WASHINGTON — With only two weeks until the Iowa caucus begins, Texas Congressman Ron Paul is still soaring in the polls, with the latest survey putting the candidate on top as Newt Gingrich's popularity begins to buckle.
The latest news from Iowa comes after Thursday's televised debate between the candidates, in which Paul received support for his stance against initiating a war with Iran but ridicule from his fellow Republican hopefuls. While his fellow contenders largely insist that an attack on Iran is necessary to thwart any nuclear program in the works, Paul shunned them for creating propaganda and acting on falsified reports of a nuke being built up overseas.
"You're trying to dramatize this that we have to go and treat Iran like we've treated Iraq," Paul said last week. "You cannot solve these problems with war."
Fellow contender Michele Bachmann responded to Paul by telling the Iowa audience, "I have never heard a more dangerous answer for American security than the one we just heard from Ron Paul." Days later, however, she is now tied with both Rick Perry and Rick Santorum with 10 percent of the vote, says the Public Policy Polling.
Not only does the latest survey suggest Paul is the most likely candidate for the presidency, but he also polls most positively among candidates when asked if they have a favorable or unfavorable opinion on each politician vying for the GOP bid. Paul yielded a 54 percent favorable level, beating out everyone else.
While Paul has made foreign policy a major focus of his campaign, oddly enough only 5 percent of those polled said that was the most important factor weighing in on their decision-making. Those surveyed said they are most largely concerned with government spending and reducing the debt, which Paul has said he could do if elected president. Under his campaign promises, Paul says he can cut national spending by $1 trillion in his first year in office alone.
The latest survey from Public Policy Polling was conducted by nearly 600 likely Republican caucus voters between December 16 and 18.