Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The first three weeks of December for Gallup tracking.

This is a graph of how the Republican candidates for president have fared for the first three weeks of December, according to Gallup tracking. (Note: Gallup tracking polls run over many days and I have picked the opening day of the poll to be the date where the numbers are marked.  You can click for a larger version.)  This is a national poll, so it can be argued that it is meaningless, but I think the trends are meaningful.

The blue line at the top, sliding downward, is Newt Gingrich's popularity. The (relatively) steady red line in second is Mitt Romney.  The slowly rising black line in third is None of the Above, now over 20% and just one small surge away from overtaking the leaders.  Ron Paul in green dominates the also rans, while Perry has overtaken Bachmann and Santorum still leads Huntsman by a few percentage points at the bottom.
The first two races where delegates are chosen will look nothing like this.  In the Iowa caucuses, it's assumed to be Paul and Romney in the lead with Gingrich in third. Romney will lap the field in New Hampshire barring a miracle.  Gingrich is hoping to hold onto his quickly fading momentum and make a good showing when the race goes south to South Carolina and Florida, but those races are many 24 hour news cycles away.

The interesting twists and turns will come when lesser candidates drop out and their support moves around.  You would think that all people not supporting Romney would move their support to another Not Romney, but there have are polls showing second choices indicating he will pick up some support when the time comes. The fascinating thing to me is the strength of None of the Above at this late date and how many candidates are saying they could not possibly support some rival or another, though most of it is anti-Ron Paul sentiment.

Bill Clinton has the quote "Democratic primary voters fall in love and Republican primary voters fall in line." The establishment has been in favor of Romney for awhile, but he's having a hell of a time getting more than one in four Republican voters to join his bandwagon. With all the bitter recrimination, it a distinct possibility we will see a third party candidate from the pool of Republican also rans.  Whether that candidate will be the standard third party no-hoper pulling in single digit percentages around the country or someone like Ross Perot or George Wallace who really throws a monkey wrench into the works, only time will tell.

No comments: