News / USA

    Gingrich Leads GOP Ahead of Iowa Caucuses

    Former house speaker overtakes Romney in polls

    (From left) Republican presidential candidates former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, former house speaker Newt Gingrich and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney at a Republican presidential debate in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2011.
    (From left) Republican presidential candidates former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, former house speaker Newt Gingrich and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney at a Republican presidential debate in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2011.

    Americans begin the process of selecting their next president on Jan. 3 in Iowa, where Republicans will gather in small groups to vote for one of seven contenders for their party’s presidential nomination.  

    Public opinion surveys show former House of Representatives speaker Newt Gingrich surging into the lead over former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.

    Gingrich leads the latest national polls and has big leads in surveys of two early voting states - Iowa and South Carolina.

    “You have a chance, with your friends and neighbors, to make history because virtually every political reporter in America is going to be here,” Gingrich told voters in Iowa.

    The former house speaker is the latest Republican to emerge from a large field of contenders trying to position themselves as the conservative alternative to Mitt Romney.

    Romney has focused his campaign on winning the New Hampshire primary, to be held one week after the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses.


    For the most part, Romney has focused his rhetoric not on his Republican rivals, but on President Barack Obama and his economic record.

    “President Obama is a nice guy," he told New Hampshire voters. "But I don’t think he understands America. I don’t think he understands our economy. I don’t think he understands the power of free people, free to choose their course in life.”

    Public opinion surveys suggest the Republican field is narrowing into a two-man race between Romney, the longtime frontrunner, and Gingrich, the latest contender to gain momentum.

    But several other Republican contenders have seen their fortunes quickly rise and fall in the polls, including Minnesota congresswoman Michele Bachmann, Texas governor Rick Perry and Georgia businessman Herman Cain.

    Cain suspended his campaign after allegations of sexual misconduct and the remaining seven Republican contenders are scrambling to win over his supporters.

    “The Republican race has been the most chaotic that I have ever seen, the most unpredictable," says political analyst Stuart Rothenberg. "Anybody who tells you that they expected it to proceed this way, they are fooling with you.”

    Romney was considered the 2012 Republican frontrunner after establishing himself as a serious contender when he ran for the nomination four years ago.

    But Gingrich's surge in the polls might signal a drawn-out battle for the Republican nomination.

    “This is very troubling news to Mitt Romney, who had this air of inevitability," ABC political analyst Matthew Dowd says. "That has now been popped. This poll has shown it is now gone. We could be headed for a very long process in this.”

    Romney is having trouble convincing Republicans he is a true conservative, according to analyst Rothenberg.

    “The race in one respect is pretty clear. A quarter of the Republican Party wants Mitt Romney and the other three-quarters want to have nothing to do with him.”

    For his part, President Obama is trying to rally his fellow Democrats.

    “We are not backing down. We are not giving up," he said last week at a rally in New York. "We are going to keep pushing and we continue to fight. And we still hope and are going after the change we believe in.”

    Given the state of the U.S. economy and the president’s low public approval ratings, Rothenberg says Obama faces a challenging reelection bid.

    “Presidents get the credit when times are good and they get the blame when times are bad, and voters are still in a mood for change, just as they were in 2006, 2008 and 2010. And he represents the establishment.”

    U.S. voters will make the final judgment on the 2012 campaign when they go to the polls on Nov. 6.


    Jim Malone

    Jim Malone has served as VOA’s National correspondent covering U.S. elections and politics since 1995. Prior to that he was a VOA congressional correspondent and served as VOA’s East Africa Correspondent from 1986 to 1990. Jim began his VOA career with the English to Africa Service in 1983.

    You May Like

    In Britain, The Sun Still Doesn’t Shine

    Invoking Spitfires and Merlin, Leave voters insist country can be great again, following surprising 'Brexit' vote last week

    Double Wave of Suicide Bombings Puts Lebanon, Refugees on Edge

    Following suicide bombings in Christian town of Al-Qaa, on Lebanon's northeast border with Syria, fears of further bombings have risen

    US Senators Warned on Zika After Failing to Pass Funding

    Zika threats and challenges, as well as issues of contraception and vaccines, spelled out as lawmakers point fingers

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roari
    X
    June 28, 2016 10:33 AM
    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora