Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Almost Every GOP Candidate Can Win Iowa

This article from the Sioux City Journal about the fluidity of the Iowa race mentioned that in the Iowa State University/Gazette/KCRG poll 28.1% of Iowan's had definitely decided who they will vote for in the Iowa caucuses (37.8% were still trying to decide and 34.1% were only leaning towards a candidate).  That is just a remarkable number and really points to the fact that the polls mean almost nothing.  Even in the more recent PPP poll, a full 37% said they could change their mind.  I decided to see what those poll numbers would look like if you only count those who said they are strongly committed to a candidate:

Ron Paul - 16.8%
Mitt Romney - 13.6%
Newt Gingrich - 7.8%
Rick Santorum - 5.6%
Michelle Bachmann - 5.5%
Rick Perry - 5.1%
Jon Huntsman - 2.3%
Gary Johnson - 1.7%

Clearly, nobody has an insurmountable level of support.  Also, my guess is that most of those unsure are conservatives who really just want an electable conservative and aren't really married to their candidate.  Newt supporters can switch to Perry or Rick Santorum or Michelle Bachmann or vice versa pretty easily.  Mitt Romney and Ron Paul have relatively firm support because their niches, moderates and libertarians, respectively, are pretty well filled by them with little/no competition.

Many decisions will likely come down to caucus night and I honestly wouldn't be shocked if any of the top 6 win in Iowa and given the number of candidates, a few thousand votes could easily separate #1 from #4 (people seem to expect about 150,000 caucus goers this year).

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