DMR poll shows Santorum rising, Paul stalling, and Romney steady

posted at 10:30 am on January 1, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

On the surface, the new (and final) Des Moines Register poll of likely Iowa caucus-goers basically corroborates polling from Rasmussen and NBC/Marist earlier in the week, which showed Mitt Romney slightly edging Ron Paul, while Rick Santorum gained enough ground to move into third place.  The numbers are almost identical, at 24/22/15 — but it’s not the topline that is the real news.  The four-day poll of 602 likely caucus-goers, which is a larger sample than NBC/Marist but smaller than Rasmussen’s single-day survey, had significant change in the final two days of polling on Thursday and Friday:

But the four-day results don’t reflect just how quickly momentum is shifting in a race that has remained highly fluid for months. If the final two days of polling are considered separately, Santorum rises to second place, with 21 percent, pushing Paul to third, at 18 percent. Romney remains the same, at 24 percent.

“Momentum’s name is Rick Santorum,” said the Register’s pollster, J. Ann Selzer.

Another sign of the race’s volatility: 41 percent of likely caucusgoers say they could still be persuaded to change their minds.

Newt Gingrich fell further off the pace to 12%.  Rick Perry, who had improved in the earlier two polls, scored a little lower in the DMR survey at 11%, and Michele Bachmann dropped to 7%.  Assuming that this is how the final caucus numbers turn out, it’s likely to be Bachmann’s last stand.  Perry and Gingrich will almost certainly have enough resources and energy to continue to South Carolina; Perry’s team announced that it would skip New Hampshire altogether, not exactly surprising as Perry hasn’t had much traction in the Granite State at all during this cycle, not even when Perry rode high in national polling.  Gingrich has polled better and might not be able to pass up a chance to try to dent Romney’s momentum coming out of a potential Iowa win.

Can Santorum win Iowa?  Rep. Steve King was skeptical of the idea, but Santorum’s proximity makes it at least a reasonable possibility.  What then?  Santorum won’t get much support at all in New Hampshire, so he’d likely take a page from Perry’s book and spend the week in South Carolina, hoping to build momentum with evangelicals and conservatives.  The last polls from South Carolina showed Gingrich firmly in command, but they were from two weeks ago, too, before Gingrich’s slide began in earnest.   Santorum’s average in the state from August to mid-December on Real Clear Politics put him dead last, even below Jon Huntsman.  Winning South Carolina would be a tall order for Santorum, and yet a failure to do so leaves Santorum with few paths to even being competitive through Super Tuesday in March, with states like Nevada, Michigan, and Florida on the schedule in between.  But if Santorum could pull off a miracle win in South Carolina, then conservative donors might flock to his banner as the sole remaining Not Romney with a viable shot at beating Mitt, even if still a long shot.

For Romney, though, the rise of Santorum and the Paul Stall is good news.  He’d be more threatened by Gingrich or Perry, and his steadiness in Iowa shows that he has staying power.  That plus his campaign resources should allow him to easily outlast Santorum, unless a Santorum surge forces everyone else out of the race early.  However, if Romney wins Iowa and then New Hampshire, that might be enough even for South Carolinians to consider the virtues of wrapping up the nomination fight early, regardless of how well Santorum does.

Update: A couple of readers wonder why I didn’t mention that Perry has gained five points since the last DMR poll as a sign of an imminent Perry surge.  Here’s why: Perry’s still only at 11%, there are four candidates polling ahead of him, Santorum has gained nine points since the last DMR poll and fifteen if you just look at the last two days of the survey, and there are only two days left.  I think that just about covers the Perry surge.  I’m not saying he might not stage a surprise on Tuesday, but clearly Perry isn’t the big news in this poll.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Comment pages: 1 4 5 6

MJBrutus on January 2, 2012 at 5:54 AM

Taking my post 1 step further, the political left/right scale is not like that Fahrenheit scale. That is to say that it is not fixed around the freezing and boiling points of water at 1 atmosphere. It is a relative measure where the center floats so that we always have 1/2 to each side. I think that is where those who say we’re center right or whatever go astray.

MJBrutus on January 2, 2012 at 6:59 AM

MJBrutus on January 2, 2012 at 6:59 AM

You are exactly right. What I see is the progressives trying to shift the perception of where the middle is. The TEA Party is mostly center right, but the progressives paint them as extremists. For the uninitiated, that shifts the center further right thus making very liberal positions seem like reasonable and mainstream.

csdeven on January 2, 2012 at 9:37 AM

It is in Romney’s political self-interest to talk moderate and GOVERN RIGHT.

