It's D-Day in Iowa in exactly one week, and with just seven days to go, things aren't exactly firming up among Republican voters. Most media reports use words like "fluid," "unsettled," and "muddled" to describe the situation there. Highlights of today's Iowa caucuses-centric news and analysis.
- It's still anyone's game—and how. The Sioux City Journal points to a recent Iowa State University/Gazette/KCRG poll that describes things as "remarkably fluid." A sizable 37.8% said they were still trying to make up their minds, and 34.1% were learning toward a candidate. Just 28.1% have made their pick.
- That indecision doesn't come cheap. The Des Moines Register reports that December campaign and PAC spending on TV and radio ads in the state has clocked in at more than $10 million for the month (the figure excludes spending by Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum). Among the biggest spenders: Rick Perry has forked over $2.86 million for TV ads; a super PAC pushing Mitt Romney has spent $2.85 million. One of the lighter spenders? Newt Gingrich, at $476,000.
- And all the Gingrich-centered negative ads may just be too much for him. The Washington Post talks to an Iowa strategist who calls them "effective" and says that "there’s not going to be any singular moment where he can regain the footing. Nothing will allow him to pull the break in these polls."
- Romney is looking like a more likely winner, notes the New York Times. He debuted a new commercial yesterday, and the slow rise of Santorum could help. “If the evangelical vote is splintered and Ron Paul’s people aren’t going anywhere, Mitt Romney could end up winning the Iowa caucuses," says Mike Huckabee. "It would not put me on the floor if that happened."
- So with Iowa looming, everyone must be there, right? Not exactly. The Post notes that Santorum was the only candidate in the state yesterday. He engaged in a little bird hunting with Rep. Steve King, whose endorsement he was seeking. He didn't bag it. The other candidates will return today.
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