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For what it’s worth

For what it’s worth

I ran the Des Moines Register final poll numbers yesterday, here’s PPP’s final Iowa poll released late last night:

The Republican caucus in Iowa is headed for a photo finish, with the three leading contenders all within two points of each other.  Ron Paul is at 20%, Mitt Romney at 19%, and Rick Santorum at 18%. Rounding out the field are Newt Gingrich at 14%, Rick Perry at 10%, Michele Bachmann at 8%, Jon Huntsman at 4%, and Buddy Roemer at 2%.

The momentum in the race is completely on Santorum’s side. He’s moved up 8 points since a PPP poll earlier in the week, while no one else has seen more than a one point gain in their support. Among voters who say they decided who to vote for in the last seven days he leads Romney 29-17 with Paul and Gingrich both at 13.

Both polls show Santorum surging.  What happens if Romney ends up in 3rd, as now seems a possibility?  Also, does Perry continue if he doesn’t break 10%?

Bachmann says she’s already bought her plane ticket to South Carolina, and that she is disappointed the conservative vote is being split.  So cancel your ticket, we’ll take up a collection fund here at Legal Insurrection reimburse you the cost of cancelling the ticket.  For the sake of the country, please.


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Midwest Rhino | January 2, 2012 at 9:09 am

Perry was just on FOX … he says he is the one (I think referring to evangelicals choices) that has resources to continue … and said he will be there in SC, FL, and Nevada, regardless of his Iowa finish (though he expects he will do well in Iowa)

Romney finishing behind Paul and Santorum would not be good for him, but Gingrich and maybe Perry seem his real competition, as evidenced by the big money he put up against Gingrich.

workingclass artist | January 2, 2012 at 9:40 am

Perry is in it till the spring & will pick up steam through retail politicking. He has the money. As this happens his fund raising will pick back up.

Snorkdoodle Whizbang | January 2, 2012 at 9:48 am

“Bachmann says she’s already bought her plane ticket to South Carolina…”

I would have thought she’d want to save a couple of bucks and just fly down on her broom.

Sorry… cheap shot. Just couldn’t help myself.

I doubt Romney finishes lower than second. As I understand it, caucuses favor the candidates with better organizations. Mitt should do well because he is near the top of the heap both in sheer popularity and in ability to get his people to the caucus site.

As for Santorum’s surge, I suspect it won’t matter very much in the end. The “national” take on Santorum’s late surge is (or will be) that he’s just enjoying the same 15 minutes of fame that all of the other non-Romneys have experienced over the last few months. To really become a factor, he’ll need to withstand the scrutiny that would follow in the wake of a strong Iowa showing and then back up that success with a similar showing in the ensuing contests.

I like Newt. I think he could handle obama and his machine better than anyone else. I also like Perry. Neither one of these candidates are McCain or Dole drones. These two are the only ones I would consider in the nomination. However, I would vote for Romney if I have to in the general. ABO to the end, but I don’t feel that Paul would be any different from obama. If the candidate is anyone other than Romney, though, he will have the might of the republican establishment against him. The elite sure have taken the blinders off in this election. They are showing in very way they can how unimportant they consider us, the voters. Come to think of it, both parties have shown what they are during the past couple of years.

I know it’s a dead horse, but Romney’s support consistently tops out at about 25%. The other 75% is being traded around by whomever’s left. Romney can’t build momentum, because he has none–he’s maxed out his appeal. The pundits want to overemphasize Iowa and NH, but in the bigger scheme, they’re nothing. Romney will do about as well as Bachmann in the South. Gingrich’s and Perry’s surges will be the talk of the pundits once the attention shifts to the South.

Sheer popularity, you say. I wouldn’t think 25% reaches that mark.

If Santorum is in the top 3, Romney wins no matter where Romney places. The only not-Romney with any chance of beating Mitt is Perry and Newt.

Perry will need a top 3 finish to “win.” But win or lose for Perry, he will be in it for some time, no matter what. Perry’s track to victory requires a slow and steady, with the other not-Romneys sinking or going away.

If it ends up with a three-way tie for third place, as some polls suggest, and Paul or Santorum is in the top two, then Iowa’s results largely become irrelevant I think. With NH already in the bag for Mitt, SC would then become the “first” real contest.

I see that only Santorum and Newt increased over the last poll. Go Newt!!!!!

Thanks, Prof!

Bachmann – not only will I contribute to her ticket cancellation fund, I’ll throw in a gift certificate to Outback Steakhouse as well (they donate to Republican candidates).

BurkeanBadger | January 2, 2012 at 10:46 am

I think the Santorum surge is: A) A little overstated and B) Comes a little too late.

While this poll puts all three within the margin of error, there has been no poll which put Santorum in the lead. Furthermore, while Santorum has strong grass roots appeal, his organization is weak compared to Romney, Paul and Perry.

Don’t get me wrong: There has been a palpable bump for Santorum, but I don’t think it’s going to put him over the top. Much like Edwards on the Democratic side eight years ago, Santorum will come in second to Romney’s first.

