Thompson Overtakes Romney in Iowa

More good news for Thompson on the early numbers front.  This article is about a week old.  Sorry we missed it.  But the numbers from likely primary voters look strong for a guy who hasn’t declared. 

Thompson Overtakes Romney in Iowa – New York Sun Politics Blog

Well, the first round of Fred Thompson numbers continues to come in from state-level polls around the country. The latest numbers out from American Research Group show Mr. Thompson at 12% among likely Iowa caucus goers, beating Mitt Romney’s 10%.

In New Hampshire (also an ARG poll), Mr. Thompson clocks in at 10%; Mr. Romney beats him there with 17%.

All in all, not looking bad for my prediction earlier this week that Mr. Thompson could catch up to Mr. Romney in the blink of an eye. However, let’s take a look at the question of from where (or, from whom) Mr. Thompson’s support is coming…

While I continue to believe Mr. Romney’s candidacy is the one most threatened by the potential entry of Mr. Thompson into the GOP primary, it’s worth noting that these early numbers Mr. Thompson is posting don’t seem to be coming at the expense of Mr. Romney.

In Iowa, the biggest hit is to the numbers of the former speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich. He falls from 16% support in February to 7% in March. Mr. Romney gains 2 percentage points in that period; Mr. Giuliani loses 2 percentage points; and Senator McCain of Arizona gains 6 percentage points (Mr. McCain has been campaigning aggressively in the state in the last week).In New Hampshire, the biggest hit is to Mr. Giuliani, who falls from 27% to 19%. (It’s worth noting, however, that Mr. Giuliani’s numbers since December 2006 have fluctuated as such in the ARG poll: 25% [Dec.], 20% [Jan.], 27% [Feb.], 19% [Mar.].; so, that’s something of a red flag.) Mr. McCain loses 3 percentage points; Mr. Romney gains 2 percentage points; Mr. Gingrich gains 1 percentage point.

In Ohio, which we discussed the other day (when the Quinnipiac poll came out), the biggest loser was again Mr. Gingrich, who lost 5 percentage points. Mr. Giuliani lost 4 percentage points; Mr. McCain gained 2 percentage points; Mr. Romney gained 3 percentage points.

So, What Does It All Mean? First of all, that this is a ridiculously granular analysis of state-level polls being swayed tremendously by name recognition (that’s the disclaimer that should come with all political commentary from now until, roughly, the fall). But, secondly, it means that Mr. Thompson is soaking up the votes of conservatives who’ve been waiting for a savior candidate — hence the hits Mr. Gingrich’s numbers took in Iowa and Ohio. In New Hampshire, there has been some movement from Mr. Giuliani to Mr. Thompson, but given the wild fluctuation of Mr. Giuliani’s numbers in New Hampshire in ARG’s poll, I wouldn’t put much faith in that factoid.

Don’t get me wrong. It could ultimately be that Mr. Thompson, a name-recognition candidate at this point, will pull significantly from Mr. Giuliani, someone who also is benefiting from name recognition. I just wouldn’t base such a conclusion (as Dick Bennett does here) on this one ARG poll, especially when two other states are showing distinctly different patterns.



  1. […] Hat Tip: House of Chin […]

  2. Shouldn’t you include the new Zogby poll that has Romney over Thompson by 7 points?

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