Wednesday’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:

* A newly-released Iowa State/Gazette/KCRG poll shows Ron Paul leading Newt Gingrich in the Iowa caucuses, 27.5% to 25.3%, but because the poll was conducted over 10 days (Dec. 8 to 18), the results are suspect.

* Speaking of Iowa, Bob Vander Plaats, a prominent evangelical, right-wing activist, has thrown his support to Rick Sanatorum’s struggling presidential campaign.

* In still more Iowa news, Mitt Romney and his campaign are still trying to downplay their efforts in the state, but the Romney Super PAC is investing $713,132 in commercials just this week, on top of the $258,055 the official campaign is spending. The combined total points to a startling revelation: Romney is spending nearly as much in Iowa as the rest of the GOP field combined.

* Speaking of Romney and money, the former governor has relied heavily on his allied Super PAC, but yesterday said Super PACs ought to be eliminated altogether. It led a Gingrich campaign spokesperson to argue that Romney is “either a lying politician or a piece of sh*t.”

* Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, who’s been a Republican presidential candidate excluded from the debates, will abandon the GOP primaries and instead seek the Libertarian Party’s presidential nomination.

* The new CNN poll shows President Obama leading each of his Republican rivals in hypothetical general election match-ups. He leads Romney by seven (52%-45%), Ron Paul by seven (52%-45%), and Gingrich by 16 (56%-40%).

* In Virginia, a new Quinnipiac poll shows Gingrich leading Romney, 30% to 25%, but it’s not clear if Gingrich will manage to get his name onto the ballot.

* Quinnipiac also found in Virginia that former Sen. George Allen (R) is narrowly leading former Gov. Tim Kaine (D) in next year’s U.S. Senate race, 44% to 42%.

* And in Oregon’s upcoming U.S. House special election, Public Policy Polling shows Suzanne Bonamici (D) with a pretty comfortable lead over Rob Cornilles (R), 52% to 41%.

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Steve Benen

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.