I promised last week that Newt Gingrich would get a slot in the next graphic, so here it is. When you finish in second or tied for second in the last two national polls, you’ve earned it.
For the first time in a while though, I can’t really say for sure who’s ahead. I don’t know that the Republicans have a frontrunner right now. Is Herman Cain leading, or Romney? How close is Gingrich? Has Rick Perry faded permanently below the Pauldoza line?
Some will point to the new Reuters release, and combine it with the last from McClatchy and Marist to say that Romney’s ahead again. But there’s a problem with that: the Reuters poll isn’t a real, statistically sound poll. It’s merely an online survey with no actual claim to a foundation in random sampling and a mathematically proven convergence to actual results. That Reuters release must be ignored.
So we’re still left with two divergent recent releases. RCP points out we have a swing of 7 between two polls that ended on the same day, going from Romney +4 to Cain +3. I don’t know what to make of that, because it’s contradictory and makes no sense, except that people are not really sure right now, and minds are being changed. That’s part of why I’ve brought Rick Perry back into my analyses. In an unstable, multiway race, any of the four can gain ground. Small changes can upturn established results.
Watching the polls this week will be fun. Anything could happen. Yes, that means if somebody entered the race this week who showed the ability to raise money and build organizations in key states, I could see that person taking a lead.