Texas Gov. Rick Perry is hoping a $1 million ad blitz in Iowa targeting the state’s majority-evangelical Republican electorate will save his floundering campaign.
Perry, who is polling fourth among Republican caucus-goers in the state at 11 percent, needs a decent showing in the Jan. 3 primary to resurrect interest in him as a viable “non-Romney” candidate –a position currently help by Newt Gingrich.
Gingrich has taken a double-digit lead over Mitt Romney in the state in a new poll from CBS News/New York Times.
The poll, which was conducted from Nov. 30 to Dec. 5, has Gingrich with 31 percent support and Romney with 17 percent. Ron Paul is at 16 percent support. Michele Bachmann is supported by nine percent and Rick Santorum has four percent. Jon Huntsman trails the pack with just one percent.
The latest poll reveals that Michele Bachmann got the biggest boost in Iowa with Herman Cain’s withdrawal from the race . Before Cain got out, Backmann was polling at just 4 percent.
Gingrich widened his lead over Romney after Cain left the race, as well. When Cain was included among the candidates in the poll, Gingrich earned 28 percent to Romney’s 18 percent.
Perry’s number, like most other candidates, were relatively unaffected by Cain getting out of the race
As you can see by the graph, there are a number of people who haven’t made up their minds –about 9 percent– about who they support among the GOP primary hopefuls.
Perry, who still has a massive war-chest, plans to blanket Iowa television stations with campaign ads like this one, in which he says “I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m a Christian, but you don’t need to be in the pew every Sunday to know there’s something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can’t openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school.”
Perry, of course, is hoping that social-conservative issues will help drive Iowa Republicans to polls as it has in the past. Here is another Perry ad aimed at the Christian base:
Perry’s new ads will be buffeted with spots from a SuperPAC supporting him. The problem is that cultural matters don’t seem to count for much in this election cycle.
With the economy in such turmoil, people are much more concerned with economic issues than they are social issues.
Seventy-one percent of those polled ranked the economy above social issues as the number one issue that would determine their vote. Only 14 percent said the opposite and 13 percent said they would weigh both equally when they cast their ballot.
It’s interesting that Perry entered the Republican Primary race touting his job-creation record in Texas and posturing as the candidate best suited to clean up the economic mess we are in. Polls show that Iowa voters believe Romney and Gingrich are the candidates most likely to get the economy back on the right track.
When asked which candidates would serve best on economic issues, Romney came in at 22 percent, virtually neck-and-neck with Gingrich, who had 21 percent. Perry, with 13 percent trailed Ron Paul on economic issues, who scored 15 percent in the poll.
With this kind of showing, it’s easy to understand why Perry is switching tactics and going after conservative Christians in his new ads. It looks to me as something of a long shot for Perry and smacks somewhat as desperation to regain nay kind of footing in his bid for the Republican nomination.
It’s not that social issues don’t matter, but, seriously, how pressing an issue is the military’s “don’t ask don’t tell policy” right now?