Showing posts with label Romney. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Romney. Show all posts

Friday, December 11, 2009

Public Policy Polling: December 2009 Presidential Trial Heats In Depth

You can find the archive of all the 2012 trial heat polls here.

In a month when President Obama slipped into the 40s against each Republican polled against him in a hypothetical 2012 general election match up (via Public Policy Polling [pdf]), things obviously were not looking that good across the board. In an overall sense, we quickly get a feel for that tightening simply by looking at the trendlines for each of the prospective Republican presidential aspirants (There's now even a trendline for Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty -- see below and in the left sidebar).

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Obama: 46%
Huckabee: 45%
Undecided: 9%

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Obama: 50%
Palin: 44%
Undecided: 6%

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Obama: 48%
Pawlenty: 35%
Undecided: 17%


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Obama: 47%
Romney: 42%
Undecided: 12%

Margin of Error: +/- 2.8%
Sample: 1253 registered voters (nationwide)
Conducted: December 4-7, 2009

There isn't really much to the poll other than to say that overall, things are much closer than they were, say, at the beginning of PPP's process of looking at the the 2012 back in March (Palin) and April (Gingrich, Huckabee, Romney added). And that largely tracks with the president's approval numbers throughout the year. FHQ would be remiss, though, if we didn't at least bring up a few nuggets from the internals of the poll.

On the 2008 presidential vote:
  • Huckabee does the best of any of the Republican candidates at pulling together the most McCain voters (85%) and minimizing the number of repeat Obama voters (89%). The former Arkansas governor was the only Republican to keep Obama's support among his former voters below 90%.

On ideology:
  • President Obama is still approaching 90% approval among liberals and is right at two-thirds approval among moderates. Not surprisingly, the president is taking the biggest hit among self-described conservatives (only 15% approve).
  • Sarah Palin is the most favorable candidate to conservatives, but both she and Mike Huckabee garner 79% support from the group against the president.

On age:
  • Obama consistently loses the 65+ set and essentially breaks even (to slightly loses) the 46-65 demographic to all the Republicans polled. However, the president is well above 50% with everyone under 45.

On race:
  • Palin is the most favorable Republican among Hispanic respondents, but only reaches 37% favorability. The president continues to hold over 90% support among registered African American voters and about two-thirds of Hispanic voters against all four Republicans.

On gender:
  • Men still prefer Republicans and women Obama, but this is noteworthy because it is the first time Sarah Palin has led the president among men (48-45) in a PPP survey.

On region:
  • The quirk is gone (...in December at least). Obama didn't sweep the South as he has on several other occasions in these PPP polls. Instead, the president was swept in the region where the Republican Party found its base in the 2008 presidential election. More troubling to Obama from an electoral standpoint is that the president was swept by all four Republicans in the midwest. The president was able to make inroads in the peripheral South in 2008 and can potentially afford to jettison states like Virginia and North Carolina in 2012. But if Michigan and Indiana and Ohio begin to creep into the mix in terms of competitiveness, things could get interesting in the fall of 2012. Much of that will depend on the state of the economy, though.
What will January and a new year bring? Stay tuned.


Recent Posts:
The Links (12/10/09)

PPP: 2012 Presidential Trial Heats (Dec. '09): Huckabee within 1 Point of Obama

Democrats and Republicans Unified on a March Primary Start? All Signs Point Toward Yes

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Public Policy Polling: November 2009 Presidential Trial Heats In Depth

NOTE: Please note that you can now track past updates of these trial heat polls by clicking here or on the "2012 trial heat polls" tag at the bottom of the post.

For the ninth straight month Public Policy Polling released a series of 2012 presidential trial heat polls matching President Obama up against four prospective Republican candidates. And despite the fact that Obama slipped below 50% for the first time in a few polls this past week (see Gallup, Quinnipiac, PPP), the president wasn't in any significantly different position relative to the Republicans than he was a month ago; just under 50% against all but Sarah Palin and still ahead across the board. Yet, this month while Mike Huckabee remained the closest to the president, he was not alone in that distinction. Mitt Romney climbed to within five points of the president as well, climbing above the 40% mark for the first time in any PPP poll this year.

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Obama: 49%
Huckabee: 44%
Undecided: 7%
That said, Huckabee does better consolidating the conservative and Republican bases. Romney, however, nearly evenly divides the independent support with the president. And that really demonstrates the current tension within the GOP; the battle we've been talking about here at FHQ since Obama claimed victory a year ago. Will Republicans nominate someone in 2012 from a far more conservative background than, say, John McCain, or will efforts be made to make the party's nominee more inviting to independent voters? That continues to be the question as 2009 draws to a close.

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Obama: 51%
Palin: 43%
Undecided: 5%
What's more, this poll from PPP is not without its quirks. [No poll ever is, really.] First, the same bizarre regional disparity that popped up in the polling firm's July poll again reared its head this month. Obama inexplicably swept the South (except for a tie with Ron Paul) again while losing out completely in the midwest. I can foresee the midwest potentially being a problem for Obama in 2012, but there's absolutely no way that the South is vulnerable to Obama inroads; not even if Steve Schmidt's catastrophe occurs. Palin, indeed, proves to be trailing by the largest margin (a distinction shared with Ron Paul), but still loses the South while winning the midwest against the president.

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Obama: 46%
Paul: 38%
Undecided: 16%
If that wasn't enough, Paul actually pulls Obama's support to its lowest level in any of PPP's surveys this year. But is that Ron Paul's impact or is the Texas congressman merely serving, as I asked earlier today, as a proxy for a generic Republican in a hypothetical race against Obama? There are enough undecideds in that match up to raise that question. Independents are not necessarily on board with Paul, but Democrats are least with Obama against Paul than against any other Republican in the survey. As Christian Heinze at GOP12 asked, "Is an Anybody But Obama theme starting to take hold?" Intriguing as that question is, FHQ is almost more interested in a slightly different question: Is an Anybody but Huckabee/Palin/Romney theme starting. Certainly, neither question is being answered very adequately at this point, not in the direct context of the 2012 race anyway. Newt Gingrich, Jeb Bush and especially Tim Pawlenty did not see anywhere near the numbers Paul has in this particular poll. And I say "especially" in Pawlenty's case because he doesn't carry the baggage that Gingrich and Bush carry and is unknown enough to potentially fill the void of generic Republican in a ballot question. But Pawlenty from last month lags well behind Paul's numbers here.

