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:

* As hard as this may be to believe, a new poll published by New Hampshire Journal shows Mitt Romney’s lead in the first Republican primary shrinking considerably. He now leads Newt Gingrich by just two points, 29% to 27%. Ron Paul is third with 16%, followed by Herman Cain at 10%.

* The latest report released by the Pew Research Center shows Romney narrowly leading Cain in the race for the Republican nomination, 23% to 22%. Gingrich is third with 16%, and no other candidate is in double digits.

* The same Pew Research Center survey also found President Obama’s approval rating inching up to 46% — its highest point since June — and he leads all of his Republican challengers in hypothetical match-ups, though his margin over Romney is only two points.

* For reasons that defy comprehension, the Cain campaign is blasting Manchester’s Union Leader, New Hampshire’s largest and most politically influential newspaper, because it wanted to film an interview with him. The paper’s editors and publishers aren’t impressed.

* Cain will now receive Secret Service protection, the first Republican candidate of the 2012 cycle to get this level of security.

* Some of the staffers who quit the Gingrich campaign over the summer have decided to return now that he’s doing well again.

* As Rick Perry’s campaign struggles badly, his fundraising is starting to dry up. That’s never a good sign.

* Chris Cillizza argues that Ron Paul has a credible chance to win the Iowa caucuses.

* Michele Bachmann told Fox News this week, “I haven’t had a gaffe or something that I’ve done that has caused me to fall in the polls.” She did not appear to be kidding.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.