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

October 17, 2007

The Latest Gallup Poll: The Song Remains The Same

by Doug Mataconis

Gallup has another poll of the Republican candidates out and, there’s not alot of change from the last several polls.

Here are the basic numbers:

  • Rudy Giuliani 32%
  • Fred Thompson 18%
  • John McCain 14%
  • Mitt Romney 10%
  • Mike Huckabee 6%
  • Ron Paul 5% (4)

The major change over the last poll is a slight up-tick for Giuliani and McCain, and a drop of about 4% for Thompson. Huckabee and Ron Paul both went up, but they are both still within the margin of error, so it’s unclear whether the change from previous polls is really measuring anything.

As things stand now, though, Giuliani still looks unbeatable compared to the other candidates, as unfortunate as that might be. Unless and until something happens to change that, this could be an even shorter primary season than the calendar makes it look.

Previous Posts on Gallup Poll results can be found here (10/9), here (9/18), here (9/10), and here (8/20)

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  • Bob

    5% is the highest that Paul has polled in any national poll. His previous high was 4%. The last Gallup poll had Paul at 2%. He still has a long way to go, but at least the trend is in the right direction. Huckabee went down (not up), Guiliani was unchanged (not up),and McCain was down (not up). All the changes were slight.

  • http://www.orderhotlunch.com Jeff Molby

    Huckabee and Ron Paul both went up, but they are both still within the margin of error, so it’s unclear whether the change from previous polls is really measuring anything.

    Seriously, Doug? Yes, the statistical noise can greatly affect any given poll, but can you honestly tell me you can’t see the trendline in this chart?

  • http://www.orderhotlunch.com Jeff Molby

    Giuliani still looks unbeatable compared to the other candidates, as unfortunate as that might be.

    He’s battle tested against Thompson, Romney, or McCain, so they are very unlikely to turn things around, but that doesn’t make him invincible. His support is soft; many of his “supporters” would jump all over a better option if one appeared on their horizon. Paul (or even Huckabee) could still be that option.

  • http://www.belowthebeltway.com Doug Mataconis

    Seriously, Doug? Yes, the statistical noise can greatly affect any given poll, but can you honestly tell me you can’t see the trendline in this chart?

    I see the trend, but is a rise from 1% to 5% over the course of eight months really statistically significant when the margin error for the poll itself is 5% ?

  • http://www.belowthebeltway.com Doug Mataconis

    He’s battle tested against Thompson, Romney, or McCain, so they are very unlikely to turn things around, but that doesn’t make him invincible. His support is soft; many of his “supporters” would jump all over a better option if one appeared on their horizon. Paul (or even Huckabee) could still be that option.

    By what measure do you say his support is soft ? He’s been polling at basically the same level for months now.

  • http://www.orderhotlunch.com Jeff Molby

    is a rise from 1% to 5% over the course of eight months really statistically significant when the margin error for the poll itself is 5% ?

    Most definitely. A poll result of 1% +- 5 means your actual support is between 0% and 6%, right? A poll result of 5% +- 5% means your actual support is between 0% and 10%. That’s a significant difference.

    Yes, it’s still mathematically possible that is real support is 1%, but that’s unlikely, given the total dataset.

    Now, if he drops back down for a couple straight polls, the trendline will change and your pessimism would be justified. As of today though, all signs are positive.

    By what measure do you say his support is soft ? He’s been polling at basically the same level for months now.

    Intuition plus some related polling.

    Scroll down to Question 3 of the poll. 27% said they’d vote for Giuliani grudgingly if he were the nominee. I gotta imagine that a good number of them are the same ones that currently support Giuliani because “he’s the only one that can beat Hillary”. They’re not loyal supporters. His only assets are purely emotional and emotions can change quickly.

  • http://dangerouslyidealistic.blogspot.com/ UCrawford

    Not to mention there’s still the fundraising from last quarter that speaks to substantial support. Polls may have a substantial margin for error or be spammed, but you can’t really say the same of fundraising considering that there are limits on what can be donated from each individual and those limits are enforced.

  • http://www.orderhotlunch.com Jeff Molby

    there are limits on what can be donated from each individual and those limits are enforced.

    Speaking of which, Bydlak announced at today’s press conference that less than 3% of Paul’s donors have reached the max. That means the our pace is sustainable, whereas the other campaigns have to continually seek new donors to replace the ones that are already tapped. Ours are cumulative.

  • http://na Flo

    Polls can’t measure support for Paul as his support comes from the UNPOLLED. Young people who have never voted. Liberarians,Democrats, Independents, Constitutionalist that would be measured with a republican poll. Not to mention Republicans like myself who has never been polled

    Looking for Paul support in a poll that doesn’t cover the entire political spread is useless.

  • http://www.orderhotlunch.com Jeff Molby

    Looking for Paul support in a poll that doesn’t cover the entire political spread is useless.

    Not completely. The “unpolled” won’t be enough to win the nomination. We need to come to terms with that.

    We need to continue making inroads with the mainstream Republican voters. The polls do a good job of measuring that part and they also to our credibility. You’re never going to convince Joe Schmoe that the polls are inaccurate. History is not on our side in that argument and he’s not going to believe you when you tell him this campaign is the exception to the rule.

    So, you show him the trends and say, “There’s a lot of work to be done, but we’re on our way. :-)”

  • Alan

    Dear Doug and others,

    I will NEVER understand this pre-election obsession with polls, and the naive belief in their infallibility. I am only 40 years old, yet time after time after time I have seen elections won by those whom the polls “predicted” would loose. Over and over this happens, yet this fact just seems to go down the memory hole after the election of each “underdog”.

    What I would like to see is a meta-poll of polling data, stating the percentage of pre-election polls that actually did accurately predict the winner. I don’t think it would be nearly as high a number as the media and political establishment would like you to think — hence the reason why we have never seen such data, and probably never will.

  • GeeDub

    Hmmm…this is odd indeed. Who would have thought a bunch of Bush supporters wouldn’t support Ron Paul. Still, 5% is good considering what he’s up against at the base of the GOP.

  • Scott

    As another poster hinted… most of these polls only include hard-core Bush supporters. One of the requirements to participate is usually that you voted in the last presidential primary. The 2004 Republican primary had a 6.6% turnout, which included mostly voters dedicated to the establishment. I’m surprised Ron paul would get anywhere with that small, unrepresentative group.

  • http://www.ronpaulforums.com Kevin Houston

    here is a much better chart from pollster.com

    http://www.pollster.com/NHTopzReps.php

    They have finally started tracking Ron Paul.

  • Barney

    Polling the 6% rabid Bush backers who turned out in the uncontested 2004 GOP Primary is equivalent to going to Yankee stadium to gauge which is the best baseball team.

    Even you don’t believe the polls. If you did, you wouldn’t spend your days and nights fretting about the man.

    Really, who are you trying to convince? Yourself?

  • Craig

    Giuliani unbeatable? Hardly. Convention delegates are determined by who can get people out of their living rooms and to the polls in the primaries. So far, the only place Giuliani leads is among people in their living rooms — old people answering the phone, and old rich people writing checks. Giuliani’s record in the straw polls or any active participation event has been abysmal. His “lead” is a function of name recognition and corporate bigwigs betting on the leader.

    Paul’s jump in the Gallup poll is significant for one big reason — it influences the other pollsters to modify the “correction factor” they apply to his results to keep them in line with their expectations. Now that Gallup has given them cover, they can ratchet the numbers up a little closer to reality.

  • Craig

    I’ve said all along that if Ron Paul can get to 10% in the “scientific” polls he has a real shot to win. Why? Because turnout is generally less than 25% in the primaries. If Ron Paul can turn people out at 75%, he gets a 3x multiple of his poll numbers. I think that 30% would be enough to win, given the number of candidates and the weakness of the front-runners.

    Is 75% turnout for Paul supporters a pipe dream? Given the multiple in turnout for straw polls, it might be conservative.

    Is 30% of the vote really enough to win, when none of the other candidates delegates could be expected to back Paul at the convention? Maybe — many of the Republican contests are winner-take-all, or winner-take-all by district, so enough 1st place finishes could give someone with 30% of the vote over 50% of the delegates.

  • Buckwheat

    Doug Mataconis is a “libertarian” in the Cato Institute sense — i.e., he is a neocon mole pretending to be a libertarian.

    Anyone who’s read his posts over the past six months knows this. He always finds something negative to say about Dr. Paul, and always with the same concern troll tone.

    “I really wish Ron Paul were doing better, but…”

  • http://dangerouslyidealistic.blogspot.com/ UCrawford

    Been a month already, Buckwheat?

  • Rolland

    In light of our supposedly unbiased and fair media being so incredibly negligent to the benefit of special interests, corrupt politicians, and maintaining the status quo, is it such a stretch to think that Gallup, et al might be from the same mold?

  • kevin b

    GO Ron Paul!!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FG2PUZoukfA

    Love this site!

  • http://www.thelibertypapers.org Doug Mataconis

    Buckwheat,

    It’s interesting you attack Cato the way you do, considering that they’re one of only two libertarian organizations I know of that has actually accomplished anything in the past 20 years.

    The other one, by the way, is the Reason Foundation.

  • http://www.thelibertypapers.org Doug Mataconis

    Alan,

    The pre-election polls are important in two sense. They show where the race is today and, over time, they show trends. The trends so far don’t look good.

  • http://www.thelibertypapers.org Doug Mataconis

    Anyone who’s read his posts over the past six months knows this. He always finds something negative to say about Dr. Paul, and always with the same concern troll tone.

    “I really wish Ron Paul were doing better, but…”

    All I’ve done is comment on the facts, blame the facts if you want to blame anything.

    And I do wish the campaign were doing better than it is right now, because the primary season is accelerating at such a fast pace at this point that its going to be hard for anyone who isn’t in the top three to make a difference.

