Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Paul frontrunner in Iowa, Bachmann left behind

Public Policy Polling released their most recent Iowa caucus poll last night, and Ron Paul leads 24-20. Based on the results PPP declared:
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. And given all the strange twists and turns to this point don't be surprised to see yet another surprise in the final week...and based on the innards of this poll the person best positioned to provide that surprise in the closing stretch is Santorum.
Despite showing little change in the overall positions of the field, poking around the many pages of crosstabs leads to some very interesting insights about the strengths and weakness of each of the candidates.

It's end times for Bachmann (Photo: The Uptake)
Santorum actually has the highest positives of the GOP field at +27 (56/29). It's time for a "Santorum surge," since he's the only credible non-Romney candidate who has not been a frontrunner at some point (Bachmann, Perry, Cain, and Gingrich have all surged and then fallen.) As PPP notes, he's probably the best positioned to finish 3rd, since he is the leading second choice in the field. In particular, if Bachmann and Perry fade Santorum is likely to benefit the most. Bob Vander Plaats stabbed her in the back last week, asking her to step aside. And 77% of those who have a favorable opinion of Bachmann also have a favorable opinion of Santorum.

Bachmann leads among self-identified "tea party" voters, but since they only make up 26% of the sample, that's only good enough for 4th. Ron Paul's voters are younger, and he leads among non-Fox watchers, who make up nearly half of the sample. Gingrich has faded sharply, with strong negatives. Perry doesn't do well among respondents who paid a lot of attention to the debates, while Gingrich does best among folks who did.

If Bachmann finishes in fourth or lower in Iowa, no amount of Bachmentum will save her campaign. She'll withdraw before New Hampshire, where she's run a pathetic, gaffe-prone campaign. Out of money, with her allies asking her to quit, Bachmann's goose is cooked.

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