• Rick Santorum Gets to Be in Third Place for a Few Minutes

    It was a lot of fun pretending that a novelty candidate like Herman Cain or Michele Bachmann, or a train wreck waiting to happen like Rick Perry or Newt Gingrich, might somehow walk away with the Republican nomination this year. But the good times can't last forever

    Romney now leads the pack with support from 25% of likely Iowa caucus-goers, while Paul boasts 22%, both posting a five-point gain since early December. While Romney’s lead in Iowa is tenuous, his continued strength across the board raises the possibility that the establishment front-runner could win his party’s nomination in a clean sweep.

    Between this news and the unholy ass-kicking he's preparing to hand out in New Hampshire, it sure would seem that the 2012 GOP nomination remains Mitt Romney's to lose.

    People like me — unhappy, embittered, feasting upon the ill-fortunes of other people to feed our miserable desiccated souls (or "bloggers" to put it another way) — will just have to make due with Newt Gingrich's now fourth-place showing in Iowa! And after all that uncharacteristic grandstanding from Newt…

    Bolstering that possibility is the collapse of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who led in Iowa with 33% less than a month ago, but has seen his front-runner status disintegrate under a torrent of negative advertising and now claims just 14% support.

    Though, something seems off here. If Gingrich is running fourth, then who's running third? It couldn't be… No, it couldn't… Could it?

    [T]he biggest beneficiary of Gingrich's collapse appears to be former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, who's rocketed into third place with 16%, a dramatic 11-point climb in three short weeks.

    Santorum now leads among born-again Christians, and is tied with Paul and Romney among self-described conservatives and Tea Party supporters.

    Oh my God! It's a slightly-late Christmas miracle! Just when it seemed like all hope was lost, the Schadenfreude Fairy arrived just in time to deliver a basket of false hope to everybody's favorite least-favorite candidate.

    And now, gentle readers, my heart is full.

    Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images News/Getty Images


    Tags: Iowa, Iowa Caucus, Mitt Romney, New Hampshire, Newt Gingrich, Primaries, Republicans, Rick Santorum

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