Thursday’s campaign round-up

Today’s installment of campaign-related news items that won’t necessarily generate a post of their own, but may be of interest to political observers:

* In a new national NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, Mitt Romney remains the top choice of Republican voters in the presidential race. Sarah Palin is second with 14, followed by Herman Cain at 12%. From there, it’s Rick Perry at 8%, Ron Paul with 7%, Newt Gingrich at 6%, Tim Pawlenty with 4%, Rick Santorum at 4%, and Michele Bachmann with 3%. Jon Huntsman is dead last with only 1% support.

* Of particular interest in the poll is Gingrich’s implosion. Less than a third of Republican primary voters have a positive impression of the disgraced former House Speaker, and the number of GOP voters with a negative impression has nearly tripled since April.

* FreedomWorks PAC has decided to target Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch in Utah next year. Russ Walker, the vice president of political and grassroots campaigns for FreedomWorks PAC, said, “The state of Utah is far more fiscally conservative than Orrin Hatch is. It’s an opportunity to pick up a seat, it’s an opportunity to find somebody who is better.”

* Former McCain campaign aide John Weaver, now the chief strategist for the Huntsman campaign, took some shots at the leading Republican candidates in a new interview. Weaver also described the existing GOP field as the weakest in more than seven decades.

* The Pawlenty campaign held a New Hampshire house party at the home of Ray Shakir, a right-wing Republican activist who calls President Obama a “jungle alien.”

* Al Gore praised Mitt Romney yesterday for acknowledging climate change and “sticking to his guns in the face of the anti-science wing of the Republican Party.” I’m sure GOP primary voters will be impressed by Gore’s kind words, right?

* In California’s 36th, Republican candidate Craig Huey condemned the racist ad launched this week by Turn Right USA PAC.

* North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue (D) remains unpopular a year before her re-election bid, but Public Policy Polling shows her support increasing in the wake of GOP extremism in the state legislature.