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Obama: 48%
Romney: 43%
Undecided: 9%
All in all, it was another interesting round of numbers from the good folks over in Raleigh. Ron Paul may have earned a spot in next month's poll simply due to his showing here. We'll see.
__________________________
NOTE: And just as a bonus, here's the updated Obama/Gingrich trendline. And no, it isn't so much an update as a reminder that Gingrich has not been polled against Obama since August.

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Recent Posts:
PPP: 2012 Presidential Trial Heats: Huckabee's Still on Top but He's Got Company

Update on GOP Temporary Delegate Selection Committee Meeting

Ex Post Facto: Why Do New Jersey and Virginia Have Those Off-Off Year Elections Anyway?

Friday, November 20, 2009

PPP: 2012 Presidential Trial Heats: Huckabee's Still on Top but He's Got Company

Public Policy Polling [pdf] today released their monthly look at the 2012 presidential playing field. Here's a quick look a the toplines (I'll be back later with a full analysis and updated figures.):

Obama: 49%
Huckabee: 44%
Undecided: 7%

Obama: 51%
Palin: 43%
Undecided: 5%

Obama: 46%
Paul: 38%
Undecided: 16%

Obama: 48%
Romney: 43%
Undecided: 9%

Margin of Error: +/- 3%
Sample: 1066 registered voters (nationwide)
Conducted: November 13-15, 2009

FHQ's biggest question? Is Ron Paul a proxy for a generic Republican candidate? Obama fares worst against the Texas congressman. And remember, this is among registered voters and not likely voters.


Recent Posts:
Update on GOP Temporary Delegate Selection Committee Meeting

Ex Post Facto: Why Do New Jersey and Virginia Have Those Off-Off Year Elections Anyway?

GOP Temporary Delegate Selection Committee Meeting Today

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

CNN 2012 GOP Primary Poll: Huckabee Pulls in Almost a Third of Support

New Addition: FHQ has also now made it easier for you to track the evolution of the 2012 Republican primary trendlines you see below. Just click here or on the link below the latest 2012 update on the left sidebar to see the posts dealing with each of the eleven surveys released thus far.

[Click to Enlarge]

Poll: CNN/Opinion Research
Conducted : Oct. 16-18, 2009
Sample: 1038 adults (nationally), 462 Republicans
Margin of Error: +/- 3% (full sample), +/- 4.5% (Republican sample)

Huckabee: 32%
Palin: 25%
Romney: 21%
Pawlenty: 5%
Someone else: 10%

Notes:
1) Mike Huckabee is the first candidate to top 30% in any of these polls thus far. On top of that, the former Arkansas governor is close to pulling in a third of the (Republican) survey respondents' support and is the most favorable among all respondents.

2) Sarah Palin is the next most favorable, but is also the most unfavorable with over half of all the respondents leaning toward the latter. It would have been nice to have seen the favorables split by party. Still, Palin does the best in this primary poll (25%) as she has done in any such poll since stepping down from the Alaska governorship in late July.

3) Finally, Mitt Romney falls back for the second consecutive poll, but remains the least favorable/unfavorable candidate outside of Tim Pawlenty (a function of nearly half the respondents not knowing who the Minnesota governor is).

And FHQ was going to write Palin off as being a part of that top tier of candidates.


Recent Posts:
State of the Race: New Jersey Governor (10/27/09)

State of the Race: Virginia Governor (10/27/09)

Why the Democratic Change Commission's March 1 Mandate Will Be a Tough Sell Without a Bipartisan Primary Reform Plan

Sunday, October 25, 2009

New 2012 Presidential General Election Trendlines. Now Time Adjusted!

I think we've gotten to a point where we have had enough 2012 trial heat polls out thus far this year to warrant adjusting them for time. To this point FHQ has displayed the polls as if they were equidistant apart, but with Palin v. Obama topping double figures from a number of polls standpoint, the time has come for the figures to take on a more natural look. Below you'll find the trends for...

Newt Gingrich...
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Mike Huckabee...
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Sarah Palin...
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and Mitt Romney.
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Recent Posts:
More Notes on Yesterday's Democratic Change Commission Meeting

Democratic Change Commission Meeting #2: Timing

Gender Gap or Gender Deficit in 2012?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Gender Gap or Gender Deficit in 2012?

For the last few months FHQ has been pointing to an interesting trend in the (admittedly very) early presidential general election trial heats for 2012.* Sarah Palin is faring worse or worst among women against Obama than are her male counterparts (among the small list of prospective Republicans who have been polled against Obama with 2012 in mind). This is curious. There have been pronounced gender differences in vote choice that has varied since around the 1980 election.

More often than not this appears in the form of women supporting Democratic candidates while male votes opt for the Republican alternatives. That partisan angle has certainly been debated within the political science literature, though. Chaney, Alvarez and Nagler (1998--gated), for instance, found evidence that this was not solely a partisan divide but an incumbent/anti-incumbent divide with women being more likely to vote against an incumbent. But we certainly hear more about the fluctuations from presidential election to presidential election in partisan terms: how the gap was lower in 2004 because of so-called "security moms"** and greater again in 2008.

Regardless, the gap puts the Republican Party at something of a disadvantage in some elections more than others. One way the party could hypothetically combat the issue is to run female candidates. Now, we've certainly seen more of this in down-ballot races as opposed to presidential contests. After all, Sarah Palin was just the second woman on a presidential ticket in 2008 and the first Republican. But there's a problem there and McCain campaign manager, Rick Davis, picked up on this. He bemoaned the lack of women running within the party in his comments here at Wake Forest a couple of weeks ago.

Still, the expectation is that if Republicans are able to run women, they'll be able to reduce the, what I'm calling here, total gender deficit*** to some extent (depending upon the gender of their opponent and other state level or national factors). But that hasn't been the case in the 2012 presidential general election polling to date. Sarah Palin has, again, done worse with women against Obama than have her male counterparts.

