Friday, December 30, 2011


Just a quick reality check. There have been six Iowa polls released this week, five of them based only on surveys begun after Christmas. Rick Santorum is certainly surging, in the sense that he was probably in sixth place before and appears to be in third place now. But least from what we've seen yet, his surge is still more semi- than certain, at least if we're talking about a strong finish.

In particular, here are Santorum's leads over Rick Perry in those five polls (four via Silver, plus NBC here): 0, 2, 2, 3, 1.

Impressed? I doubt it.

Now, if we go beyond the horse race numbers, it's clear that there's good news for Santorum in that his favorable ratings beat Perry's, at least in the ones I've looked at. And buzz and hype are clearly on Santorum's side. On the other hand, Perry is presumably going to be massively outspending Santorum on ads over the last few days. There's also the question of organization...I'm really not certain who has the advantage there, or how that will figure in.

I'm just saying: from the numbers so far, it ain't there.

UPDATE while I'm writing....and now a new poll is out with a 7 point gap between them. With Bachmann surging up to 12%! Maybe that's right...I don't know; it seems unlikely to me that Bachmann's week has helped her, but perhaps it has.

I guess I'll tie it all together by just emphasizing (1) Iowa is really hard to poll, and (2) try not to make too much of a lot of relatively small differences in polling numbers.


  1. >it seems unlikely to me that Bachmann's week has helped her, but perhaps it has.

    Maybe it's part of the whole "no publicity is bad publicity" principle. Definitely part of getting people to vote for you is reminding them that you exist.

  2. Certainly possible, but it sure seems to me that the most dangerous thing for Bachmann is "she's not going to win/Santorum might." Which are really the two biggest stories in Iowa this week.

    If it were a scandal I might have thought the publicity would have helped her. But defections shouldn't. At least that's the logic I see; perhaps I'm wrong.

  3. Figuring out Iowa is the new Kreminology (or it seems that way to me), but thankfully with a tiny fraction of the importance of Russia or the old USSR.

    I think I'm going to give up trying to predict crazy/irrational, because that is exactly what I think of people who are supporting Perry/Bachmann/Santorum. I don't usually reject candidates out of hand, but come on... these 3 are stupid/crazy/hopeless. That is something 80+% of the country knows, but somehow Iowa is keeping them on life support.

    Sorry for this rant, but Santorum is the last straw. If you agree, please give me a bit of support.

  4. JB - Can you elaborate on a statement you made in a post at Greg's:
    "But the truth is that Romney still doesn’t have the endorsement profile that a dominant candidate could have at this point."
    Who specifically do you feel is missing?

    Unless I misread the paragraph that lead to this; you believe he has a few big names that we don't know about yet... which would seem like good strategy.

    Is there a contradiction there? He hasn't wrapped things up because there aren't enough big name endorsers; we know he has a few big names in the bag waiting to influence post-Iowa spin. (Or is that 2nd part a guess)

    Perry seems like he is determined to make the universe forget the 3rd reason they like him and the 1st 2 no longer seem relevant...

    Paul is Paul, Newt is Newt & Bachmann is Bat$h1t...

    Your argument about the Frothy guy sounds convincing, in a vacuum. I don't mean that as a disagreement exactly. But Santorum in a general election against Obama? Would the GOP really want that?

    It seems pretty locked up for Mitt.
    What specifically are looking for before you can agree?


  5. Anon,

    Perhaps poor writing on my part. He might have several big names in the bag; he might not. But as of now, he's still well behind where, say, W. was in 1999.

    Basically, someone is going to come out of Iowa as the conservative alternative to Romney. That's not Paul's role. If it were Newt or Bachmann, Romney crushes that person, probably in SC, game over. If it's Santorum or Perry, *and* if a whole lot of high-profile conservatives suddenly jump on that bandwagon...then I'm not so sure.

    Just to get a sense of it, it's not a great list at all, but of the 50 people on WaPo's list of major GOPers, only 10 have endorsed so far.

  6. ModeratePoli, it's not Iowa that's keeping Perry on life support -- it's his ability to raise money, and the fact that as a big-state governor he's a plausible nominee. Granted, he's an idiot, but since when has that been disqualifying in Republican politics? I didn't think it was possible to be too intellectually challenged for the GOP base, although maybe Perry is proving there actually is a floor on that. Still, I think he's the sleeper candidate here and could seriously challenge Romney if/when the hard right quits screwing around with joke candidates and finally focuses on their real alternatives.

  7. Thanks for the link. That helps to clarify what you've been saying. I guess I just needed a visual...

    I suppose that also ties in with your stance that the candidate doesn't matter. (In the sense of predicting a D or R win in Nov) Once the standard bearer is picked, so many people will coalesce around that person that major flaws will be obscured/ignored/forgiven...

    Thanks again, I've really enjoyed this blog. Keep up the great work!

  8. ModeratePoli, I totally agree with your take regarding Perry/Bachmann/Santorum. None of them would (should) be realistically considered as the eventual GOP Presidential candidate.

    They may not want Romney, but Perry and Bachmann have already been rejected as the non-Romney, and Santorum will be shortly, as his craziness gets reported. He didn't just lose his last election by 16 or 18% because he supported Arlen Spector.


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