Jan 27 2012

Romney Really Pulling Ahead In Some Polls

Published by at 10:14 am under 2012 Elections,All General Discussions

Finally, we have real data showing a shift to Romney. Both Quinnipiac and Rasmussen show a clear trend in the data (comparing polls from the same pollsters over time – apples to apples). Prior claims of a shift, as I noted previously, were not correct – just lucky.

So it looks like Newt is losing some ground. But how much?

Impossible to say because all these polls are all based on unreliable turn out models for “Republican likely voters in Florida”. How you define that class of poll responders depends on how accurate your poll is.

And how you typically determine the voter pool for any primary election is using historical turn out data. Which will not work this year.

Right now it is safe to assume Romney could win, but I would not lay more than a dime on the line for it. Because this election is not typical of past Florida primaries on many fronts.

First off, we still have the 2010 insurgent voter out there. This can be seen in the fact that the current GOP voters in Florida are not the same ones from 4 years ago:

Republicans have narrowed the Democrats’ registration edge in Florida since November 2008, when Barack Obama carried the state. And with the Jan. 31 primary still nearly two weeks away, more than 446,000 Florida Republicans have requested absentee ballots — far exceeding the 307,744 absentee requests for the 2008 GOP primary.

Figures released by the Division of Elections today show Florida has 11.2 million voters, with 40.5 percent registered as Democrats and about 36.2 percent as Republicans. The gap of 4.3 percentage points between Democratic and Republican registrations compares to a 5.8-point gap that favored Democrats heading into the 2008 presidential election.

“The gap is closing due to the enthusiasm people have to oust Obama,” says Republican Party of Florida spokesman Brian Hughes. “People are hurting. The economy is turning around in Florida, but slowly, and they see at the national stage there’s not enough momentum and they’re ready for a change in leadership.”

This means the voter models used by pollsters are likely not accurate to what the turn out will be Tuesday. How many of these new registrants are insurgent voters who have no history of voting in Florida Primaries but took the time to register since Obama took office? My guess is this new GOP voter is likely to fail the ‘likely voter’ screens. They have no history of voting.

This is what caused many to underestimate the 2010 backlash wave. The mood of the electorate was so energized it defied all historical trends. This is the Achilles’ Heel of polls – they rely on stability in the voter pool to bring confidence to their turnout models.

The second big change for Florida is their role as kingmaker. Florida moved their primary date up again this cycle (cutting their delegates from 99 to 50, with no super delegates) to move off of one of the Super Tuesdays. One thing is true, if voters don’t feel their vote counts, they don’t take the time to vote. Florida has never been in this position, where their vote will make a huge difference in who takes on Obama. So voters are going to come out in historic numbers (like they did in SC).

This ALSO destroys turn out models. Primaries are the most volatile of elections to gauge in terms of turn out, since for Presidents seeking a 2nd term their party primary is a fate compli. This means half the historic record is inaccurate from the beginning.

Given the completely unique political environment we have today, a surge in GOP voter ranks in Florida and a primary that actually matters forget the turn out models in these polls. If their statistical Margin of Error is 3-4%, their actual margin of error due to turn out model uncertainties could range from 5-10%.

Be prepared to be surprised.

Update: Hot Air poses a question with some answers:

And with another day we get another fresh round of polling showing one of two things: either the good citizens of Florida are prone to fits of multiple personality disorder or the pollsters are just having some fun with us.

Or, the Florida race is unmeasurable by pollsters for the reasons I gave above.

Addendum: Watch for one other phenomena that might arise. The Santorum and Paul voters may realize their only hope of stopping Romney (and RomneyCare) is to get with Newt. If the vote is to stop the establishment at all costs, this could easily happen. In some polls 30+% are open to changing their minds. In SC that late deciders broke to Newt in a wave. Paul has been signalling he has not interest in the White House any more, so his supporters should shift to someone more viable given the meaning of this race.

42 responses so far

42 Responses to “Romney Really Pulling Ahead In Some Polls”

  1. oneal lane says:

    In the 2006 congressional elections many Conservatives did not vote to “send a message” to the GOP. In came the wave of democrats that gave you Obamacare.

    In 2008 many Conservatives again stayed at home or voted for Obama to “send a message” to the GOP. In came Obama!

    In 2010 Conservatives voted in waves for Tea Party insurgents to “send a message to the GOP” No, they did not listen!

