The Des Moines Register just released the results of their highly anticipated Iowa poll and the top line is consistent with what recent polls are showing: although Romney is in the lead, Santorum is surging. The poll, conducted Tuesday through Friday (margin of error =/- 4%) of likely caucus goers, shows Romney leading with 24%, followed by Paul at 22% and Santorum in third at 15%. However, if one looks only at the most recent two days of the four-day survey, Santorum is at 22%, and Paul at 18% (margin of error 5.6%), suggesting Santorum may finish with stronger numbers. If this trend continues, Mitt may experience deja vu all over again, only this time it will be Santorum reprising the Huckabee role from four years ago. Note that in the two-day sample Romney’s numbers are unchanged, indicating he may have peaked. All this is consistent with what I have described in recent posts. If the conservatives do consolidate behind Santorum, he may yet win this.
Keep in mind, however, that a whopping 41% of those surveyed said they may still change their mind in the final few days. The rest of the poll numbers read Newt Gingrich, 12%, Rick Perry, 11% and Michele Bachmann at 7%. Of perhaps more interest, however, is the breakdown of the poll by party ID and ideology. Typically, the Des Moines paper does not weight their polls to arrive at the “proper” distribution – they let the numbers speak for themselves. So it is interesting to see what they are showing in terms of likely turnout come Tuesday. Alas, the full poll internals won’t be available until tomorrow. When it is released, I’ll be back on.
Until then, have a Happy New Year, and I’ll see you next year.