Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Can you spot the outlier in the recent Iowa polls?

A lot of attention was paid to the Public Policy Polling poll released Tuesday that showed Iowa tightening considerably, with Newt at 22 and Ron Paul at 21.

However, the media -- so willing to jump on any poll that shows Newt slipping -- ignores that this poll appears to be an outlier at this moment.

Another poll was released Tuesday afternoon that showed Newt at 27 and Paul at 17. And surprise, that poll received a tiny fraction of the coverage the PPP one did.

An analysis by Neil Stevens of gives a good explanation on why PPP -- a very reliable polling firm -- is likely way off on this poll. They are including independents and Democrats in their poll.

Every time, and I mean every time, I bring up the fact that the Iowa Caucuses are closed [meaning only Republicans can vote in the GOP Caucuses], the reply is that “You can register up to the day of the caucuses to participate.” That’s true. But if Paul is not able to motivate his supporters to register, and if his people aren’t actually committed to caucus for Paul, then his support is soft, and isn’t going to show up.
So while these independents and Democrats are telling a pollster they would support Paul, they have to be considered pretty unlikely to turn out on January 3rd and vote for Paul.

What does the poll look like if only Republicans are included?

Newt 25. Paul 17.

Remember what the other Iowa poll from Tuesday looked like: Newt 27. Paul 17. Looks kinda similar, doesn't it?

And the average of Iowa polls from the past week: Newt 29, Romney 17, Paul 16.

So even though it's inconvenient for the media -- which wants to report about Newt falling more than anything -- the Public Policy Polling survey looks way out of whack with other Iowa polls.

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