Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

“Five years of Prohibition have had, at least, this one benign effect: they have completely disposed of all the favorite arguments of the Prohibitionists. None of the great boons and usufructs that were to follow the passage of the Eighteenth Amendment has come to pass. There is not less drunkenness in the Republic, but more. There is not less crime, but more. There is not less insanity, but more. The cost of government is not smaller, but vastly greater. Respect for law has not increased, but diminished.”     H. L. Mencken

August 20, 2007

Romney Moves Up, Ron Paul Stays Still

by Doug Mataconis

The latest Gallup Poll is out, and it shows a change in the top of the Republican race, but not much else going on:

A new national Gallup Poll shows Mitt Romney moving into double digits and third place for the Republican presidential nomination. The former Massachusetts governor is at 14%, behind Rudy Giuliani (32%) and Fred Thompson (19%).

Romney was at 8% and fourth place in Gallup polls in July and early August. The latest, taken Aug. 13-16, shows Romney’s favorable rating jumping from 22% to 33% over the past two weeks, and his unfavorable rating dropping from 31% to 24%

Romney has clearly benefited from his win at the Ames Straw poll, to the point where he’s turned John McCain into a second-tier candidate. Ron Paul, meanwhile, remains stuck at the 3% ceiling that he hit earlier in the summer, with little sign that the Ames poll coverage had any impact on the campaign at all.

The full results can be found here, and show the following:

Rudy Giuliani — 32%

Fred Thompson — 19%

Mitt Romney — 14 %

John McCain — 11%

Mike Huckabee — 4%

Ron Paul — 3%

Duncan Hunter — 2%

Chuck Hagel — 1%

Sam Brownback — 1%

Tom Tancredo — 1%

Other — 1%

No Opinion — 11%

The race at the top is far from over, but the odds that anyone who isn’t already polling in double digits in a national poll will make it into the top three are pretty slim.

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30 Comments

  1. Doug,

    On Intrade, Paul is now up towards 4.5%. It’s still not where he needs to be to make any sort of move (he should be up in the 7-10% range if he’s going to make a run by January), but he’s continuously trending up. In fact, he’s still ahead of Huckabee.

    They have McCain at about a 6% share (which I think is more likely than 11% anyway), and Romney about 24%. Giuliani about 35%.

    It looks like Hillary is widely considered a shoo-in over there, too, with her at about a 65% share.

    Just FYI, for another perspective.

    Comment by Brad Warbiany — August 20, 2007 @ 10:09 am
  2. I’m surprised Huckabee didn’t get a bounce. I thought after Ames he’d be well over 5%. As for Paul, his supporters seem very committed which might lead to him doing slightly better in the primaries than what he polls. But he’s no where near being competitive.

    Comment by Bob — August 20, 2007 @ 10:23 am
  3. Paul en 3% en última encuesta Gallop…

    La última encuesta Gallop fue publicada el pasado viernes 17 de agosto y muestra a Ron Paul con un 3% de preferencia entre republicanos a nivel nacional:

    Rudy Giuliani ? 32%
    Fred Thompson ? 19%
    Mitt Romney ? 14 %
    John McCain ? 11%
    Mike Huck…

    Trackback by Ron Paul Venezuela — August 20, 2007 @ 10:40 am
  4. You know what follows Gallup’s don’t ya? Road apples.

    Doug, you sellin’ road apples to these poor folks? Shame on you.

    Comment by Chris — August 20, 2007 @ 10:57 am
  5. Mataconis always spins Ron Paul’s results.

    Comment by Mataconis Always Spins (formerly Buckwheat) — August 20, 2007 @ 11:07 am
  6. What’s to spin ? The results speak for themselves

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — August 20, 2007 @ 11:10 am
  7. No they don’t, Doug — if they did, you’d just report them. Instead, you write non-stop spin like Ron Paul being “stuck” at a 3% “ceiling” and the Alabama and New Hampshire straw polls being “less than meets the eye.”

    You’re a spinner, Doug! But keep going, we’ve all got your number and you can always read the wikipedia entries on Baghdad Bob and Tokyo Rose if you need inspiration.

    Comment by Mataconis Always Spins (formerly Buckwheat) — August 20, 2007 @ 12:02 pm
  8. Again, there’s no spin.

    Go and click on the link to the poll results and you’ll see.</p>

    He’s never gotten above than 3% in this particular poll, I’d dare say he’s never gotten above 3% in any national poll.

    That’s called a ceiling.

    He might break through it, but so far we haven’t seen any evidence of that happening.

    And, for the record, I’d love nothing more than to be able to say that Ron Paul’s numbers are climbing. But they’re not right now, and I’m gonna call it like I see it.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — August 20, 2007 @ 12:05 pm
  9. 3% ceiling? Maybe, maybe not. The margin of error is too high to reach any firm conclusions. We also don’t know what games the various pollsters are playing with the actual results of their phone calls.

    Are they doing a good job of predicting who will vote in the primaries? They didn’t predict the Iowa straw poll results very well. Ron Paul is attracting a lot of new voters.

    Are they manipulating the numbers to keep them in line with previous polls, or polls from their competitors? I’ve read that pollsters use a “multiplier” for raw results, if they differ too much from what is expected. Do you ever wonder why the numbers are so consistent?

    Romney is getting a bounce from the Iowa win. Maybe Ron Paul should have gambled everything on the straw poll. I suspect that if he had, the media would have downplayed it significantly. Huckabee came in a surprising second and got little out of it, so maybe Paul was smarter to not over-invest in the straw poll.

    Ron Paul still has a long way to go, but he has the strongest volunteer base by far, and his third quarter fundraising numbers will give him another media boost, I suspect.

    I agree that he has to get into double digits in scientific polls eventually, but most people still aren’t paying attention to the race.

    Comment by Craig — August 20, 2007 @ 12:30 pm
  10. Gambling 911, which studies much more data to come up with betting odds than those silly, micro-sampling Gallup push polls, has Ron Paul at 8:1 odds. They also have the post Iowa straw poll Romney at 8:1 odds.

    If I remember correctly, this Gallup and similar polls call 800 – 1000 people for those polls. That sampling is so horribly tiny, that it is in no way a “scientific” sampling of the American people. Also, those polls are usually paid for pay a candidate or interested party, to see how a certain candidate is doing with particular demographics. The polling companies want repeat business, so they tend to “massage” the data to give their customer the desired results.

    Ron Paul’s New Hampshire and Alabama straw poll wins (note that Diebold machines were not used in these polls) are a more accurate sign of things to come…

    Comment by Paul — August 20, 2007 @ 12:45 pm
  11. Paul,

    And yet isn’t it funny that, for the most part, those horrible polls you talk about usually end up being a pretty good predictor of how things turn out.

    Some coincidence.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — August 20, 2007 @ 12:50 pm
  12. PS. Have you ever had a phone poller hangup on you after you gave an apparent “wrong” answer to a question? Those qualifying questions are one of the ways they can weed you out right up front if they know you are likely to give them answers that they don’t want to hear. Hardly “scientific” when they are insuring a very narrow sampling up front, and can also later “massage” out unwanted answers that do slip through.

    Comment by Paul — August 20, 2007 @ 12:52 pm
  13. Paul,

    That happens because of the way a particular poll is designed.

    Sometimes, if they want to control the sample, correctly, they’ll end the conversation after finding out that the person is, say, a Democrat or a Republican.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — August 20, 2007 @ 12:54 pm
  14. “And yet isn’t it funny that, for the most part, those horrible polls you talk about usually end up being a pretty good predictor of how things turn out.

    Some coincidence.”

    No coincidence Doug.

    The media: TV news, political talk shows, radio shows, net news, net blogs etc. all repeatedly regurgitate those poll results, as have you, shoving them down our throats over and over and over. Couple this with this twisted notion that so many Americans have that they don’t want to “waste their votes” so they tend to vote on who they *think* will be the winner, and what do you have? Self fulfilling prophecy, not coincidence. We have been victims of this forever.

    “Tell a lie enough times, and it becomes the truth…”

    Comment by Paul — August 20, 2007 @ 1:01 pm
  15. So you’re saying that the vast majority of American’s can’t think for themselves ?

    If that’s the case, how can a candidate with real ideas, like Ron Paul, ever hope to succeed ?

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — August 20, 2007 @ 1:03 pm
  16. Doug

    Insiders will tell you that the polling business is just another sleazy racket.

    The polling companies are in it to make money. And to make money, they have to supply the desired results.

    And “honest” polling company would go out of business almost immediately.

    Comment by Paul — August 20, 2007 @ 1:03 pm
  17. Paul,
    I’m trying to follow your logic. If you think RP is going to win (as you seem to) why aren’t those nasty polls going to work this time? Why/how are Americans not going to fulfill the prophecy this time?

    Comment by Bob — August 20, 2007 @ 1:11 pm
  18. Doug,

    “So you’re saying that the vast majority of American’s can’t think for themselves?”

    Yes, they can, they just don’t have a lot of practice in it. After all, you need to overcome the odds [government education] before you even get them to start.

    “If that’s the case, how can a candidate with real ideas, like Ron Paul, ever hope to succeed?”

    “It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people’s minds.”
    - Samuel Adams

    Comment by Brad Warbiany — August 20, 2007 @ 2:36 pm
  19. “Paul,
    I’m trying to follow your logic. If you think RP is going to win (as you seem to) why aren’t those nasty polls going to work this time? Why/how are Americans not going to fulfill the prophecy this time?”

    Good question. Many Americans will remain easily manipulated sheeple (give me my McDonalds, 6-pack, American Idol, tell me you’ll keep me safe, and I’ll do/think/feel pretty much whatever you want) no matter what.

    Fortunately, many Americans are coming to the realization that the Emperor Has No Clothes. They realize they have been scammed, and manipulated for many years, and are standing up to the establishment.

    We are seeing the unfolding of a clash between the American Sheeple, addicted to the establishment thought control, and the establishment/mainstream media, versus the Americans who have awaken or who always were awake, who refuse to continue to be manipulated.

    Consider this: If Ron Paul is really the fringe, loser, freak, no-chance having, delusional, gadfly that the establishment so badly wants us to believe, why in the world are they going to such extreme lengths to marginalize/smear/blackout him? If he really is that, why not just use him for cheap entertainment until he fizzles out? They go to all sorts of trouble to remove positive posts about him on blogs, bury after-debate poll results, smear him at every turn, leave his name off of polls etc. I could go on and on. In reality the establishment is terrified of him, and what he is doing. He is uniting Americans against their oppressive, corrupt government that has gone awry.

    check him out in the straw polls: http://www.freemarketnews.com/WorldNews.asp?nid=47579&fb=1

    Comment by Paul — August 20, 2007 @ 3:10 pm
  20. I’d like to counsel my exuberent supporters on “blowback”. By following a policy of comment-based intervention on the internet, you’re creating a backlash of people who are annoyed at your constant, grating comments about “Bilderbergers taking over the world” and “9/11 conspiracy” and “Diebold fraud”. Seriously guys, take a chill pill- my record speaks for itself.

    The fact is, there is a ceiling in the polls. The much-shrunken GOP is now mainly neo-conservative, pro-war, wing of the party. There won’t be any more significant growth in those polls.

    Instead of working on how best to pile on 50 comments on a blog that all say how much you love me, the best thing you can do for me is to make signs and hold them on street corners, you can raise money and awareness.

    Comment by Fake Ron Paul — August 20, 2007 @ 3:10 pm
  21. For the record, sample sizes of 800 to 1000 randomly selected individuals are enough to reduce error margins and provide reliable results. Margins of error are inescapable, but to discount the results of properly conducted polls because they have ‘only 800′ participants if foolish.

    Paul, have you ever taken a statistic class? I remember solving problems in mine where I made the realization that 400 random people were enough to curtail significant margins of error. Ideally, you’d poll everyone, but you cannot conduct a census for practical reasons.

    As for Doug’s ‘spin’ – noting that Ron Paul has not exceeded 3% support of voters is not spin. The word ‘ceiling’ is an apt description and it’s one I’d use. Labeling a 3% “surge” would appear strangely inconsistent with the flat line of support that has existed over several months.

    As for agendas of pollsters, I’v been called several times to participate in polls. I’ve not once had a pollster terminate the call early because of my responses, some of which are actually in line with the philosophies or perspectives of many on this forum. Clearly, I will never know if my responses are included or excluded in the final results. However, the poll-taker on the other end probably deals with a series of hangups before reaching me. Unless the poller has a masochistic streak and enjoys throwing out completed polls for the sheer pleasure of more empty phone calls to disinterested parties, I suspect each result is included in the final tally.

    Comment by David T — August 20, 2007 @ 3:18 pm
  22. Good point Fake Ron Paul.

    You have those who see the light, those who may see the light in the future, and those who will never ever see the light.

    No point wasting any time and energy on the “never evers”.

    Comment by Paul — August 20, 2007 @ 3:18 pm
  23. David T,

    Yes, I have had statistics classes (many years ago) along with classes in gathering technical stats as well.

    If you know anything about polling, you will agree that the larger the sample, the more accurate the data. A poll that polls 50% of the entire voting population (impossible to implement) would be extremely accurate. A poll that polls .0000005% of voters who were registered Republicans during the prior election cycle, with or without any “massaging”, is what it is. It’s better than no poll at all, but it has at least two serious flaws. 1. The polling percentage is so incredibly tiny that it’s genuine accuracy is almost nil. 2. The fact that they do things like call only people who were registered Republicans in the prior election, misses huge portions of the population that may vote for some candidates. I fall into this category. I am registered as an Independent, but will change my registration to Republican so I can vote for Ron Paul. I have not been, nor will I be, polled for this election cycle in regards to the Republican candidates. Neither will any others who are registered as Indy, Dem, Lib, or first timers, who intend to vote for Ron Paul.

    I have been politely hung up on before, for giving “undesired answers” to qualifying questions in phone polls. This has always left me wondering what they wanted me to say! LOL

    Comment by Paul — August 20, 2007 @ 3:45 pm
  24. Paul,
    We agree that larger samples are better.

    “1. The polling percentage is so incredibly tiny that it’s genuine accuracy is almost nil.”

    I’ll say it again. When sample sizes are n=400, you begin reducing the margin of error. This poll had 800

    Comment by David T — August 20, 2007 @ 4:28 pm
  25. Paul,
    We agree that larger samples are better.

    “1. The polling percentage is so incredibly tiny that it’s genuine accuracy is almost nil.”

    I’ll say it again. When sample sizes are n=400, you begin reducing the margin of error. This poll had 800 – n – 1000 participants, meaning that with 95% confidence they could say the numbers were within 3% of ‘actual’. In other words, if they conducted the exact same poll in the same time period, 95% of the time all of the results would be within 3% of the posted results.

    Absolute sample size is critical. Sample size compared to population size is irrelevant.

    “2.The fact that they do things like call only people who were registered Republicans in the prior election, misses huge portions of the population that may vote for some candidates.”

    This isn’t a flaw. In fact, it’s even disclosed at the beginning of the results: “among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents”.

    The pollsters surveyed those people most likely to vote Republican. It would be an utterly useless poll to ask those least likely to vote Republican on who they prefer as a Republican candidate. Who wants to know what Repulican candidate Germans would vote for? Irrelevant because they can’t vote here. Asking Republicans and Repub-leaning Indies on their preferences gives a better picture than asking Venezuelans and Democrats on the Republican they’d vote for, and I’m pretty sure you see that.

    Comment by David T — August 20, 2007 @ 4:28 pm
  26. I have never read so much baloney as I do on this site.

    We had a birthday party for Ron today and people came in off the streets just to talk to Ron and many were new. The minute they hear about him, they love him…it’s no wonder the press has to stomp on news that he wins every poll in NH.

    Just remember: PJB was ‘polling’ at 6% before the primary and won with 27%

    Comment by NH — August 20, 2007 @ 5:01 pm
  27. The really unfortunate thing is that Ron Paul’s supporters need to stop whining on the Internet about conspiracies, join the local Republican party, and start showing up for Republican events. Making banners is fine, but you’re not going to convince the rank-and-file he’s the right guy unless his supporters are cramming Republican meetings and doing good works for the party.

    But, it’s easier to blame the Bilderburgs, Diebold, the media…

    Comment by Joshua Holmes — August 20, 2007 @ 8:08 pm
  28. Joshua,

    Haven’t you been paying attention? RP supporters do show up for Republican meetings and events. Heck from what the most recent state GOP straw polls have shown, there wouldn’t even have been a GOP event if it weren’t for Ron Paul supporters… would’ve been more like small pow-wows.

    Comment by Jim B. — August 20, 2007 @ 11:57 pm
  29. Doug,

    If you have the numbers I would be curious to know what John Kerry polling at this point in 2003?

    Comment by Ken H — August 21, 2007 @ 5:55 pm
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    Read and sign the Ron Paul Is Right – Abolish the Federal Reserve Petition at http://www.petitiononline.com/fed/petition.html

    Please link to the petition and forward this message to your friends and help the general public wake up during the current financial panic conditions to the problems we face from the Federal Reserve and Ron Paul’s solution.

    Also read comments from hundreds of signers who aren’t shy in saying what they think of the FED.

    Comment by Ron Holland — August 23, 2007 @ 1:59 pm

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