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Pre-Caucus Polls Indicate Inconsistency

As Tuesday’s Caucus approach, I thought it appropriate to conduct a comparative analysis of the differences in agenda-driven poll results in Iowa.  While the media downplays the importance of the Iowa caucus, it has been right in predicting the eventual nominee about 50% of the time over the past 30 years.

For example, Rasmussen (considered right leaning) and PPP (considered left leaning), have maintained completely opposite numbers throughout the duration of the five months.

Rasmussen
August 4: Bachmann 23%
August 31: Perry 29%
October 19: Cain 28%
November 15: Gingrich 32%
December 13: Romney 23%
December 19: Romney 25%

PPP
August 21: Perry 21%
October 10: Cain 30%
December 5: Gingrich 27%
December 13: Gingrich 22%

So, the question begs to be asked: who’s correct?  And which poll, if either, will accurately predict the winner of this year’s caucus?  Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comment box.

For the analytical minds out there, here are the complete poll results for Rasmussen, PPP, and CNN:

August 4, 2011 Rasmussen took a survey of 627 likely Iowa Republican Caucus participants. The margin of error is +/- 4 percentage points.

Michele Bachmann 23%
Mitt Romney 21%
Ron Paul 16%
Rick Perry 12%
Tim Pawlenty 11%
Newt Gingrich 5%
Herman Cain 4%
Jon Huntsman 2%
Some other candidate 7%

August 31, 2011 Rasmussen took a survey of 862 likely Iowa Republican Caucus participants. The margin of error is +/- 3 percentage points.

Rick Perry 29%
Michele Bachmann 18%
Mitt Romney 17%
Ron Paul 14%
Rick Santorum 4%
Herman Cain 4%
Jon Huntsman 3%
Newt Gingrich 2%

October 19, 2011 Rasmussen took a survey of 800 likely Iowa Republican Caucus participants. The margin of error is +/- 4 percentage points.

Herman Cain 28%
Mitt Romney 21%
Ron Paul 10%
Newt Gingrich 9%
Michele Bachmann 8%
Rick Perry 7%
Rick Santorum 4%
Jon Huntsman 2%

November 15, 2011 Rasmussen took a survey of 700 likely Iowa Republican Caucus participants. The margin of error is +/- 4 percentage points.

Newt Gingrich 32%
Mitt Romney 19%
Herman Cain 13%
Ron Paul 10%
Michele Bachmann 6%
Rick Perry 6%
Rick Santorum 5%
Jon Huntsman 2%

December 13, 2011 Rasmussen took a survey of 750 likely Iowa Republican Caucus participants.  The margin of error is +/- 4 percentage points.

Mitt Romney 23%
Newt Gingrich 20%
Ron Paul 18%
Rick Perry 10%
Michele Bachmann 9%
Rick Santorum 6%
Jon Huntsman 5%

December 19, 2011 Rasmussen took a survey of 750 likely Iowa Republican Caucus participants. The margin of error is +/- 4 percentage points.

Mitt Romney 25%
Ron Paul 20%
Newt Gingrich 17%
Rick Perry 10%
Rick Santorum 10%
Michele Bachmann 6%
Jon Huntsman 4%

——–

August 21, 2011 PPP took a survey of 317 usual Iowa Republican primary voters. The margin of error is +/- 5.5 percentage points.

Rick Perry 21%
Mitt Romney 18%
Michele Bachmann 15%
Ron Paul 12%
Sarah Palin 10%
Newt Gingrich 7%
Herman Cain 6%
Rick Santorum 5%
Jon Huntsman 3%
Someone Else/Undecided 4%

October 10, 2011 PPP took a survey of 311 probable Iowa Republican caucus-goers. The margin of error is +/- 5.6 percentage points.

Herman Cain 30%
Mitt Romney 22%
Ron Paul 10%
Rick Perry 9%
Michele Bachmann 8%
Newt Gingrich 8%
Rick Santorum 5%
Gary Johnson 1%
Jon Huntsman 1%
Someone Else/Undecided 5%

December 5, 2011 PPP took a survey of 572 likely Iowa Republican caucus-goers. The margin of error is +/- 4.1 percentage points.

Newt Gingrich 27%
Ron Paul 18%
Mitt Romney 16%
Michele Bachmann 13%
Rick Perry 9%
Rick Santorum 6%
Jon Huntsman 4%
Gary Johnson 1%
Someone else/Not sure 7%

December 13, 2011 PPP took a survey of 555 likely Iowa Republican caucus-goers. The margin of error is +/- 4.2 percentage points.

Newt Gingrich 22%
Ron Paul 21%
Mitt Romney 16%
Michele Bachmann 11%
Rick Perry 9%
Rick Santorum 8%
Jon Huntsman 5%
Gary Johnson 1%
Someone else/Not sure 7%

Below is the list of results for the CNN/ORC Poll from March to November of this year. While the details of each poll are important, it is interesting to note the leaders of the poll for each time frame.