Let's look at the numbers from the most recent Public Policy Polling survey on the matter (I will at some point in the future aggregate the gender numbers across all the polls where the data is publicly available.). There's clearly a divide between...

Palin...
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...and nationally unknown Pawlenty on the one hand...
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and Huckabee...
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...and Romney on the the other.
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We can set Tim Pawlenty to the side for the moment. He just isn't a known quantity at this point in the game and that really affects his numbers among both women and men. 20% of each responded "not sure" when he was polled against Obama. [But who am I to deprive you of a glance at the figure?] So, let's consider Palin against Huckabee and Romney. The real discrepancy between them isn't the support among women, but that Romney and Huckabee are tied or slightly ahead among men, while Palin lags. Palin is in the same ballpark as Romney and Huckabee against Obama among women (They are all within 5 points of each other.), but again, the surprising thing is that she isn't doing MUCH better with that demographic. And while still in the same vicinity of Romney and Huckabee, she is still bringing up the rear with women voters.

Of course, when we consider the gender gap as it is traditionally measured -- the distance between the winning candidate's share of the vote among men and women -- Palin doesn't do all that poorly. In fact, she ties with Mitt Romney for having the lowest gender gap, while Mike Huckabee maintains the largest gap. The former Arkansas governor's gap is largely attributable to the fact that he loses to Obama with women but beats the president with men.

In the end, the difference between Sarah Palin (new vice presidential nominee) 2008 and Sarah Palin (ex-Alaska governor) 2009 among women is the difference between night and day. She has gone from making a huge difference for the McCain campaign with women (again, see Rick Davis' comments) to trailing among the demographic in hypothetical 2012 match ups with her at the top of the ticket.

UPDATE: Jack raises a great point in the comments. These numbers are a bit quirky because the expectation is that the GOP advantage among men would offset the advantage Democrats have with women. Here, though, only Huckabee is ahead among men. What that means is that there is something of a line to be drawn between the traditional gender gap and what I'm calling the total gender gap here. In this case, it should probably be called the total gender deficit. Here's a more traditional gender gap picture from Gallup in February 2008: a classic McCain vs. Clinton/Obama example. Obama and Clinton were relatively similar among women relative to McCain but the difference was in men. The way I'm calculating this deficit would have had Obama at -1 relative to McCain and Clinton at -9. To some extent this assumes that there is near equal parity between male and female voters in the electorate. I'll have to check on that.

*Again, these are (way too) early polls, and we here at FHQ would normally hold off on putting too much stock in them. However, the consistency of this result in poll after poll leads us to believe there is something to it.

**Of course, the security mom explanation was just one of convenience. There was little to no proof that members of that particular group weren't Bush supporters already. That the gender gap was smaller in 2000 and 2004 may indicate that women comprise many of the undecided swing voters that break evenly among the two major party candidates in a close election.

***The total gender deficit is calculated by adding the difference between President Obama and his prospective Republican opponents among men and women. While the traditional gender gap is relatively similar across the field of Republicans (within a range of 4 to 8 points), that doesn't give us an indication of the discrepancy between how much one gender group is offsetting the other between the parties. Looking at the exit polls from the 2008 election Obama won 56% of women to McCain's 43%. Meanwhile the president edged the Arizona senator by one point (49-48) among men. Obama, then, enjoyed a 7 point gender gap and a 14 point total gender deficit.


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FHQ Friday Fun: One from the Left/One from the Right

Reminder: Democratic Change Commission Meets Tomorrow in Washington

PPP's 2012 Presidential General Election Trial Heats In-Depth

Thursday, October 22, 2009

PPP's 2012 Presidential General Election Trial Heats In-Depth

Well, it appears as if the Bush bias from last month's Public Policy Polling survey of the 2012 presidential election has vanished with the former Florida governor excluded from the list of candidates hypothetically pitted against President Obama. Recall that Jeb Bush was the first candidate asked about in that poll and that may have primed respondents to conjure up memories of the not too distant Bush administration (How long will that last?). With Bush out and Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty in, the numbers for the stable list of candidates (Huckabee, Palin and Romney) returned to form -- or at least to levels that existed in the firm's August glimpse at the 2012 field. And you can see that depicted below. Just compare the August numbers the results released a day ago:
Obama: 47
Huckabee: 43
Undecided: 10

[Click to Enlarge]
Obama: 52
Palin: 40
Undecided: 8

[Click to Enlarge]
Obama: 50
Pawlenty: 30
Undecided: 20

[Click to Enlarge]
Obama: 48
Romney: 40
Undecided: 12

[Click to Enlarge]
Polling Firm: Public Policy Polling
Margin or Error: +/- 3.5%
Sample: 766 likely voters (nationally)
Conducted: October 16-19, 2009
Across the board, then, the three regulars improved this month on their performances against Obama in September. Now, whether that has anything to do with Bush being or not being in the survey questionnaire is certainly up for debate. On the surface, though, it looks as if that may have played a role. Obama's standing has changed little in the last month. The president's approval numbers are in basically the same position with the disapproval level has inched up a notch or so. However, that movement hardly seems to account for the closing of the gap between the president and the three prospective Republican nominees.

What else is there in this poll, though? There have been some quirks in these PPP polls throughout 2009. In July, it was Obama sweeping the South and in August it was the underlying education demographics of the sample. But nothing really jumps out at my after a rather cursory glance at the cross-tabs for October. However, there are some interesting trends in there.

First, the gender gap trend is still present. Palin continues to lag behind her male Republican counterparts relative to Obama among women. But for once someone did worse than the former Alaska governor on that front. Tim Pawlenty came in a whopping -37 on the gender gap measure (-24 with women and -13 with men against Obama) whereas Palin registered a -25 point disadvantage. When you compare that to Huckabee (-8) and Romney (-14), there really appears to be a line of demarcation between this group of candidates. In Pawlenty's defense, the Minnesota governor is dealing with being far more unknown to people than the other candidates and that definitely had an impact on his numbers.

