That’s at least what it looks like in the latest survey from Public Policy Polling. The barrage of aired attacks on Newt from all sides seems to be having the desired effect, plummeting his favorability by 19 points in the last week, and Paul, certainly one of the aggressors, is picking up the pieces. Gingrich still leads with 22% of the vote and Romney has held steady in high teens, but Paul has clawed his way up within the margin of error, claiming 21% support among likely Republican caucus goers. And what remains of Gingrich’s lead appears to be soft. Just 54% of his supporters tell PPP they’re certain to vote for him, while 77% and 67% say the same of Paul and Romney respectively.
This is, of course, good news for Paul, whose third presidential bid has gained more mainstream traction than his previous efforts. But if these numbers bear out in a few more polls, it’s also a godsend to Romney’s campaign, which badly needs Paul and others to split the votes aligned against the former Massachusetts governor and slow Gingrich’s late surge.
PPP’s poll shouldn’t be entirely surprising–if August belonged to Bachmann, September to Perry, October to Cain and November to Newt, there’s no reason to think another candidate wouldn’t find themselves enjoying a December boomlet. We’re not quite there yet, and Tuesday’s poll could be an outlier. But Gingrich’s lead was always tenuous and it’s not surprising that the absolutely brutal ad campaigns against him have at very least slowed his ascent.