Monday, October 31, 2011

Public Policy Polling: Newt is the second choice among Cain supporters

PPP teased their Maine and North Carolina polls today on Twitter. The takeaway: "Both our weekend polls suggest Newt would benefit from Cain implosion." (Another takeaway: Perry is under water -- more Republicans view him unfavorably than favorably -- in both states.)

In Maine, Cain's supporters second choice is: "Gingrich 26, Romney 17, Perry 15."

In North Carolina, they are: "Gingrich 29, Romney 16, Perry 15, Bachmann 10, Paul 8."

They didn't say what Cain's numbers in Maine will be, but in North Carolina, he is (was anyway) at 30%.

Based on previous polls, about 70% of Cain's supporters are not strongly committed to him. Let's say all 70% leave Cain, and they divide up just as PPP's numbers suggest.

That alone would give Newt a six point boost. To show what I mean, let's use the North Carolina poll from early October. (Cain was at 27 then, so we can guess that Newt is at about the same level, and he was at 17.)

If the 70% who are soft commits for Cain leave and divide up as the current poll says they would, here is what the rest of the field would look like in North Carolina (and remember, this is purely hypothetical):
Newt: 23%
Romney: 20%
Perry: 18%
Cain: 9%
Bachmann: 8%
Now, who knows how it might actually work. Cain might not collapse -- but I suspect he will, if not for the allegations in the Politico story (which are an unknown, in terms of both substance and polling impact at this moment) then for his abortion comments or his lack of knowledge on foreign policy and other issues.

His supporters might leave him at even greater numbers if his campaign looks like a lost cause and they decide their main goal is to stop from nominating the moderate/liberal Republican Romney. Bachmann's supporters might do the same, as her campaign is having trouble in several areas.

I'll stop with hypotheticals and fortune telling. But I hope it gave a general idea on how the race would look if that scenario occurred.

When the full polls are released (probably tomorrow), I'll post them and an analysis here.

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