There were also some interesting trends across the various age groups. Obama beat every Republican across every age group, but the patterns were noteworthy. The expectation is that the older the respondent, the more likely they would be to support a Republican candidate. That trend holds for Huckabee and Pawlenty, though the gaps are far greater for Pawlenty. That trend doesn't hold for Romney or Palin, though. In both cases, the former governors trail Obama but do better among the youngest group of voters (18-29) and the oldest group of voters (65+) than they do with the middle two age groups (30-45, 46-65) -- the gaps are smaller anyway.

All in all, an interesting poll. We'll have to see what November brings.


Recent Posts:
State of the Race: New Jersey Governor (10/22/09)

PPP 2012 Presidential Trial Heats: Huckabee's Still Tops

State of the Race: Virginia Governor (10/21/09)

PPP 2012 Presidential Trial Heats: Huckabee's Still Tops

Here's the latest from Public Policy Polling on the 2012 presidential general election trial heats. FHQ will add these as we've got time today. I'm in and out of meetings all day, so the graphs will be up incrementally and the full analysis will follow later.

Obama: 47
Huckabee: 43
Undecided: 10

Obama: 52
Palin: 40
Undecided: 8

Obama: 50
Pawlenty: 30
Undecided: 20

Obama: 48
Romney: 40
Undecided: 12

Polling Firm: Public Policy Polling
Margin or Error: +/- 3.5%
Sample: 766 likely voters
Conducted: October 16-19, 2009


Recent Posts:
State of the Race: Virginia Governor (10/21/09)

Got 2010 Redistricting on the Brain?

State of the Race: New Jersey Governor (10/20/09)

Monday, October 19, 2009

New (Well, Old) Rasmussen 2012 GOP Primary Poll: Huckabee's Tops

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Huckabee: 29%
Romney: 24%
Palin: 18%
Gingrich: 14%
Pawlenty: 4%

Polling Firm: Rasmussen
Margin of Error: +/- 4%
Sample: 750 likely GOP primary voters (nationally)
Conducted: October 15, 2009


Last Friday, Rasmussen released a look at the (very early -- Had to say it.) 2012 Republican presidential nomination race. This is the first such poll in nearly two months -- the head-to-head trial heat polls against President Obama are done more frequently -- but it seems to be showing the same picture with, perhaps, a slightly different spin. First of all, Mike Huckabee has traded positions with Mitt Romney, taking over the top spot for the first time since a July ABC/Washington Post poll had the former Arkansas governor in the lead. Still, we're operating with the same working group of contenders intact.

Or are we?

Though we've had but two polls (this Rasmussen one included) since August showing a widening gap between Sarah Palin and the top threesome, I'm on the verge of saying that there are two lead groups: the Huckabee/Romney group and the Palin/Gingrich group. The former has been consistently in the 20-30% range throughout the polling conducted since the presidential election a year ago. The latter group has been fairly consistently within the low 20% range and lower. Is the former Alaska governor settling into a position in the upper teens now? Only additional polling will tell us that for sure, but I think it is on the table now for consideration. Last week's Gallup numbers on Palin seem to echo this. Granted, that is a national poll of her approval and not a poll of likely Republican primary voters for 2012. Still, Palin has been in a better position overall prior to now.

Is it all bad for the former vice presidential nominee? Well, yeah it is, because she is also getting beaten handily in head-to-head Republican primary match ups against both Huckabee and Romney as well. Here are those numbers (also from the same Rasmussen poll) as well as the Romney/Huckabee trial heat:

Romney: 52%
Palin: 37%
undecided: 11%

Huckabee: 55%
Palin: 35%
undecided: 10%

Romney: 39%
Huckabee: 44%
undecided: 17%

Polling Firm: Rasmussen
Margin of Error: +/- 4%
Sample: 750 likely Republican primary voters
Conducted: October 15, 2009

A couple of notes about these, to me, somewhat strange polls. [The numbers are fine. They make sense, but I'm still trying to figure out why these particular match ups were polled. It just seems strange. But I think FHQ was the one that said it liked the information. Can't have it both ways, FHQ.] First, when Palin isn't among the list of candidates the undecided group shoots up to the high teens from the low double digits. Is that indicative of folks voting for someone other than Palin or just a signal that people are moving toward her? Sure, the temptation is to say that it is probably some of both, but look closely. Romney and Huckabee's numbers stay steady against Palin, but drop in her absence. Is that overwhelming proof that respondents are taking an "anybody but Palin" approach? No, it isn't, but there is some of that in there.

The second caveat contradicts that point, though. If we look at the figure Rasmussen loves to track on a daily basis in his Twitter account and apply it to Palin (and the other Republicans) instead of President Obama, we see that more people strongly favorable of Palin compared to those very unfavorable of her. Now, Obama has been stuck at around -10 in this (approval) rating for a long while, but Palin and the Republicans are a different story (and should be among an entirely Republican sample). The bottom line, though is that Palin is +31 by that metric (strongly favorable - strongly unfavorable). That bests Romney (+30) but pales in comparison to Huckabee's +43 rating. Of course, that there is such a difference between Romney and Huckabee on this measure (while Romney and Palin are close) yet Romney and Huckabee have similar positions relative to Palin likely says that there is some choose "anybody but Palin" activity in this sample.

Now let's see if Rasmussen releases any trial heats against Obama in the next couple of days. Public Policy Polling is set to release their numbers on that front on Thursday.


Recent Posts:
The Week Ahead

State of the Race: New Jersey Governor (10/16/09)

State of the Race: New Jersey Governor (10/15/09)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

2012 Presidential Trial Heats: PPP (Sept. '09)

Let's have a glance at those Public Policy Polling 2012 presidential trial heat numbers from earlier but add in the graphics to give us some context.

[Click to Enlarge]
Obama: 50%
Bush: 37%
Undecided: 13%
Obviously, there is no over time element to the Obama/Bush numbers, but FHQ felt compelled to add some sort of graphic to accompany the former Florida governor's numbers against the president. Other than that, there isn't that much more to say about this head-to-head match up. We will say this, though: Jeb Bush filled in and probably closely matched where Newt Gingrich would have been relative to Obama had the former Speaker been included in the poll this month (both in terms of the numbers and in terms of relative order of the Republican candidates). Still, it was nice to see another name in the mix.