Watch out for Perry. What little I’m seeing on the ground (and granted, I’m in eastern Iowa; the west is where the real battle for the evangelical vote is taking place) and is being hinted at in the local news, indicates a very, very last minute Perry surge. Granted, if the Santorum surge was too late to win first place, the Perry surge is way too late. But, Perry’s organization is much better than Santorum’s. Therefore, I’m going out on a limb and saying he will surpass Paul and take third place, more than justifying staying in the race.

Paul will be a close fourth. Gingrich a more distant fifth and Bachmann a very distant sixth.

And by the way, Buddy Roemer? Really? I’m skeptical of even 2%. Unless the Occupy cranks crash a bunch of the caucuses (and even if they did, they’d more likely vote for Paul).

    huskers-for-palin in reply to BurkeanBadger. | January 2, 2012 at 10:58 am

    The “Santorum Surge” reminds me of the TIE fighter in the movie “Return of the Jedi” . The one that was behind the Millennium Falcon as the 2nd Death Star was exploding.

    For a brief second, the Imperial pilot was gonna make it but sorry bucko, no cigar!!!

BurkeanBadger | January 2, 2012 at 10:47 am

P.S. I’m going a Romney here in Dubuque in two hours. I’ll be interested to see how turnout is.

We are being told, by all the talking heads, how important Iowa is. Are we that dumbed down about elections we don’t realize that in the entire scheme of the nominations/primaries, that Iowa really holds no importance for Republicans?

Iowa has 28 delegates and those delegates, at the end of the night, will be awarded proportionally. No one candidate will take all 28 delegates. Then on to New Hampshire who is famous for upsets (see 2008 when Romney was in a solid lead in NH on 1/1/08 and the primary was taken by McCain).

And why the Fox News blackout on Perry? Friday I was watching Megan Kelly and she had a montage of all the GOP candidates full screen; Bachmann, Romney, Paul, Gingrich, Huntsman and Santorum. Yep, NO Perry. She went on to discuss each and every candidate but NOT Perry.

I read an article last week in Weekly Standard called A Tale of Two Ricks. For the first two paragraphs, it reported how Rick Perry was packing the house in every venue and how the attendees were clapping and cheering for Governor Perry.

The third paragraph went on to tell how Santorum was not experiencing the same, and how one bar owner shut down the Iowa game on the TV because people were not paying attention to Santorum and he was not able to work the crowd. For 15 paragraphs, the author went on to talk about the miracle of Santorum’s campaign. So, OK,let me see if I have this right; Perry is packing the house, Santorum can’t even get people excited when he is with them, but it is Santorum’s campaign that is such a miracle? 15 paragraphs dedicated to Santorum compared to two for Perry?

Yesterday it was reported that Perry has already lined up over 1,500 caucus chairs while Romney and Paul have refused to give the number of caucus chairs they have. Face, palm, action.

Santorum may well take the Iowa caucus. He better. He has put all his eggs in the Iowa basket. But it doesn’t matter. That is ONE state out of 50 (or 57, depending on who’se counting) and has a small number of delegates.

The only reason that Iowa holds any importance is that it gives the 24 hour news outlets something to talk about. But Iowa will go Democrat in the general anyway, and how many times have the Iowa caucuses picked the GOP nominee? Their record is dismal.

Newt needs to show up in Iowa and he has. Then he can go on to NH and then to South Carolina, where I hope he does very well!

My point is that Iowa has become a traditional starting point for the presidential candidates but whether it truly has that much significance might be open to question.

So, IMHAO Newt needs to soldier on regardless of who’s on first.

    retire05 in reply to Doug Wright. | January 2, 2012 at 11:16 am

    Doug, I agree. While I am not supporting Newt (he’s in my top three) I am disgusted with the machinations in Virginia. Virginians have a right to select their chosen candidate in a primary (that’s what primaries are all about, right?) but it seems that there are those in the RPV that want to stack the deck in favor of Mitt.

    But even after Super Tuesday, no one nominee will have reached the required 51% of delegates to take the nomination. In order to do that, ONE candidate would have to take EVERY delegate all the way through the end of March to gain the over 1,100 delegates required for nomination. At the end of Super Tuesday, there will be only 820 delegates up for grabs.

    Newt, and Perry, need to soldier on even after Iowa.

      How do you figure that RPV stacked the deck on behalf of Mitt?

      By persuading the Gingrich campaign to hire someone to commit fraud and submit 1,500 signatures that were invalid, thereby leaving them short of the known required number?

      By convincing the Gingrich campaign to eschew the expressed advice of the Virginia GOP to ALL presidential campaigns to get between 15,000 and 20,000 signatures in order to ensure that, when it all washed out, a sufficient number of their submitted signatures would be valid?

It is the “also-rans” that unfortunately seem to be willing to soldier on after Iowa. I hoped that after Iowa Bachmann, and Santorum would drop out. I hoped that Huntsman would stay in as long as possible to take votes from Romney. I doubt it. With 24/7 news coverage and encouragement of the MSM, Bachmann and Santorum will continue to split the Conservative vote. Sadly, that’s just what Romney wants.

