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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Santorum's "Bounce"

The news media has seized on the latest CNN Iowa poll which suggests the latest "surge" for former PA Sen Rick Santorum. This poll has Romney at 25%, Paul at 22%, Santorum at 16%, Gingrich at 14, and Perry at 11% with the others in single digits. A lot has been made of Santorum placing 3rd in this poll but given that the margin of error in this poll was +/- 4.5%, firm conclusions cannot be drawn about who places where in the poll.

An independent Public Policy Polling poll released the same day as the CNN, placed Ron Paul first at 24% followed by Romney at 20%, Gingrich at 13%, Bachmann at 11%, and Perry & Santorum tied at 10%. This poll had a slightly more precise margin of error at +/- 4.1% but still no firm conclusions can be drawn about who is in first place and who is in third. The next day an Insider Advantage poll placed Romney, Gingrich, and Paul in a 3 way tie for for first at 17% and Santorum in fourth at 13% with a similar margin of error. It's starting to sound like an Abbott & Costello routine.  Real Clear Politics has a summary of these polls.  NY Times statistician Nate Silver says that there is something to this surge we won't know for sure until the caucus results are in.





**Update**


Public Policy Polling released a poll of Iowa voter's in the new year with a much larger sample size of 1,340, and thus a smaller margin of error of +/- 2.7%, which show that Santorum is now in a statistical tie with Mitt Romney and Ron Paul with 18%, 19%, and 20% respectively.  Their 347 page report can be seen here.  They included many crosstabulations and subgroup comparisons but don't say which differences are statistically significant.  There are too many to name here but one does jump out at me:




Tea Party ID
Base
Yes
No
Not Sure
Michele Bachmann
8%
15%
5%
6%
Newt Gingrich
14%
18%
13%
16%
Jon Huntsman
4%
3%
5%
1%
Ron Paul
20%
16%
22%
22%
Rick Perry
10%
8%
10%
15%
Buddy Roemer
2%
2%
2%
2%
Mitt Romney
19%
12%
23%
15%
Rick Santorum
18%
23%
17%
14%
Someone else/Not sure
4%
4%
4%
8%
Total N=1,340
100%
25%
65%
9%
Margin of Error +/- %
2.7%
5.4%
3.4%
9.1%

The table above shows that Santorum gets the highest percentage among tea party supporters with Romney and Paul tied among those who are not and Paul leading among those who are not sure.  Only 25% of those surveyed or about 330 in the sample identified themselves as tea party supporters giving a 5.4% margin of error.  This suggests that Santorum, who has 23%, is virtually tied with Newt Gingrich, who has 18%, for the lead among tea party supporters with the others trailing.  Paul and Romney are tied among non tea party supporters which are 65% of the sample.  The sample of those who are unsure of tea party support is too small to make any firm conclusions.

The sample is randomly drawn from those likely to participate in the Caucus on January 3. 
Democracy Now! has a good discussion of the Santorum, Iowa, and the Tea Party in the two clips below.






The final results in Iowa were a photo finish with Romney winning by 8 votes over Santorum.  Polls so far haven't shown a bounce for Santorum in New Hampshire, Nationally or the other states so it remains to be seen how this result will resonate.  He also hasn't been subjected to the same media scrutiny as Perry, Cain, Bachmann, Romney, Paul, and Gingrich.  It remains to be seen if the surge will last for him.

Two weeks later, the official count in Iowa seems to have given Santorum a 34 vote margin of victory but the votes from 8 precincts are missing and it seems to matter little for him now anyway with him in fourth place in the polls in South Carolina and in fifth in New Hampshire.  Rick Perry has dropped out of the race and will endorse Gingrich along with Sarah Palin.  His nephew John Garver supports Ron Paul.


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