[Click to Enlarge]
Obama: 48%
Huckabee: 41%
Undecided: 11%
It is hard to look at Huckabee's numbers against Obama this year and wonder which recent poll is the anomaly. The former Arkansas governor peaked in last month's PPP poll and then bottomed out in the Clarus Research Group poll in the field almost simultaneously. If you split the difference between those two August polls, you end up with Huckabee at around where he is in September; still trailing Obama but performing better than the other Republicans.

[Click to Enlarge]
Obama: 53%
Palin: 38%
Undecided: 9%
July was a good month for Sarah Palin, but since actually leaving office in the Last Frontier, the 2008 Republican VP nominee has slid in the polls; not just in these 2012 trial heats but in other national polls gauging respondents' perceptions of her favorability. This month is no different, though she is in a better position in the PPP polls versus the aforementioned Clarus poll or the August Marist poll. It seems as if Palin was in a better position when people were talking about her leaving office in Juneau rather than her actually doing it.

[Click to Enlarge]
Obama: 48%
Romney: 39%
Undecided: 13%
Finally, Mitt Romney continues to minimize Barack Obama's reach while simultaneously underperforming Mike Huckabee. Throughout much of the year's polling, Romney has been able to keep Obama under the 50% mark (as has Huckabee), but has struggled to break 40% himself (unlike Huckabee). Republicans (in these polls) just seem more comfortable with Huckabee than Romney at this point.

Notes:
Tom Jensen at PPP speculated that much of the difference in this month's results against August's is attributable to the inclusion of Bush in the poll ( This seems an ideal explanation on its face considering the partisan breakdown underlying both polls was largely similar). The candidates have in the past been listed and tested against Obama alphabetically and that meant that instead of Gingrich being first this month, Bush was. In other words, respondents may have been primed because of Jeb's inclusion to consider the most recent Bush administration when thinking about the general election race in 2012. That ends up being a nice recipe for getting similar results to the electoral outcome from last November.

Obviously, Huckabee continues to fare the best against President Obama in these PPP poll, while Mitt Romney lags in terms of favorability and overall support. The gap between the two is particularly surprising given that both have been rather tightly clustered in the 2012 primary polling that has been done. Again, though, this has been a consistent theme in PPP's 2012 trial heat polling since April.

The other theme that has consistently run throughout PPP's and other polls is that a potential Sarah Palin candidacy does nothing to neutralize the typical (though variable) advantage Democrats have among women. In fact, her male counterparts continue to do better among women nationally than does Palin. But that gap is pretty narrow at this point between the former Alaska governor and Jeb Bush.

One last thing to look at is the candidates' abilities to retain their parties' voters from the 2008 election. In this poll Obama held onto 90% of his 2008 voters, while all four Republicans were only able to keep about three-quarters of 2008 McCain voters. [Huckabee is the exception. He kept 80% of McCain's voters.] Of course, if there was some certainty behind the identity of the Republican nominee for 2012, I suspect that McCain voter retention rate would be higher.


Recent Posts:
PPP 2012 Presidential Poll: Huckabee Still Does Best, but All GOP Candidates Drop Off Against Obama

Tracking Pawlenty for 2012

FHQ Reading Room (9/23/09)

PPP 2012 Presidential Poll: Huckabee Still Does Best, but All GOP Candidates Drop Off Against Obama

Public Policy Polling today released their monthly look at the 2012 presidential terrain. Other than dropping Newt Gingrich this month and replacing him with Jeb Bush, the news is that Obama stretched his advantages relative to all four prospective Republican candidates (versus last month).

Here are the results:
Obama: 50%
Bush: 37%
Undecided: 13%

Obama: 48%
Huckabee: 41%
Undecided: 11%

Obama: 53%
Palin: 38%
Undecided: 9%

Obama: 48%
Romney: 39%
Undecided: 13%
Margin of error: +/- 3.9%
Sample: 621 voters (nationally)
Conducted: 9/18-21/09



Recent Posts:
Tracking Pawlenty for 2012

FHQ Reading Room (9/23/09)

State of the Race: New Jersey Governor (9/22/09)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Arizona in 2012? Still Red.

Public Policy Polling has a new poll out this morning examining the 2012 presidential playing field in Arizona. The idea heading in was that with home-state senator, John McCain, at the top of the Republican ticket in 2008, there was enough of an advantage to offset gains the Democratic Party and Barack Obama were enjoying in other parts of the southwest.

Does that change when McCain is not at the head of the ballot? Not really. McCain won the Grand Canyon state by nine points last November and depending on the candidate, the Republicans retain that lead over Obama. Well, sort of. Obama is tied with Sarah Palin while Huckabee and Romney lead the president by four and seven points, respectively.

Here's the breakdown:
Obama: 45%
Huckabee: 49%

Obama: 43%
Romney: 50%

Obama: 47%
Palin: 47%
The one theme that continues to run throughout these head-to-head polls against Obama is that Sarah Palin continues to lag behind her male counterparts among women. That holds for polls both on the national and state level. Democrats have long carried a fairly sizable advantage among women in elections (dependent upon several other variables as well) and it could certainly be hypothesized that the Republicans could neutralize that by running women for various offices. That may well be the case, but there is no evidence that Sarah Palin is the woman to close that gap. Christian at GOP12 has co-opted this theme (something I've been pointing out throughout the polling conducted so far this year) to some extent, but has done the numbers in terms of the Republicans' (Huckabee, Palin and Romney) favorable/unfavorable ratings. Let's take a moment and look at the raw numbers from a support perspective.
Male
Obama: 44%
Huckabee: 51%

Female
Obama: 46%
Huckabee: 46%

Gender gap: Huckabee +7

Male
Obama: 45%
Palin: 50%

Female
Obama: 49%
Palin: 43%

Gender gap: Palin -1

Male
Obama: 42%
Romney: 53%

Female
Obama: 45%
Romney: 46%

Gender gap: Romney +12
This isn't a national poll and this is a red state, so that explains some of this. We're just dealing with more Republican women. Even then, Palin does worse than do either Huckabee or Romney among women. Romney actually bests Obama there. When the national numbers are released tomorrow, this will definitely be an area to look first.