  • Alan

    Although I am a new poster here, I have been reading this site regularly for the last few months, and I have to agree with Buckwheat’s post above. Doug’s attitude towards Ron Paul, over and over, has reminded me of the classic line of the child abuser who tells his kid “I really do love you — if you would just be good I wouldn’t always have to beat you so hard!”

    Doug, you seem to take every opportunity to find fault with this man, and never lack for a negative comment regarding him. If this is “support”, I’m curious what your opposition would sound like! If he is that flawed, why don’t you just come out and formally oppose him already?

  • Alan

    “The pre-election polls are important in two sense. They show where the race is today and, over time, they show trends. The trends so far don’t look good.”

    Again, you are implicitly falling for the assumed infallibility of these polls, when by my own observations over the years they have been proven wrong in a significant fraction of cases. As a very rough guide to trends, OK, but as for “where the race is today”, I would trust goat livers and chicken entrails just as much. In fact, maybe more — at least the entrails and livers don’t have establishment bias pushing them!

  • http://www.orderhotlunch.com Jeff Molby

    UC, with Doug’s tone over the past week or two, I’m impressed Buckwheat bit his tongue for as long as he did. (Excusing his “Chicken Little” pseudonym, of course) :)

    The trends so far don’t look good.

    Hmmm…

    Money trending upwards? Check.
    Polls trending upwards? Check.
    Grassroots trending upwards? Check.

    You can quibble about the pace of the trends, but it’s pure idiocy to suggest that he’s not still on track. They’re starting to step on the gas pedal. If the numbers don’t improve in correlation with the spending then, and only then will disappointment be justified.

  • http://www.orderhotlunch.com Jeff Molby

    Again, you are implicitly falling for the assumed infallibility of these polls

    A thing doesn’t have to be infallible to be useful. Anyone who crowns Giuliani at this point is an idiot, but that doesn’t mean his lead isn’t real. It’s overcomeable, but it’s real and it’s worth acknowledging. If he runs the clock out, he wins. He’s the only one in that position.

    I would trust goat livers and chicken entrails just as much. In fact, maybe more — at least the entrails and livers don’t have establishment bias pushing them!

    Sure, they do. The entrails and livers tell you nothing, so you’d be left with nothing but your own personal bias. :)

  • Akston
  • http://www.orderhotlunch.com Jeff Molby

    Shazzam! Check out Forbes, Doug.

    Paul has finally passed the 10% awareness threshold necessary for Forbes to rank his “appeal”.

    30%

    That’s right up there with everyone else.

  • http://?? gao xia en

    Whatever. I’m still voting for the guy, even if he dies before the election.

  • Drena

    That poll is kind of irrelevant as far as Paul is concerned, because he’s just now getting in the news alot. Hardly anyone knew about him to give an opinion. Next poll will be more meaningful.

  • Darren D.

    Doug says,

    “All I’ve done is comment on the facts, blame the facts if you want to blame anything.

    And I do wish the campaign were doing better than it is right now, because the primary season is accelerating at such a fast pace at this point that its going to be hard for anyone who isn’t in the top three to make a difference.”

    What about what Gallup says Doug?

    “the current standings of the candidates are not — nor should they be expected to be — a direct predictor of what unfolds in the election year itself.”

    “In late September 2003, 21% of Democrats said they supported retired Gen. Wesley Clark to win their party’s 2004 presidential nomination. Trailing closely behind Clark were Howard Dean (12%), the eventual nominee John Kerry (12%), and Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman (11%). No other Democratic candidate received double-digit support that month.”

    “In September 1991, New York Gov. Mario Cuomo was at the top of the polls for the Democratic nomination, with 31% of registered Democrats’ support, followed by the Rev. Jesse Jackson at 14% and former California Gov. Jerry Brown at 11%. Bill Clinton, who eventually won the party’s nomination and the general election in 1992, only garnered 3% of the vote among registered Democrats in September 1991.”

    Your placing emphasis on a poll that the company who publishes the poll does not even believe in.

    If you really cared at all about the plight of Dr. Paul’s campaign, which I suspect you don’t, you would do more thorough research.

    Doug – How does a candidates record in straw polls relate to the outcome of primaries?

    What does Intrade.com say about a candidates prospects? REAL MONEY being invested in candidates and as of right now Ron Paul has more volume in the last few weeks than all the candidates on the republican side. He is trading higher than McCain and is quickly closing in on Thompson.

    There are many positive FACTS that you conveniently omit.

    Funny, I haven’t seen an article posted titled:

    Another Straw Poll Same Story: Giuliani Loses Again

  • Mancuso

    Did it ever occur to anyone that the people being polled are individuals who voted republican back in 2004? USA Daily did research and found out that Bush won the nomination with only 6% Republican turnout. Also, let alone that only 30% total of eligible (Mispelled?) voters actually went out and voted back in 2004. So, (And look for yourself) if the information is correct, these polls are only polling a very small group of people. Not very scientific IMO.

    -cuso

  • http://vegangirl.com/a-vegans-case-for-ron-paul.html js290

    Are these polls picking up these supporters?

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