Wednesday, June 1, 2011

My take on today's Iowa poll by PPP

Public Policy Polling (PPP) released a new survey today of Iowa Republican voters.

Back in April, Newt was at 9%, good for fourth. Today he was at 12%, which is still fourth place. (One thing that is interesting, and goes against the media's "conventional wisdom, is that 21% of those polled have not formed an opinion of Newt, which is higher than both Sarah Palin (by 10 points) and Mitt Romney (by 6 points).

If Sarah Palin does not run, Newt's support rises to 15%, moving him to third.

Truthfully, however, there is no clear order after Mitt Romney. With Palin out of the race, it would probably be more accurate to say that the next three -- Hermain Cain, Newt, and Michelle Bachmann -- are tied for second. If Palin runs, the hierarchy is a little more clear but still muddled.

With Palin:
Romney: 21%
Cain: 15%
Palin: 15%
Gingrich: 12%
Bachmann: 11%
Pawlenty: 10%
Paul: 8%
Undecided: 8%
Without Palin:
Romney: 26%
Cain: 16%
Gingrich: 15%
Bachmann: 14%
Paul: 11%
Pawlenty: 10%
Undecided: 8%
While Romney is the frontrunner now, it is to be seen if his poll numbers will erode should he choose to, if not altogether skip Iowa, then downplay the first contest. Another factor is how much a drag Romneycare will be on him once more voters become aware of it.

The Ames Straw Poll on August 13 will be the first big test of the different campaigns' ability to organize their supporters. And in that regard, Newt -- according to both Craig Robinson and Kevin Hall of The Iowa Republican -- is at the top.

Hall, on May 23, wrote: "The other presidential candidates would love to be able to draw crowds the way Gingrich did last week."

Robinson, back in April, had this to say: "That story went out the window when nearly 200 people showed up on a Friday night to see a documentary that has played on FOX News numerous times. Turning out that kind of crowd on a Friday night in downtown Des Moines was impressive. It was also something most other potential 2012 candidate have yet to do in Iowa."

Robinson also wrote that if Newt can "meet or exceed expectations" at the Ames Straw Poll, "he could use the numerous debates that follow to propel his campaign to a victory in Iowa and elsewhere."

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