Other than that, PPP's main motivation in doing this particular poll was to see if the home state effect had worn off without McCain as the GOP standard bearer. The results above show that it has disappeared to some extent. DiSarro, Barber and Rice (2007) examine this very question and find that, on average, presidential candidates will gain just more than five points in their home states relative to other recent candidates (That encompasses all the major party candidates from 1880-2004.). Again, McCain won Arizona 54-45 last November. Subtract five percent from McCain's total and you have the exact same 49-45 breakdown at the Huckabee result above. Romney did a little better and Palin a little worse. It is obviously a bit more involved than that, but on average, the Republican support dropped off by 5.33 points. Most of that difference can be explained by the fact that Obama is holding onto his voters better than the other Republicans are holding onto McCain's. Depending upon which Republican he was up against, Obama lost anywhere from 2-5% of his voters whereas the loss range for the Republicans and McCain voters was 9-10%.

As always, let me close by saying that it is still extremely early to be reading much of anything into any of these polls (Rob has already rightfully pointed this out in the comments section below.). The trend among female voters, though, is one to continue to track. It continues to undermine any potential Palin candidacy.

See also 2012 polling (on the state level) from earlier in the summer in Louisiana, Minnesota, North Carolina and Texas.


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Monday, August 31, 2009

2012 Presidential Trial Heats (Clarus Research Group): Obama vs. Gingrich/Huckabee/Palin/Romney

Last night we looked at the 2012 Republican primary numbers from the recent Clarus Research Group poll. The same poll that found Mitt Romney doing quite well among Republican respondents in the primary setting also found the former Massachusetts governor matching up against Obama the best among the full national sample.*

...but not by much. The Mike Huckabee/Barack Obama pairing was a near mirror image of the Romney/Obama race (Obama's support against Romney was just one percent shy of the president's against Romney's while the two Republicans' shares remained the same). Before we dig too far in, let's look at the toplines:
Obama: 52%
Gingrich: 34%
Not Sure: 15%

Obama: 48%
Huckabee: 38%
Not Sure: 15%

Obama: 53%
Palin: 34%
Not Sure: 13%

Obama: 47%
Romney: 38%
Not Sure: 15%

Margin of error: +/- 3.1%
Sample: 353 Republican voters
Conducted: August 14-18, 2009
[Click to Enlarge]

For Gingrich, this is the worst showing since the May Public Policy Polling survey (the one that had the most representative sample until the August poll). There really isn't that much to say about the former Speaker. He has been polled among the Big Four throughout 2009, but has yet to measure up to the Huckabee/Palin/Romney group either in the primaries or against the president. That certainly doesn't change here.

[Click to Enlarge]

And while Huckabee does drop off compared to the PPP poll in the field nearly simultaneously, the former Arkansas governor emerges with something to hang his hat on. Earlier we discussed how this poll had Huckabee as the clear choice of Republican women in the primary race which is noteworthy with a woman in the race. But that doesn't translate once a Democrat is added to the equation. Now, we would expect the gender gap to continue to focus female support behind the Democrat and male support with the Republican in any prospective 2012 match up and that trend is not broken here. However, we do see that the gap is smaller for Huckabee (-20) and Romney (-18) than it is for Gingrich (-34) and Palin (-37).**

[Click to Enlarge]

Odd as it may seem, this is the continuing trend in this data as of now. Palin is doing worse among women than with men against Obama and has the highest gender gap (relative to the other Republican candidates). And that is striking. What's worse is that the overall gap between Palin and Obama is now wider than it was prior to her resignation. The three August polls conducted pitting the former Alaska governor against Obama, show the governor under 40% and the president above 50%. That wasn't the case after she announced her resignation, but actually having step down (at least at first glance) seems to be the line of demarcation between these poll trends.

[Click to Enlarge]

Meanwhile, Mitt Romney continues to place, if not the closest to Obama (Huckabee has been consistently closer in the PPP polls.), then second closest. And the former Massachusetts governor has been among (along with Huckabee) the candidates who have been able to minimize the amount of support the president garners in these polls.

The biggest pro and con in all of this 2012 trial heat polling is that one firm (Public Policy Polling) has been doing most of the work. That is good for the sake of comparison across polls, but by the same token is subjecting us to the same house effect over and over again. In other words, we're just missing out on the view from other polling outfits. That's why the Obama/Romney tie in the July Rasmussen poll was so surprising; it followed up the PPP polls that showed Romney close, but struggling to break the 40% barrier. Again, the one thing Romney could hang his hat on there, was that he was keeping the president under 50% in many of those polls. And honestly, that's not a very strong hook and the hat is somewhat heavy.

I still have to caution that this is all extremely early in the 2012 cycle. But the trend among women with Sarah Palin included continues to be a noteworthy statistic across all of these polls.

*Please note that the full national sample size was used in the write up of the Republican primary poll last night. That has been corrected. The Republican portion of the sample was comprised of 353 respondents.

**This figure is calculated as the sum of the deficits among women and men for each candidate against President Obama. For example, in a hypothetical match up between Obama and Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty, if the president had a 53-37 advantage among women (-16 for Pawlenty), but the governor had a slight advantage among men, say, 44-42 (+2 for Pawlenty), the gap would be -14 (-16+2).


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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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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

2012 New Hampshire Republican Primary Poll: Romney Up Big

Now Hampshire and Populus Research have a new poll out on the 2012 race in the Republican primary in the Granite state. I'll be interested to see the cross tabs on this one when and if they are released. The gender splits when Sarah Palin has been involved in surveys have been interesting (women moving away from the former Alaska governor in the head to heads against Obama) to say the least. Here are the results:

Romney: 50%
Palin: 17%
Huckabee: 17%
Gingrich: 13%
Pawlenty: 3%

Margin of error: +/- 5 points
Sample: 403 likely Republican primary voters
Conducted: 8/10-11/09

FHQ will have more on this when the full results are made available. At first glance, Romney is getting about half of the McCain support from the 2008 New Hampshire primary (if this poll is representative) to get to 50%. Despite the commanding lead, that seems a low amount for Romney to be pulling from McCain supporters (even if on the surface).

