Home > General > PA Real Analysis: Palin, Huckabee, Romney Look Good. Gingrich, not so much. Plus RAS 2012

PA Real Analysis: Palin, Huckabee, Romney Look Good. Gingrich, not so much. Plus RAS 2012

Polling favors Incumbency, Why?  Critical Thinking Time: As we look at some of the polls today (and in the future), I want you to keep in mind that Incumbents almost always have a slight-to-large artificial edge in polling data. This will apply to almost all presidential polling data until a candidate for the GOP is chosen. You have to remember, when being polled, Democrats have only one candidate to consider: Barack Obama. They are already in that camp and knowing if they will vote for him (as a Democrat) is an easy yes or no. You will find far fewer “undecideds” under the incumbent camp. As far as the challengers go, there are a lot of factors that lead to a much higher “undecided” answer.

Suppose you support Mitt Romney as the 2012 GOP nominee. When the question pops up “do you support Romney or Obama” the answer is simple for you. But then they ask “who you support between Obama-Huckabee/Palin/Gingrich/etc.” Some people will support the GOP candidate no matter what. Some might hate the alternative. But often, some just simply don’t want to think about a race between Obama and anyone who is not their candidate and state they are undecided. So for instance, in the PA polls we are about to look at, Democrats were undecided an average of 9.4% of the time, depending on the candidate, whereas Republicans were undecided an average of 13.4% of the time depending on who the GOP nominee is. You can reasonably assume that most of the undecided GOP voters will break into the Republican side. In the scenario above, this would easily translate into 2-3% higher for the GOP candidate. You can also assume that the GOP candidate might receive a decent percentage of the Democrat undecideds. If they know he will undoubtedly be the nominee (save for Clinton conspiracy theories) yet are unwilling to pull the trigger/are considering the GOP candidate, that isn’t great news either.

PA2012 Up first, we are going to look at the PPP poll for PA2012. in 2010, turnout was 40% Democrats to 37% Republicans. It’s PPP, so naturally they managed to find an incomparable 51% Democrats to 38% Republicans, or turned at 2010 D voter advantage of 3 into 13. PPP’s polling sample was even more outrageous than the big Dem year of 2008, where turnout was still just 44-37% in favor of Democrats (+7%). So, if you want to get analysis that reflects a doubling of the D gap from even friggin 2008, then the PPP website  has that awesome analysis. Given that a recent KOS poll that showed TEA Party members were “Very Excited” to vote in 2012 (64%) compared to Non-TEA Party voters (51%) we can gather that, at this current stage, it’s still closer to a 2010 world than a 2008 one. Republicans (58%) had a slight edge over Democrats (55%) in being “Very Excited” to vote as well, which is a notable difference from 2008, and also compares favorably to 2010.

For purposes of this analysis, we are using the cross-tabs and converting them into 2010 figures (Dem +3) as opposed to 2008 (D+7), which would be more accurate than what they polled (D+13).

Palin Vs Obama: Palin 42.3%, Obama 46.39%. (As opposed to PPP’s published/silly 51-39%) This is good numbers for Palin. Remember, I highlighted earlier that Republicans have a much higher “undecided” ratio and there are 13% of undecided Republicans 9almost double that of Dems), or roughly another 5% of the vote, most of that Palin would get. That would effectively put the race at 47%-47% with a remainder of Independents and Moderate Democrats. Other good news for Palin, she has the highest favorability by far (+52%) among those who describe themselves as “Very Conservative” and ties with Huckabee at 60% favorable among Republicans. And remember, she has the greatest upside and the best chance to change voters minds about her.

Huckabee Vs Obama: While Huckabee has a bit more work to do with the Very Conservative base in favorability (+40) he is still solid for second best among that group. This group is key given they are the grassroots, the fundraisers, and the vote-drivers. (And the Tea Party). Adjusted Poll numbers are Huckabee 46%, Obama 42% (VS PPP O45-, H-44).

Romney Vs Obama: Oddly, Romney had the smallest “readjustment bounce” and hops only to 44% (from 43%, PPP). But the readjustment has Obama falling from 42% to 38% to give Romney a +6% in the state (vs PPP uhhhh-nalysis of Romney +1). The good news for Romney: The Moderation Card plays well into his hand here, even as he attempts to portray a uber-conservative type of guy. It shows a lot that he pulls a field-high 80% of Republicans and only loses a field-low 6% to Obama, while Obama gains a field-low 70% of Democrat support against Obama, meaning a lot of Democrats are either going to vote for Obama or are willing to (Dem undecided jump to a high at 12%). Romney’s image is obviously that of a moderate, and many voters are playing wait and see which explains an also field-high undecided vote. The bad news for Obama is his GOP favorability is a woeful 47%-27% lagging far behind the 60% of Palin and Huckabee among Republicans (yet ironically, his GOP support is the most solid at 80%). His other issue is his favorability among “very conservative” voters is a unfantastic +20% (47-27%), well below the 40+% received by Huckabee and Gingrich and the 52% from Palin. Again, money, enthusiasm, and turnout comes from this segment. He needs to get that up.

Gingrich Vs Obama: Poor Newt: The only Republican to be upside down among “somewhat conservative” voters (35-40%) spells trouble from the offset. His favorability among Republicans is a bad 48-30 (worse than Romney by a few points and Palin and Huckabee by 12 points). Worse yet, Independents have a worse opinion of him than they do of Palin, aand he doesn’t even have an excuse/hasn’t been badgered for 2 years. Even reworking the numbers doesn’t move Gingrich’s numbers. New numbers Gingrich 39.8% (up from 39%), but Obama does drop to 43.6% (from 47). I guess the good news for Gingrich is he is within 4 points. the bad news is he has very little upside. His past is nasty. His positions are nastier. There is no up for him.


Palin 42.3%, Obama 46.4%

Huckabee 46%, Obama 42%

Romney 44%, Obama 38%

Gingrich 39.8%, Obama 43.6%

The Bad news for Obama: He is polling between 8-16% worse than the 54.5% he received in PA in 2008 while Romney, Huckabee, and Palin are at, near, or above the 44% McCain got that year. Ouch.

Rasmussen 2012 Results:  Updated. On second look, Romney’s numbers are not good. Huckabee is competitive with a lot of undecideds. Palin’s numbers are always hard to analyze, but certainly a 5% swing isn’t too much to worry about at this stage. The only thing I do not like about this method is that the candidates are asked about over different days throughout the month, not offering a completely pure match-up base. Plus it does not best reflect current happenings. However, since RAS weights correctly, there probably wouldn’t be too much change.

2012 President – US Results
45% Obama (R), 40% Romney (D) (3/6-9; 2,000 likely voters, 2% margin of error)
48% Obama (D), 38% Palin (R) (3/10-13, 2,000 likely voters, 2% margin of error)
43% Obama (D), 43% Huckabee (R) (3/14-17; 2,000 likely voters, 2% margin of error)
49% Obama (D), 37% Gingrich (R) (3/18-19; 1,000 likely voters, 3% margin of error)
42% Obama (D), 34% Paul (R) (3/20-21; 1,000 likely voters, 3% margin of error)
45% Obama (D), 35% Pawlenty (R) (3/22-23; 1,000 likely voters, 3% margin of error)
45% Obama (D), 32% Daniels (R) (3/26-27; 1,000 likely voters, 3% margin of error)
43% Obama (D), 25% Cain (R) (3/26-27; 1,000 likely voters, 3% margin of error)
42% Obama (D), 34% Barbour (R) (3/28-29; 1,000 likely voters, 3% margin of error)
42% Obama (D), 31% Huntsman (R) (3/30-31; 1,000 likely voters, 3% margin of error)

Categories: General
  1. PhillyCon
    April 13, 2011 at 5:37 pm


    Palin down approx four percentage points to Obama in purple/reddish PA after the beating she has taken over the last two years? What say you?

    Doesn’t this show how strong her support really is, and the resiliency of her persona?

    I wonder what Romney’s, Huck’s or Gingrich’s numbers would be after such a similar media blitz?

    We will never know.

  2. unseen
    April 14, 2011 at 8:38 pm

    You need to double check the Obama vs Mitt numbers from Rasmuseen. The write up has Mitt losing to Obama by 5pts. 45-40. the chart has it reversed.

  1. May 25, 2011 at 10:15 pm

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