The latest CBS News poll puts Paul at 8% in New Hampshire (still just 4% in Iowa), which confirms the result from at least three other polls that I can recall from the last week or two that show him at 7%.  This puts him within eight points of both McCain and Giuliani.  If this is right (and I should note that this poll’s sampling error for N.H. Republicans was 6 points!), second place is an entirely realistic goal at this point, provided that he continues to climb in the polls as he has finally started to do.  If Paul outperforms either of them (especially McCain with guaranteeing a win), the story is unfortunately not going to be, “Why is Ron Paul doing so well?” but instead will be, “Why is X so pathetically weak?”   

Also, Huckabee seems to be moving up in Iowa, now at 21%.  If Huckabee managed somehow to win Iowa (and two-thirds of Romney’s supporters are not yet fully committed to backing Romney), that could badly damage Romney and shake things up, but it would probably to the ultimate advantage of Giuliani.  At the start of the month, Ross explained the perverse (that’s my term, not his) relationship between Huckabee’s surge and Giuliani’s success.  I still don’t think a Giuliani-Huckabee ticket would work at all, nor is it likely to happen, but they do seem to have ended up as very strange natural political allies.

Full results of poll are here.