Thursday, March 10, 2011

Another piece of evidence that PPP is wrong about Newt's chances

Yesterday, I criticized Public Policy Polling'a analysis that said Newt had no path to the Republican nomination.

Their argument was that Newt had peaked in the polls because everyone knew who he was already, and so had no room for growth. I largely agreed with the point that he had very high name identification, but argued that Newt could persuade -- based on focus groups -- many people who may not be supporters at this moment.

A Reuters/Ipsos poll released today puts another hole in PPP's case: it shows that 27% of the overall voting population -- not just Republican primary voters -- do not have an opinion of Newt. That is good news, even if his favorability/unfavorablity rating is negative, at 35-38.

If a person does not have a negative opinion of Newt -- after nearly twenty years of getting badgered in the national press -- then chances are they will not easily form a negative one of him.

If Newt simply broke even on the rest of the electorate, he would have 48-49% support. If the persuasion skills shown in those focus groups hold up, however, he could easily get into the low-to-mid 50s. And of course not every person in the 38% has a very strong negative opinion, meaning they could be brought over as well.

So once again, no one is arguing that Newt is the leader right now, which is the strawman that PPP seems to be attempting to slay. His path to the nomination -- and eventually a general election victory -- is building onto his established core support with enough of the undecided vote and those who have soft negative opinions of him.

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