IN SIMPLE TERMS
Real Clear Politics reports most of the major polls and averages them.
Romney is holding steady at 25-30 percent for several months in all the pollster reports. This means 70-75 percent of the voters prefer someone else, but with so many candidates in the campaign that “someone else” vote is divided and Romney remains in the lead. A wide field works to his advantage.
Newt was in single digits in September, climbed to mid-high 30s in December and even polled ahead of Romney until mid December, but has fallen sharply since the Iowa Caucus in early January where he finished fourth behind Romney, Santorum and Paul, then finishing 138 votes behind Santorum in the battle for fourth and fifth place in New Hampshire.
Santorum was in middle single digits until the Iowa caucus where his face to face campaign style with a minimal staff and low budget paid off, finishing only eight votes behind Romney (and that could change in his favor. Iowa Secretary of State is investigating reports of improper reporting from several precincts and will certify the election on January 16.)
Santorum was not expected to finish well in liberal New Hampshire where Romney had a sharp edge, but his numbers continue to rise going into South Carolina with a fuller war chest to operate with.
Huntsman is holding steady at two percent despite his NH finish.
Perry is stuck in mid single digits.
Paul remains in the mid teens. He is counting on winning enough delegates in the caucus states to have an influence at the national GOP convention in Tampa the end of August. The only difference between a Caucus and a Straw Poll is that the caucus votes actually count.
The attack ads and national attention being waged, especially by Gingrich, seem to be working for everyone except the former Speaker of the House. One national poll conducted January 11-12 shows the following:
*Romney is up six from 28 to 34 in the pollster’s previous report;
*Newt is down 10 from 28 to 18;
*Paul is up one from 14 to 15;
*Santorum is up 11 from four to 15;
*Perry is up two from seven to nine;
*Huntsman is up two from two to four;
*“No one” is down two from five to three;
*No opinion is down one from four to three;
And the undecideds are making up their mind.
I believe this trend will continue through the next week into the SC primary. I lived in SC for 13 years before moving to Oklahoma. The rednecked good-ole-boys, full of grit, I knew call that type of attack ads “dirty politics” and sway in the direction of the one being attacked. Newt has made himself look like a bully and bullies are not favored there either. Backing off and changing direction makes him look like a flip-flopper.
There was another Huckabee Forum on FOX NEWS Sunday, then another debate hosted by FOX Monday night in Myrtle Beach, S.C. These events could change the completion of the S.C. primary and solidify voters’ minds who say their preference could change.
There is also a S.C. Tea Party convention going on in Myrtle Beach. The Tea Party does not favor Romney. They have expressed “disappointment” with the governor’s endorsement of Romney and with Gingrich going negative.
South Carolina has open primary elections and Evangelical Christians make up a large voting block. The State is also home to many military bases and retired veterans.
I am predicting a surprise similar to Iowa for Santorum and clear sailing into Florida where Romney already has a decisive lead and absentee ballots are already coming in. The Florida Primary will be Jan. 31. Florida has Closed Primary Elections.
Florida is another mixed bag of voters. Wealthy snow birds own homes in Florida and vote there, as well as dual citizenship Jews who tend to vote Democratic and only have to spend 30 days a year in the United States to maintain their citizenship.
After Florida there should be a clear not Romney candidate. Oklahoma ’s Presidential Preference Primary will be March 6. The primary is closed. Anyone wishing to change their voter registration to vote in the Republican Primary for a GOP candidate must do so before Feb. 10, 2012.