    Many of you good folk here are planning to stay away if “your candidate” is not the one on the ballot against Obama. Folks that is just not wise. You just do not always get what you want.

    Now I am not a fan of Newt or Romney, but please either one is better than Obama!

  2. Layman1 says:


    I’d like to hear your perspective on Santorum. I think he’s dome well in the debates and has been the guy who has stuck to the issues the most. Yet to me he just doesn’t seem “Presidential”. He’s like my nice guy next-door neighbor. I don’t know if its a lack of charisma or physical stature, or what. Maybe its the fact that he worked 4 years in the private sector before embarking on the path to become a career politician. I’m not sure what it is but there’s no wow factor there and I don’t know what he can do to generate it. Thoughts?

  3. oneal lane says:


    I fell the same way. He is a nice guy and would probably make a great President. I do not know why he is not rising in the polls, but then again, he is just comes off as “bland” Whatever “IT” is, in the charisma department, he does not have “IT”.

    Unfortunate, because we need him badly!

  4. AJStrata says:

    Santorum has been winning the debates recently, and of the 4 I like him the best. If he could stay off the social issue nonsense he would have been in the lead.

    When he talks limiting contraception, his issues with gays (he is more bothered than the average voter) and is ridiculous comment all illegal aliens steal identities he loses support.

    But of the 4, he would be least bad.

  5. Holmes says:

    Two must go to sites for refutation of the lies and propaganda against Newt are Legal Insurrection and Riehl World View. Rush has had a lot to say about the dishonorable attacks on Newt as well. Unfortunately, based on the polls it looks like the attacks are working.

    AJ, I hope you are right about the polling and Newt is able to win Florida.

  6. Redteam says:

    I’ve heard and read this statement so many times:

    “Yet to me he just doesn’t seem “Presidential”.

    For the record, the day Obama became president, all the standards changed. There is no such thing as ‘presidential’ any longer.
    When a socialist communist muslim is occupying the oval office there is not many places to go but up.

    But Santorum would make an excellent president, presidential or not.

  7. AJStrata says:

    Holmes, I honestly do not know if Newt will win. I do know the polls are very inaccurate at the moment (just look at the ranges each day)

  8. WWS says:

    Santorum’s performances have been impressive, and he’s made a very good showing of himself. His problem is that he doesn’t have the bankroll to stay in the race. Romney, of course, has his own personal fortune to rely on, and Newt has Sheldon Adelson, who has personally committed $6 million just to buy airtime for Newt in Florida. Santorum isn’t even on the same playing field as either of them because of this, and it’s a shame.

    Ron Paul is in until the convention, no matter what his vote totals do. And most of his supporters will probably drop out completely before they vote for anyone else. (basing that on the hard core Ron Paul supporters I know personally)

    “Watch for one other phenomena that might arise. The Santorum and Paul voters may realize their only hope of stopping Romney (and RomneyCare) is to get with Newt.”

    the assumption this rests on is that all Santorum and Paul voters (who don’t choose to just drop out) prefer Gingrich to Romney, but that’s not necessarily true. I recall a poll* a couple weeks ago that showed the second choice of the various candidates supporters was more evenly split, with some preferring Romney, some preferring Gingrich. If this is the case, Santorum leaving the chase will boost each candidates overall totals but not their relative positions.

    *allow me to reiterate my belief that this race is too fluid for any polls to have much meaning at this point, and I only reference them to point out the possibility that they might have some validity.

  9. Klimt says:

    People who are putting their money where there mouth is favor Romney to win Florida with 90% odds — i.e., over at intrade. Newt needs a miracle. Best of luck to him and his supporters. The winner of Florida will be the nominee.

  10. Frogg1 says:

    It will be interesting to see what happens in Florida. Polling, establishment backing, and ground game seem to favor Romney right now. However, the fact that polling can shift so dramatically from one day to the next indicates it is all so fluid. I would lean to a Romney victory if I had to guess; however, I think it may be closer than projected. I’m also not sure what that enthusiasm gap means. I heard it on a radio report today (and posted it in the prior thread). If Romney is leading by so much…..why are thousands attending Newt events, and only 200 attending Romney events? The radio report said Newts attendees were the beer drinking, blue collar, populist types….and the Romney attendees were the wine drinking, more elitist types. That enthusiasm gap is the only factor that makes me step back and wonder if a Romney victory is really a sure thing.

  11. Mike M. says:

    I have to agree with AJ.

    Santorum is cutting his own throat with the social conserative platform. There are a lot of people who just don’t want the government in their business.

    On the other hand, he’s in a good position to emerge as the Last Man Standing after Gingrich and Romney pound each other.

    I will say one thing. I think this brawl is a Good Thing. Whoever the nominee is will have all the arguments that can be trotted out against him already on the table…and will have already beaten them.

  12. penguin2 says:

    While Newt certainly wasn’t my first couple of choices, I certainly find him likeable over Romney. The hit job done on him, by those of the Establishment along with Romney’s millions have really riled me up. There should be a backlash. Period. I deleted The Drudge Report from my bookmarks. Drudge clearly isn’t just giving newsworthy links (all one-sided!!) but pushing for Romney by using Alinsky style tactics and taking out the opposition. He helped with getting Cain and Perry out. First, by reporting the negatives, and then pure blackout, especially with Perry, who certainly had much improved debate performances for at least 10 debates.

    I agree with you all above, about Santorum. I’m a social conservative, but not an extremist or intolerance. And he just doesn’t come across as a leader, no offense. But there needs to be more there, and he fell too easily into the government can/should do stuff in Pennsylvania.

  13. […] …, Sunshine State News, Washington Post, Firedoglake, Don Surber, Florida Times Union, The Strata-Sphere, The Moderate Voice, The Other McCain, American Spectator, Presidential Power, Hot Air, Mail […]

  14. Redteam says:

    Penguin, I will agree that Drudge has gotten into the tank for Romney.

  15. Layman1 says:

    Now that Drudge has refused to take the purity pledge he must be must be purged. Get the torches and the pitch forks and let’s march on his domain and burn it to the ground! Yeah!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  16. Layman1 says:

    Same strategy as the AGM supporters. Shoot the messenger, deny the charges have any validity, undermine and ostracize your opponent. And you’re talking about Alinsky style tactics???

    Folks, please take a breath and calm down. Drudge reports the news. The attacks on Newt are news, like it or not. And the reason they are news…drumroll…. wait for it… because… Newt has made it news!

    Newt has staked a claim to the mantle of Reagan. Newt has presented his campaign as that of “a Reagan conservative versus a Massachusetts moderate…” Therefore any time in the past where Newt bad mouthed Reagan it is relevant and newsworthy. Now if Newt has been misquoted or taken out of context then you can call it dirty politics – and it is up to Newt to counter with the truth. But to expect Drudge to ignore it because you like Newt and it doesn’t portray Newt in a good light… isn’t that the same thing the MSM did with Obama and Reverend Wright???

  17. dhunter says:


    At this point one mans stands between nominating a despicable liar who is not even a Republican and his establishment Good Old Party Progressives. NEWT!

    The Bush, McCain , Dole, McConnell, wing of the party have hitched their wagon to a rich guy the Rats will tear to sheds with their class warfare and tax raising on the rich MO.
    Romney has been shown to say and do anything to his opponents to win and it started way before NEWT!
    THINK FLORIDA as an Iowa resident I know you are being bombarded 24/7 with lies and half truths from a dishonest candidate that will lose to Obama.

  18. penguin2 says:

    Actually, Layman1, it isn’t a matter of liking Newt, or just shooting the messenger. I’ll choose Newt over Romney if that the final two it comes down to. It is a matter of principle to see that every seedy and ingenuous article and edited headline by Drudge was meant to be leave a negative impression of him. Considering that Romney has lots of baggage and hardly any of that is appearing, (after all, people are writing negative articles about him), Drudge appears to miss seeing those.

    It’s called yellow journalism, and no one is shooting the messenger. I don’t care for people who deliberately try to destroy another to further their candidate or their agenda. For every garbage sensationalist headline and article Drudge posted there was a positive one somewhere else, written by decent and credible people who defended Newt. Running the trash from the witch Nancy Pelosi, again, that makes him a sensationalist with an agenda, not a news source site. We’re not all stupid.

  19. Layman1 says:

    I haven’t got time to go back and do the archive searches but Drudge has had all kinds of headlines and links to articles negative about Romney. Just a week or so ago he had a banner headline trumpeting Romney’s Cayman Island investments.

    I agree we’re not all stupid. Its just that some of us seem incapable of remembering things more than a week or so in the past, especially when it fits our narrative if we are forgetful.