For the first time ever in 2012, Ron Paul is squarely third in national polls.

The latest poll from Fox News showed Ron Paul at third with 12 percent, behind Newt Gingrich at 36 percent and Mitt Romney at 23 percent.

Gallup also currently has Paul third at 10 percent, behind Gingrich at 34 percent and Mitt Romney at 25 percent.

Gingrich, however, may be the latest “flavor of the month candidate. In Gallup polls from Sept. 2010 to Dec. 2011, Huckabee, Trump, Cain and Perry have all won the top spot.

However, all of these candidates are either not currently in the race or have fallen from favor. Indeed, the only two top-tier candidates who have enjoyed stable ratings are Paul and Romney.

Paul is also polling well in Iowa. In the latest Des Moines Register Iowa poll, he is second behind Gingrich and slightly ahead of Romney. Before this, his Iowa poll numbers were consistently comparable to Romney's.

Paul notably came within 153 votes of winning Iowa’s Ames Straw Poll. 

There is increasing speculation among media outlets and experts (here, here and here) that Paul could win the 2012 Iowa GOP caucus, especially if Gingrich falls victim to the “flavor of the month” trap.

If he does, perhaps more mainstream media outlets will finally begin to take him seriously.