March 11-13: Mike Huckabee
April 9-10: Donald Trump
April 29-May 1: Mike Huckabee
May 24-26: Rudy Giuliani
August 5-7: Mitt Romney
August 24-25: Rick Perry
September 9-11: Rick Perry
October 14-16: Mitt Romney
November 11-13: Mitt Romney

On this list, Romney appears three times, Huckabee and Perry appear twice, Trump, Giuliani and Gingrich appear once.  Additionally, Romney and Perry are the only two who never dropped below 10% (though Perry was not included in polling until August 5-7)

Here are the full-length poll results of the CNN/Opinion Research 2012 Republican Nomination Survey:

March 13, 2011 Survey of 504 Republicans and Republican-leaning Independents; the margin of error is +/- 4.5 percentage points.

Mike Huckabee 19%
Mitt Romney 18%
Newt Gingrich 14%
Sarah Palin 12%
Donald Trump 10%
Ron Paul 8%
Mitch Daniels 3%
Tim Pawlenty 3%
Rick Santorum 3%
Haley Barbour 1%
Someone else (vol.) 4%
None/No one (vol.) 3%
No opinion 2%

April 10, 2011 Survey of 385 Republicans and Republican-leaning Independents; the margin of error is +/- 5 percentage points.

Donald Trump 19%
Mike Huckabee 19%
Sarah Palin 12%
Newt Gingrich 11%
Mitt Romney 11%
Ron Paul 7%
Michele Bachmann 5%
Mitch Daniels 3%
Tim Pawlenty 2%
Rick Santorum 2%
Haley Barbour 0%
Someone else (vol.) 3%
None/No one (vol.) 4%
No opinion 1%

May 1, 2011 Survey of 964 registered voters, including a subsample of 475 Republicans and Republican-leaning Independents;The margin of error is +/- 3 percentage points among registered voters; +/- 4.5 percentage points among Republican and Republican-leaning Independents.

Mike Huckabee 16%
Donald Trump 14%
Mitt Romney 13%
Sarah Palin 11%
Newt Gingrich 10%
Ron Paul 10%
Michele Bachmann 5%
Mitch Daniels 5%

Tim Pawlenty 3%
Rick Santorum 2%
Jon Huntsman 1%
Someone else (vol.) 3%
None/No one (vol.) 4%
No opinion 2%

May 26, 2011 Interviews with 1,007 adult Americans conducted by telephone by Opinion Research Corporation; the margin of sampling error for results based on the total sample is +/- 3 percentage points.

Rudy Giuliani 16%
Mitt Romney 15%
Sarah Palin 13%
Ron Paul 12%
Herman Cain 10%
Newt Gingrich 8%
Michele Bachmann 7%
Tim Pawlenty 5%
Rick Santorum 2%
Jon Huntsman 1%
Gary Johnson 1%
Someone else (vol.) 3%
None/ No one (vol.) 5%
No opinion 2%

August 7, 2011 Interviews with 1,008 adult Americans conducted by telephone by ORC International; the margin of sampling error for results based on the total sample is +/- 3 percentage points.

Romney 23%
Perry 18%
Paul 14%
Bachmann 9%
Gingrich 8%
Cain 5%
Huntsman 5%

Pawlenty 3%
Santorum 3%
Someone Else / None / No Opinion – 11%

August 25, 2011 Survey of 467 Republicans and Republican-leaning Independents was conducted; the margin of error is +/- 4.5 percentage points.

Rick Perry 27%
Mitt Romney 14%
Sarah Palin 10%
Rudy Giuliani 9%
Michele Bachmann 9%
Newt Gingrich 6%
Ron Paul 6%
Herman Cain 2%
Gary Johnson 2%
Jon Huntsman 1%
Rick Santorum 1%
Thaddeus McCotter 0%
Someone else (vol.) 3%
None/No one (vol.) 5%
No opinion 3%

September 11, 2011 Survey of 446 Republicans and Republican-leaning Independents was conducted; the margin of error is +/- 4.5 percentage points.

Rick Perry 30%
Mitt Romney 18%
Sarah Palin 15%
Ron Paul 12%
Herman Cain 5%
Newt Gingrich 5%
Michele Bachmann 4%
Jon Huntsman 2%
Rick Santorum 2%
Someone else (vol.) 2%

None/No one (vol.) 4%
No opinion 2%

October 16, 2011 Survey of 416 Republicans and Republican-leaning Independents was conducted; the margin of error is +/- 5 percentage points.

Mitt Romney 26%
Herman Cain 25%
Rick Perry 13%
Ron Paul 9%
Newt Gingrich 8%
Michele Bachmann 6%
Rick Santorum 2%
Jon Huntsman 1%
Someone else (vol.) 1%
None/No one (vol.) 5%
No opinion 4%

November 13, 2011 Survey of 925 registered voters, including a subsample of 480 Republicans and Republican-leaning Independents was conducted.

Mitt Romney 24%
Newt Gingrich 22%
Herman Cain 14%
Rick Perry 12%
Ron Paul 8%
Michele Bachmann 6%
Jon Huntsman 3%
Rick Santorum 3%
Someone else (vol.) 1%
None/No one (vol.) 4%
No opinion 4%

I find it incredibly interesting, from a statistical perspective, that there has been such inconsistency among “likely caucus-goers.”  Will tomorrow’s caucus predict the eventual nominee?  Better yet, will he or she have the momentum to take out President Obama?

Nicole J. Pearce // University of Massachusetts at Boston // @nicolejpearce

The original article from Truth About Bills.

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