Hat tip to Pollster for the link.


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Rick Santorum for President? ...and Romney in Iowa

How many social conservative presidential candidates does it take to hand Mitt Romney the 2012 Republican presidential nomination?

Palin

Huckabee

Santorum

The 2012 primary calendar, if it remains similar to 2008, sets up nicely for Romney. Stay in the top three in Iowa, win New Hampshire, win Nevada, keep it close in South Carolina and win in Florida before Super Tuesday and that is likely good enough to put Romney over the top. That's a classic frontrunner's path to the nomination.

Now, none of the above three folks have thrown their hats in the 2012 ring, but let's assume for a minute that all three and Mitt Romney are in. You never know what Sarah Palin is going to do, Huckabee, I think, will opt for another go of it unless he continues to struggle with the financial end of the campaign, and Rick Santorum is off to Iowa for some speaking commitments this fall. I don't know, but if those three announce that they intend to seek the Republican presidential nomination, Romney may be able to win the Iowa caucuses and not look back.

I've mentioned the idea that Palin and Huckabee could split the social conservative vote in Iowa and help Romney win, but if Santorum is in, it seems a social conservative split and Romney win could become a more likely scenario. Huckabee's already a proven commodity in the Hawkeye state after having won the caucuses in 2008, and Palin is a known quantity, but what about Santorum? Doesn't he have also-ran written all over him after losing his reelection bid to his Pennsylvania Senate seat in 2006? Well, yeah. The former senator doesn't even register on this Palin-less version of the 2012 Candidate Tracker:

[Click to Enlarge]

However, Santorum strikes me as someone who is outspoken enough on issues important to social conservatives (abortion and gay marriage especially) to pull in a fervent following in the Hawkeye state. He'd be more Ron Paul than Duncan Hunter in 2008 for instance. This is, after all, someone Glenn Beck called a "Winston Churchill type" in a February 2008 interview with NPR. There is something there, but it remains to be seen whether a Santorum candidacy is one that would be able to catch on.

Regardless of whether Santorum announces his candidacy and/or draws some interest in such a capacity, let's take a closer look at Iowa in 2012. Romney received a quarter of the vote in Iowa in 2008 and was polling around that mark ahead of the caucuses as well. It is unlikely that Romney keeps all of those voters in 2012, but if he comes in as the frontrunner, caucusgoers may be more willing to give him a look. Plus, McCain's share of the vote from 2008 (13%) will be up for grabs as well and those voters will be more likely to move toward Romney than any of the two or three social conservatives. Let's assume that Romney retains 90% of his 2008 vote but that is offset by a "frontrunner bonus." On top of that let's make the modest assumption that Romney pulls in three-quarters of the McCain/Giuliani share of the 2008 Iowa vote. That would net the former Massachusetts governor an additional 12%. That puts Romney at 37%, leaving just 63% for the social conservative candidates to split. Add in Pawlenty and the other candidates likely to enter the race and the math becomes difficult to overcome. If the field is crowded -- and it likely will be -- then 35% will likely be more than enough to win the caucuses.

One thing we've yet to mention, though, is turnout. If Republicans are motivated, then turnout is likely to exceed the levels from 2008. And of course that throws a wrench into the calculations above. No matter what turnout looks like, however, if there is a crowded social conservative field, the product is going to be watered down and the likelihood of Romney slipping in the back door and winning increases.

I think Santorum's reception in Iowa is worth keeping tabs on.


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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

FOX Poll: 2012 GOP Primary--The Romney/Huckabee Dead Heat Continues

Yesterday, Fox released an update of their May survey on the 2012 Republican presidential primary field. Here are the numbers of interest:

Romney: 22%
Huckabee: 21%
Palin: 17%
Giuliani: 13%
Gingrich: 9%
J. Bush: 1%
Pawlenty: 1%
Sanford: 0%
Other: 1%
Too early: 10%

Margin of error: +/- 6 points
Sample: 303 Republicans (national)
Conducted: July 21-22, 2009



[Click to Enlarge]

There's nothing shocking about these results. As most of these polls have demonstrated, Romney, Huckabee and Palin lead the pack. However, we can also glean from the inclusion of Giuliani among the list of candidates, that name recognition probably matters an awful lot. The former New York mayor and Newt Gingrich are below the trio at the top, but above some of the lesser-known candidates and those named Bush. As I've continued to say, there are some well-formed options at the top, but some of the other options are not as well-defined at this point. Tim Pawlenty seems to be signaling a presidential run both by not seeking a third term as Minnesota's governor and by assuming the vice chair position within the Republican Governors Association. I suspect we'll see Pawlenty's name rise over the course of the next couple of years.

Everyone else is stationary for the most part since the May poll by Fox. Interestingly, those responding that it is too early to tell rose from 7% to 10%.


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Friday, July 24, 2009

Oops! A 2012 GOP Primary Poll FHQ Missed and Another Rant on the Over-Interpretation of These Polls

Home renovations like the ones FHQ did in mid-May can put a damper on your 2012 poll-watching in a heartbeat. And apparently my blogger-turned-handyman days caused me to miss one of the 2012 GOP primary poll conducted by FOX [pdf] during that period.

Excuses, excuses.

Anyway a hearty thank you to GOP12 via CQ PollTracker via GOP12 for the belated heads up. For the record, here are the particulars:

Huckabee: 20%
Romney: 18%
Gingrich: 14%
Palin: 13%
Giuliani: 12%
Sanford: 4%
Bush: 3%
Jindal: 3%

Margin of Error: +/- 3 points (+/- 6 points among Republicans)
Sample: 900 registered voters (274 Republicans)
Conducted: May 12-13, 2009

I'll skip the analysis and leave it at this: This is the only primary poll thus far that does not have Palin clustered at the top with Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee; well above everyone else. [And yes, how quaint. Mark Sanford was included -- pre-Argentina.]