[…] and the pollsters have agreed that Mitt Romney and Ron Paul are tied — maybe with Rick Santorum.Legal Insurrection: Both polls show Santorum surging. What happens if Romney ends up in 3rd, as now seems a […]

I’m glad you entitled this, “For what it’s worth” because, after all, it is based on speculation related to an “outlier” poll by PPP — a Democrat group whose participation in predicting Republican contests is always unquestionable, and the basis for whose speculation in this particular poll, as pointed out by Ed Morrissey, is highly suspect — one might even be tempted to add “laughable.”

Surely some newbies and Democrats will caucus on Tuesday with Republicans, but I seriously doubt they will comprise half of all caucus-goers — who, after all, could have caucused with Paul in 2008 as well. When was the last time that overall attendance at an Iowa caucus doubled over a previous non-incumbent cycle with a flood of newbies and members of the opposition party? That’s the predictive model that PPP used in this poll, and using that long-shot scenario practically defines the term outlier in predictive polling.

Of course, as a Democrat outfit, their interest at this point happens to coincide with your interest as a supporter of Newt Gingrich — to stop Romney at all costs!

So, as I say, the title for what it’s worth was spot on.

But the body of the post might as well have been written with a link to the PPP poll, and just two simple two words . . .

Not Much!

I have a for what it’s worth question, too. The Des Moines Register poll has cross-tabs of 61% male – 39% female. How is that a “good” poll? Ron Paul’s supporters are primarily male. PPP is trolling for males, asking for them, then talking to women, with over polling of about 4-5% male. Women traditionally outnumber men in attending the Caucuses, so, are we being fed a false bill of goods. Perry has strong female support. Judging from the crowds I’m seeing, Newt is drawing well, Santorum gets excited if 100 people show up.

In the words of the Great American Philosopher, “It ain’t over ’till it’s over.”

The Pink Flamingo

Sorry to pour cold water on Newt fans, but after declaring that he’s going to lose Iowa he is on track to see his support fade on caucus day the same way it did for Giuliani in 2008. Giuliani was posting a disappointing but understandable 7% in the final poll average, but took only 3.5% of the caucus vote. He had written Iowa off and his supporters had no reason to come out. Even if they did, they had no reason to stick with him since he wasn’t going to be a factor. Now Gingrich just told his supporters there is no point in fighting in Iowa, so many of them won’t. Huntsman and Bachmann will see similar slumps. I expect Gingrich’s 14% poll average to deflate to 8-9% of the actual caucus result and fall behind Perry. Sorry, but Gingrich will not survive the resulting dearth of attention and funds long enough to regain traction in South Carolina.

    “Sorry, but Gingrich will not survive the resulting dearth of attention and funds long enough to regain traction in South Carolina.”

    True. But I think one can also expect that Newt will “not go gentle into that good night.”

    No, Newt will likely “rage, rage” as he has done in the past. When he was forced out of the Speaker’s position back in the ’90s, he resigned from Congress all together and called his former Republican colleagues “cannibals” as he was walking out the door in a huff.

    Looks like his justification this time will be his assertion that his primary opponents are nasty and dishonest.

    “We’re learning a lot about what our opponents will do,” Gingrich said. “They are nastier and more dishonest than I expected. So we’ll have to make some adjustments.”

    Adjustments. Like grousing about Mitt Romney, by openly asserting that he would buy an election if he could.

    Three weeks ago, the guy was riding high in the polls and declaring that, let’s face it, he was going to be the Republican nominee this year.

    Now he’s going to take his ball and go home. But first, he’s going to wind up and throw it at somebody’s head.


      William A. Jacobson in reply to Trochilus. | January 3, 2012 at 10:34 am

      “But first, he’s going to wind up and throw it at somebody’s head.” Actually, the “but first” was Romney and his supporters who have been vicious and preparing to take their ball home, Romney ran the same campaign against Newt that he ran against Huckabee, so maybe Newt and Huckabee were not the problem.

        Perhaps you missed my central point . . . Newt Gingrich has now openly called all of “our opponents” in the Iowa primary “nastier and more dishonest” than he expected.

        Gee, didn’t he recently insist on calling them “competitors” and NOT “opponents?”

        Yes, I think he did . . . at a Ronald Reagan dinner in Des Moines, barely ONE month ago.

        “I am here with very fine competitors, but no opponents, he said. “We only have one opponent. That’s Barack Obama.”

        Huh. Well . . . no more Mr. Nice Newt!

        Of course, he continues to insist that his attacks are comparative. But openly claiming that Mitt Romney would buy the election if he could, is not any reasonable person’s idea of comparative! Perhaps you disagree?

        In my opinion, Newt sadly seems now to be reverting to form, which was why I cited his reaction to his other great loss of support from Republicans — when he resigned as Speaker, and from his House seat, and then referred to the Republican caucus as “cannibals” on the way out the door.

        Look, I commend him for entering and competing in the race. He is an interesting and complex figure in our political life. But his campaign was ill-conceived, underfunded, and at times it was embarrassingly amateurish. I think the final straw for Republicans was his failure to even follow the road map for making it onto the primary ballot in his adopted home state, the Commonwealth of Virginia . . . that was what the kids today call an “epic fail.”