Tuesday’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 New Hampshire, the latest Boston Globe poll shows Mitt Romney cruising to an easy primary win, leading the field with 39%. Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul are tied for second with 17%, and Jon Huntsman is the only other candidate to reach double digits, garnering 11%.

* The Gingrich campaign announced today that its bus tour of Iowa, originally scheduled to make 44 stops, will instead make 22 stops. Put that in the “not a good sign” category.

* President Obama’s approval rating reached 47% yesterday in the Gallup Daily Tracking poll. That’s the highest it’s been in five months, and the first time since July that approval has been higher than disapproval.

* Despite talk of proportional representation in the GOP primaries, the fact remains that the Republican nominating process is effectively a winner-take-all system.

* Gingrich tried to avoid negative campaigning for a long while, but late yesterday, his campaign issued a lengthy memo questioning Romney’s conservative credentials. “Can we trust a Massachusetts Moderate to enact a conservative agenda?” asked Gingrich communications director Joe DeSantis.

* Gingrich is also targeting Ron Paul, calling on the Texan to offer a more detailed explanation for having published racist newsletters.

* In Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker (R) is apparently so convinced that he’ll face a runoff recall election that he’s already investing a fair amount of money in television commercials. Walker opponents are still in the process of collecting signatures to force the race.

* It’s likely to get pretty awkward in post-redistricting New Jersey, where Rep. Steve Rothman (D) has decided to run against Rep. Bill Pascrell (D) in 2012.

* And reality-show personality Donald Trump announced that he’s left the Republican Party and registered as an independent, in order to give Trump the option of launching a third-party presidential campaign.

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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.