Sadly, with Giuliani and Sanford now tacked onto the list of candidates, the key took up too much room and the color scheme Google Docs provided was repetitive and confusing. In sum, that was not really a workable order. The key is now gone from the figure and the names are added nearby the lines or points they correspond to. Most of the color issues were moot once I withheld the "other" line. It matched nearly identically the color given to Jindal's data. The other change is that I've added in the element of time. Everyday is accounted for in the series now so that it doesn't appear as if each poll is equidistant from the next.

Here's the trend updated through today:

[Click to Enlarge]

[If you find anything about the above graph confusing still, please let me know in the comments section.]

----

Before I close, I did want to mention one other issue with this FOX poll and the poll ABC and the Washington Post released this morning. In each case, we are talking about a 2012 primary question that is based on the responses of less than 300 Republicans (and/or Republican-leaning independents) nationally. When the goal is 1000, less than 300 respondents has the effect of REALLY ramping up the margin of error. In the process, the representativeness of the poll is made all the more questionable for something that is already well in advance of primary season (or even the competitive tail end of the invisible primary for that matter). As I've said recently, I like seeing these numbers and I enjoy seeing the trends, but these things absolutely have to be taken with a grain of salt. And occasionally I like to fold in some discussion of fundraising or organization, but I try to avoid claims like these at all costs. To assert that Huckabee leads this race or that it is beneficial for Romney to "draft" behind Huckabee is patently ridiculous. Given the margins in the polls conducted so far, Romney and Huckabee are tied (with Sarah Palin). Now, it could be that the perception that Huckabee is ahead is helpful to Romney in that "everyone else" is gunning for the former Arkansas governor and not Romney, but still. Let's just watch these numbers come in and not over-interpret them.

Please.


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ABC/WaPo Poll: 2012 GOP Primary--Huckabee Back on Top, but...

ABC News and Washington Post have a new poll out that the blogosphere is jumping on to trumpet the decline of Sarah Palin's favorability. Yeah, FHQ won't be jumping on that bandwagon, but we will discuss the 2012 Republican primary question that was nestled deep in the results. [For the record, the Palin numbers reflect opinion of her among folks of all partisan stripes. The Republican ones are the only ones that really matter at the moment.] Yes, the usual cast of characters are represented,* but I like the fact that the names of prospective GOP candidates whose names were volunteered (not on the list of candidates named) were included in the results as well. Among that group -- which included Charlie Crist, Bobby Jindal, John Thune and other -- Jindal did the best, pulling in about 2% among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents. Both Crist and Thune garnered less than a percentage point each.

Here are the results:

Huckabee: 26%
Romney: 21%
Palin: 19%
Gingrich: 10%
Pawlenty: 4%
Bush: 3%
Jindal: 2%
Barbour: 1%
Thune: less than 1%
Crist: less than 0.5%

Margin of error: +/- 3.5 points
Sample: 1001 adults
approx. 292 Republicans and Republican-leaning independents
Conducted: July 15-18, 2009

[Click to Enlarge]

First of all, this figure is getting a touch messy with the inclusion of Thune and Crist. Even still, the same pattern we've seen in these polls reemerges here: the Huckabee/Palin/Romney trio continue to be clustered relatively close together, outpacing all other possible candidates. [And it should be noted that that pattern surfaces with just 292 GOP/GOP-leaning respondents nationally. So take this poll with an extra grain of salt -- this question at least. The margin of error among that portion of the sample is likely pretty high.] It just so happens that the former Arkansas governor is getting another turn at the top.

I wouldn't read too much into Huckabee's showing (or anyone else for that matter), but I will take the opportunity to say that if last year's delegate runner-up for the GOP nomination is serious about a repeat bid in 2012, he is going to have to get a move on. From a polling perspective, he's fine, but financially he's quickly falling off the pace being set by his leading counterparts' political action committees. Both Romney's Free and Strong America PAC and Palin's SarahPAC are doing quite well in the first half of 2009. Huckabee, on the other hand, has yet to report any numbers for his Huck PAC, and that fact in conjunction with the news that the PAC is undergoing some restructuring, is a troubling start.

Again, this is all extremely early. As John McCain demonstrated during the 2008 cycle, campaign restructuring and dire financial straits aren't necessarily dealbreakers. However, 2012 won't be 2008 for the Republicans. They are facing an incumbent Democrat in the White House and will likely be looking for someone who has some gravitas among the elites within the party and an ability to raise funds and lots of them. Romney meets both those criteria the best at the moment. Palin lacks the internal party connections and Huckabee trails on both fronts.

The main question now is whether 2012 will be like 1996 or 2000 for the Republican Party. Will they have a fairly active primary campaign like in 1996 or will most of the party quickly coalesce around a candidate as in 2000? Part of the problem of assessing that question is that we have reached something of a crossroads on the divisive primaries/parties question. The pre-2008 thinking was that the quicker you line up behind someone (thus avoiding drawn-out divisiveness), the better your chances are in the general election. Post-2008, though, the thinking is slightly different. Can a drawn-out, yet not personally divisive nomination battle actually help a parties nominee from an organizational standpoint? Obama's narrow electoral college wins in Indiana and North Carolina are often cited as evidence that the primary campaign organization helped in the general election.

My (two and a half years in advance) guess is that the GOP may pay some lip service to the organizational idea, but will ultimately make a quick decision on the 2012 nomination. And I should note that I've been talking about this as if the party has complete control over this. They don't. Conditions have a large say in the matter. Democratic primary and caucus voters were evenly divided in 2008, but Republican voters may not follow suit in 2012. That potential is there (Palin grassroots vs. Romney establishment, for example), but, as I said, I think it is more likely that a consensus forms around one candidate. If the GOP elite signal in a way similar to 2000 with Bush, that they are solidly behind one candidate, then it will be difficult for anyone to disrupt the inevitability story.

All that from a poll of 292 Republicans and independents leaning Republican? Yeah, I know.

*The list of candidates included Haley Barbour, Jeb Bush, Newt Gingrich, Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin, Tim Pawlenty and Mitt Romney.


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