will win Iowa. It currently shows that likelihood of winning as:
Paul with a 52 percent chance of winning Iowa, followed by Romney at 28 percent and everyone else in single-digits.
In 2004, when the Dems were the party with the big Iowa field, a month before the caucuses it seemed impossible for anyone other than Howard Dean to win there. Two weeks out, it was a two-man race between Dean and Dick Gephardt. They ended finishing third and fourth behind John Kerry and John Edwards. Keep your shirts on, folks.