Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Public Policy Polling: Ron Paul in the Lead

The first post-Christmas poll is out and it was conducted by Public Policy Polling, a group I consider the most accurate pollsters in the country. PPP writes:

The last week and a half has brought little change in the standings for the Iowa Republican caucus: Ron Paul continues to lead Mitt Romney by a modest margin, 24-20. Newt Gingrich is in 3rd at 13% followed by Michele Bachmann at 11%, Rick Perry and Rick Santorum at 10%, Jon Huntsman at 4%, and Buddy Roemer at 2%.

Paul's strength in Iowa continues to depend on a coalition of voters that's pretty unusual for a Republican in the state. Romney leads 22-20 with those who are actually Republicans, while Paul has a 39-12 advantage with the 24% who are either independents or Democrats. GOP caucus voters tend to skew old, and Romney has a 34-12 advantage with seniors. But Paul's candidacy looks like it's going to attract an unusual number of younger voters to the caucus this year, and with those under 45 he has a 35-11 advantage on Romney. The independent/young voter combo worked for Barack Obama in securing an unexpectedly large victory on the Democratic side in 2008 and it may be Paul's winning equation in 2012.

Paul continues to have much more passionate support than Romney. 77% of his voters are firmly committed to him, compared to 71% for Romney. Among voters who say their minds are completely made up Paul's lead expands to 7 points at 28-21. If Paul's lead holds on through next Tuesday it appears he'll have won this on the ground- 26% of voters think he's run the strongest campaign in the state to 18% for Bachmann and 10% for Santorum with just 5% bestowing that designation to Romney. There's also an increasing sense that Paul will indeed win the state- 29% think he'll emerge victorious with 15% picking Romney and no one else in double digits....

Newt Gingrich just keeps on sliding. He's gone from 27% to 22% to 14% to 13% over the course of our four Iowa tracking polls. His favorability numbers are pretty abysmal now at 37/54 and only 32% of likely voters think that he has strong principles to 45% who believe he does not. Once the darling of Tea Party voters in the state, he's now slipped to third with that group behind Bachmann and Paul. There's not much reason to think Gingrich can return to his former strong standing in the state in the final week.

Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, and Rick Santorum continue to all be clustered right around 10%. Santorum actually has the best favorability numbers of any of the candidates at +27 (56/29). He's also the most frequent second choice of voters at 14%. Whether he can translate any of this into a top 3 finish remains to be seen, but he's someone who would seem to have the potential to grow his support in the final week.

One thing that's hurt Santorum's ability to really make a move is that the Evangelical vote is incredibly fragmented with 6 different candidates getting between 12 and 21%. Paul actually leads the way with that group at 21% to 16% for Romney and Bachmann, 15% for Santorum, 14% for Gingrich, and 12% for Perry....

Iowa looks like a 2 person race between Paul and Romney as the campaign enters its final week. If Paul can really change the electorate by turning out all these young people and independents who don't usually vote in Republican caucuses, he'll win. If turnout ends up looking a little bit more traditional, Romney will probably prevail.

The full PPP results are here.


  1. Mr. Wenzel why do you consider PPP to be the most reliable?

  2. He likes PPP because they picked the winner in the last Connecticut senate election when everyone was going for the Democrat that was the Kennedy's pick.
    And NBC was telling me about the Mitt and newt show who were in a tie (with some other guy called ron or paul or something never did mention him again.)