Ed Morrissey does a great job of outlining why he’s skeptical of the PPP polling that shows Ron Paul leading in Iowa:
PPP says that they are polling likely Republican caucus-goers, but there’s a reason for a little skepticism on their sample. At 597 respondents, the size is respectable enough, but its composition and definition of “likely” is quite shaky. Only a little over half (55%) bothered to caucus with Republicans in 2008, an election primary with as much publicity and import as this one. Thirteen percent caucused with the Democrats, which is reasonable because (a) Democrats aren’t conducting a primary this cycle, and (b) some who caucused with Democrats might be inclined to support Republicans this year.
However, almost a third (32%) didn’t caucus with either party in 2008. How can they be considered “likely” caucus-goers in this cycle? It can’t be because Ron Paul is running this time, because he was running in 2008 as well.
There are other reasons for skepticism. RealClearPolitics notes two other polls taken in almost the same timeframe as PPP’s survey, and Paul was below 20% in both (Rasmussen and Insider Advantage). They all show fairly close margins, but the PPP looks like a bit of an outlier — at least for now.
I agree with Ed’s opinions but I’d like to add two other things that I think are noteworthy, one of which Ed touches on. First, Ron Paul’s support, for the first time ever, extended beyond his usual die-hard base.
Ed’s post about the racist material published in Paul’s name in Paul’s newsletter will, I think, stop the Paul boomlet in its tracks. James Kirchick’s article is just another nail in Paul’s Iowa coffin. I fully expect his numbers to tank long before the caucuses.
Nutty Uncle spent way too much time on stage Thursday night to help Paul, too. It was just another display of Paul’s conspiracy theorist side. That won’t hurt him with his loyal base but it’ll cripple him with thoughtful people who were recent converts.
I still fully expect Newt to win the Iowa Caucuses, though it’ll be a tight race. I also think that Mitt will drop, especially in western Iowa, because Mitt played the class warfare card in yesterday’s interview with Chris Wallace. Playing the class warfare card won’t endear Mitt to hard-working Iowans.
This race is fluid. I wouldn’t be surprised if Rick Perry and Rick Santorum finish with a ticket out of Iowa.