Sunday, August 30, 2009

2012 GOP Presidential Primary Poll (Clarus Research Group): Romney Jumps

Earlier this week, Clarus Research Group released the results that included not only a look at the 2012 Republican presidential primary race, but also glanced at the head-to-heads between President Obama and what FHQ will dub the Public Policy Polling Four (Gingrich, Huckabee, Palin and Romney). In this first part, let's focus on primary race. [We'll get to the general election portion in part two.]

First, the results [pdf]:
Romney: 30%
Huckabee: 22%
Palin: 18%
Gingrich: 15%
Jindal: 4%
Other: 2%
Undecided: 10%

Margin of error: +/- 3.1%
Sample: 353 Republican voters
Conducted: August 14-18, 2009
This is the first evidence anywhere that any of the troika of Huckabee, Palin and Romney are breaking away from one another. Romney has an eight point edge in this poll, the largest margin anyone of the trio has held over anyone else in the group in all of 2009. And this is the first time anyone has eclipsed the 30% mark in any of the polls conducted thus far. That mark is also the highest any prospective 2012 GOP candidate has been since Sarah Palin was at 29% in the February CNN poll. Yes, these are nice factoids, but no, they don't mean that much in 2009. However, as I said, this is the first instance in which there has been any significant light between any of the Huckabee/Palin/Romney group. If one thing has been true in these polls throughout 2009 it is that in any given poll at least two of these candidate are within the margin of error of each other. That isn't the case here.

Also notable is the fact that Jindal made it onto the list of candidates. There isn't anything right or wrong about that, but it is strange to see Jindal included, but someone like Pawlenty left off. I hate that Clarus didn't shed any light on who the candidates were that were among the 2% volunteered group. [I'm willing to bet Mark Sanford wasn't named.] As I've said previously, though, beggars can't be choosers in these situations. Three years out, you can take what you're likely to get.

[Click to Enlarge]

One theme that FHQ will touch on tomorrow is how Palin is doing among women; not that well. We have observed that phenomenon in the context of the head-to-heads with Obama but not in a primary setting. Surprisingly, Huckabee actually does better amongst women than men; the former Arkansas governor is +11 in the female to male comparison. Every other Republican candidate falls well behind that mark, however; all the way into the negatives. Romney has the largest deficit (-7), while Gingrich, Jindal and Palin all have -3 deficits of women to men. That certainly is more in line with where Republican candidates end up in these comparisons versus Democrats, but that Huckabee number is noteworthy.

Tomorrow FHQ will have a glance at how those gender breakdowns look in the trial heats against Obama.

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astrojob said...

Regarding the gender breakdown on the GOP side.....well, these are just the numbers for Republican men and Republican women, right? That is, Huckabee's +11 is for Republican women over Republican men.

I don't see why numbers like that would necessarily have anything to do with the gender gap in general election polling, which includes men and women of all parties. I mean, the GOP women have to like at least *one* of the GOP candidates better than the men do.....unless you were expecting their "undecided" number to just be that much higher than the men.

Josh Putnam said...

These gender numbers have nothing to do with the general election comparison. The thing that is striking to me is that one candidate (Huckabee) has a clear and strong advantage among female respondents. I agree with you that women Republicans have to support (at least) one candidate more than the others. However, what's noteworthy in my eyes is that the support isn't more evenly distributed across candidates.

Does that bolster Huckabee's numbers in the head-to-head match up against Obama (relative to the other Republicans)? We'll have a look at that a little later on.