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Friday, February 03, 2012

Nevada Caucus Preview; More Polls

What a difference a primary makes. Ahead of tomorrow's Nevada Caucus, the latest polls are out. Romney's repossession of the Republican Primary's momentum is evident in each of them. Whereas Gingrich had all the mojo after South Carolina, Romney's win in Florida has forced Mr. Momentum to change teams.

In the last 24 hours, new published polls came out from Nevada, Arizona, and Michigan. Yesterday, I relayed what was then the latest polls, which I warned were outdated. Let's contrast each of those with the very latest polling to see just how much momentum the Romney Campaign has seized.

In Nevada, a December poll ranked the candidates as follows:
1. Romney--33% (up 4 on Gingrich)
2. Gingrich--29%
3. Paul--13%
4. Santorum--3%

But then, the same polling team--the Las Vegas Review-Journal--conducted a poll from January 27 to January 31, which yielded the following (next to each I will write the difference from the December poll):
1. Romney--45% (+12 from last poll)
2. Gingrich--25% (-4)
3. Santorum--11% (+8)
4. Paul--9% (-9)

Romney gain + Gingrich loss: 16

We'll return to Nevada in a bit, but it should be known that PPP released a poll today that had Romney up to 50 percent (+17 from December) with Gingrich holding at 25, Paul up to 15, and Santorum down to 9.
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Now let's take a look at Arizona, a February 28 primary. A November poll gave us:
1. Gingrich--28 (up 5 on Romney)
2. Romney--23
3. Paul--8
4. Santorum--3

Then, yesterday, a Rasmussen poll conducted on February 1 yielded the following:
1. Romney--48 (+25!)
2. Gingrich--24 (-4)
3. Santorum--13 (+10)
4. Paul--6 (-2)

Romney gain + Gingrich loss: 29
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And the third published poll was out of Michigan, which also has a February 28 primary. Yesterday, I listed the following percentage points from a late January poll (1/25-1/30):
1. Romney--31 (up 5 on Gingrich)
2. Gingrich--26
3. Paul--14
4. Santorum--10

But now, another Rasmussen poll conducted on February 1:
1. Romney--38 (+7)
2. Gingrich--23 (-3)
3. Santorum--17 (+7)
4. Paul--14 (even)

Romney gain + Gingrich loss: 10
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The trend is clear, and it's also the reason the Romney Campaign isn't as worried as most of the media wants them to be. With wins comes money. With money comes ads. With ads comes a rise in poll numbers. With a rise in poll numbers comes wins. With wins comes money. The cycle perpetuates itself.

The goal for Team Romney, therefore, is to just keep winning. That might seem obvious, but remember that his competitors, especially Gingrich, argue that even if Romney wins a plurality in most of the states, he will not get over 50 percent of the total delegates. The point, though, is that eventually, if Romney keeps winning, based on the cycle above, their winning percentages will crack 50 percent. With enough of those, they'll win a majority before the end of the primary season, and well before the Republican National Convention.

We might see that first 50 percent victory as soon as tomorrow. Tomorrow's Nevada Caucus has pre-caucus polls which show that huge Romney surge (see above). Since a big part of Gingrich & company's criticism of Romney is that he can never put together a coalition of a majority of voters, that argument could fall through as early as Nevada, the fifth contest of the Republican Primary. Then, as shown in the last two paragraphs, that could very well lead to winning 50 percent of the vote in a lot more states.

For now, our eyes turn to Nevada. The number to watch for: 50. Will Romney break it, or won't he? Gingrich would rather finish 25 points back of Romney's 45 than 20 points back of Romney's 55. (I swear that makes sense in my head.)

Until next time.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I don't see how anybody could consider Nevada a bellweather of anything. It's such a weird state.

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