Unlikely Voter

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Before Huntsman quit, polling stability in South Carolina

Political commentators want action and excitement. I’m included in this; I’ve been holding off and holding off on posting on the new polling in case something exciting happened.

It hasn’t. Mitt Romney’s just ahead, folks. And I expect his lead will only grow with Jon Huntsman out.

Three polls have hit South Carolina regularly: Insider Advantage, PPP, and Rasmussen. I was hard on these guys over the Iowa caucuses, so I want to be clear now: since we’ve returned to primaries, the polling has looked solid to me. Even PPP, a favorite target of mine lately, was rather good in New Hampshire, only missing a little bit of very late movement to Huntsman.

So I like to see stability in the South Carolina polling, as it tells me the polling is likely accurate. From the 5th to the 11th Romney was shown leading with a range of 23-30, and a lead of 2-9. Now though, from the 12th to the 15th, Romney is in a much tighter range of 28-32, with a lead of 5-11.

As I floated last time, Insider Advantage’s 1/11 result for Mitt Romney was an outlier. It was a freak one-off result that was just strangely low. Every poll since has been 28 or above, including IA’s whopping 32 for Romney that just came out.

I conclude Newt Gingrich isn’t going away, Rick Santorum’s Iowa bounce has faded, and the best hope for a shakeup in this race is for Jon Huntsman’s backers to flock to Gingrich. But that doesn’t seem likely. Even without Huntsman pulling all his anti-Romney ads, it seems likely Romney would get his share of Huntsman’s voters.

Of course, there’s always the debate that just concluded…


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