I am thoroughly and sadly astonished at how little forethought, reality, and understanding of legislative procedure exists on this site. The anti-Romney camp evidently do not understand the Buckley rule that we nominate the most electable conservative. The most electable conservative is Mitt Romney, and he will be buttressed by a GOP House and Senate and 30+ GOP governors. This is a historic moment to turn this nation around and preserve the American dream for our children and grandchildren.

matthew8787 on January 1, 2012 at 10:06 PM

your analysis is correct, and, well, flawless…

jimver on January 2, 2012 at 2:35 PM

It is in Romney’s political self-interest to talk moderate and GOVERN RIGHT.

I am thoroughly and sadly astonished at how little forethought, reality, and understanding of legislative procedure exists on this site. The anti-Romney camp evidently do not understand the Buckley rule that we nominate the most electable conservative. The most electable conservative is Mitt Romney, and he will be buttressed by a GOP House and Senate and 30+ GOP governors. This is a historic moment to turn this nation around and preserve the American dream for our children and grandchildren.

matthew8787 on January 1, 2012 at 10:06 PM
your analysis is correct, and, well, flawless…

jimver on January 2, 2012 at 2:35 PM

Ok, so exactly why is Mitt Romney electable. Your presumption is that being Conservative is not electable. You assume that taking a Conservative stance is something that can’t endure. So you promise me, bote for this moderate that has actually embraced and put in place liberal ideas that you strongly oppose and he will then put your Conservative ideas in place. Why?

As a Consevative voter why should I then get excited about your candidate or find solace in your moderation. Are you going to moderately restore our S&P debt rationg back to AAA? Are you going to moderately roll back our trillion dollar deficit? Are you going to moderately repeal restrictive, unfair regulation that in true economic fascist designs have created corporate oligarchioes protected by the government. Remember the movie Tucker. Does a Tucker have more or less chance of starting his own auto plant in the wake of GM bailouts?

And why exactly is a liberal voter going to vote for Romney over Obama? Is it because he tells them he’ll only giove them half what they want?

I find anyone talking to me of what a momentous time this is when our country is literally on the brink of bankruptcy more than foolish. So, no thank you. In elections past I would listen to the “electable conservative” nonsense and vote for your favored RINO because I had no other choice and hope for the best.

Problem is after 4 years of Obama, Pelosi, Frank and Dodd there is no more hope. So, I suggest you establishment hacks find a candidate that will stand up for reducing the size of government, eliminating government agencies, removing the subsidies enjoyed by GE, the auto industry, Big Agriculture, the ethanal fiasco, the banking regulations and every other tentacle of the corrupts Leviathon in DC or don’t expect my vote. I have no more faith in moderation. Go Figure!

Ignore me and it won’t matter …. as Douglas Adams said in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy..

“they will be the first against the wall when the revolution comes…” Our debt exceeds GDP….. what do you think happens in the future if we stay your course

Individualist on January 2, 2012 at 3:41 PM

As a Consevative voter why should I then get excited about your candidate or find solace in your moderation. Are you going to moderately restore our S&P debt rationg back to AAA? Are you going to moderately roll back our trillion dollar deficit? Are you going to moderately repeal restrictive, unfair regulation that in true economic fascist designs have created corporate oligarchioes protected by the government.

Individualist on January 2, 2012 at 3:41 PM

you don’t have to be/get excited about any candidate, it’s politics, it is tad be naive/infantile and somewhat impractical to get ‘excited’ about politicians and political offices…you just have to be rational and pragmatic about your choices that’s all, but enthusiastic, am pretty sure it’s not a requirement…thus being said, I don’t know exactly what your beef is with me, I haven’t requested your support for Romney, personally I couldn’t care less who you vote for, it is entirely your business, not mine. I am not part of any campaign and am not in the business of convincing people to vote one way or or the other… like yourself and many other people on this forum, I have made my determinations about the candidates and I have decided who I will vote for and why. You have to make that decision yourself, it is not of my concern though who you vote for. It’s a free country and that’s the beauty of it. As for your vote, you realize that in the grand scheme of things one vote does not matter really, it also depends on what state you come from, how populous, etc. as you know we don’t elect presidents though direct vote in this country. so am sure this country will survive without your vote, if so you choose (not to vote that is).

“they will be the first against the wall when the revolution comes…” Our debt exceeds GDP….. what do you think happens in the future if we stay your course

Individualist on January 2, 2012 at 3:41 PM

do you inhabit the brain of any candidates? What makes you think that Romney will not cut the deficit despite alas, the fact that he did exactly that when he worked for private businesses, he made them profitable even though the process was painful, people had to be laid off, etc (you realize that this is going to happen too, with the budget cuts and all)…so, I think he’s in the best position of all candidates to actually balance the budget (cut the spending, etc)…he did that in the past, despite a lot of people here on HA, seem to want it both ways, balancing budgets with no lay offs, no tax raises, etc…this won’t be possible save from in some utopia in some people’s heads…or well, something that looks ore like a dystopia :-(…

jimver on January 2, 2012 at 4:29 PM

Comment pages: 1 4 5 6