Green Room

Post-CPAC Poll Results: Sarah Palin is “Winning the Future”… but losing votes?

posted at 2:49 pm on February 15, 2011 by

Maintaining her position from our last poll in December, Sarah Palin again stomps the Hot Air Presidential field by a wide and comfortable margin. Yet Palin was also the top vote shedder in the survey; read on to the “Defections” section for that. Questions? You can reach me here.

Since this latest poll was initially faced with a fair amount of ACORN-style fake-votery, let me say up front that Palin’s numbers are absolutely legitimate: her block of voters is one of the most active on the web, and they turned out in force for this survey.

In second place is Chris Christie, who also fell in behind Palin in December. Third place is, surprisingly, Mitch Daniels, doubling his percentage take from 5% of the vote last time to 10% this time. A surprising fourth place also goes to Herman Cain, the only candidate really in the race right now, at 8%. I think there’s little doubt that Daniels and Cain benefited from a sort of CPAC-bounce; Christie, still a GOP rock star, may have been hurt by being out of the limelight in the last couple of months. Mitt Romney comes in at fifth, slightly strengthening over his last showing, from 5% to 6%.

Before I go on, I’d like to make a couple points. Straw polls like this one don’t really match up with scientific polls in their totals because while scientific polls put a particular emphasis on selecting voters that represent the voting electorate, our poll is oriented toward (fairly) gauging the size and interest of the candidates’ online support, particularly at Hot Air. Online zeal does not necessarily make for eventual Presidents, but it may say something about commitment and a little about the size of the movement. (But not always.) Sarah Palin’s numbers bear out both of these points, notably the former one; while 54% of the average candidate’s supporters consider themselves “very committed” backers, 82% of Sarah Palin voters consider themselves “very committed.”

So we’ve got the breadth (the number of people voting for a candidate) and depth (the level of commitment) enthusiasm metrics nailed down pretty well.

Defections

There’s one last poll question I want to highlight before I drop the results of the other questions in. And it’s this one:

I have a few theories about what’s going on here, although having only polled this once, the analysis will take some fine-tuning over the next few surveys. A few ideas:

  • Palin may lead this “defection poll” simply because she has the most supporters to lose; even Hoover Dam leaks sometimes. It may be related to the volume of Palin for President support, as former Palin supporters may be predisposed to vote in polls featuring heavy Palin support. This may also explain Christie‘s reasonably high defection rate, as well, since he comes in third among the defections. Moreover, both have been reasonably out of the limelight in the last month or so.
  • This doesn’t explain, however, the higher defection rates for Romney, Gingrich, and Huckabee, all top tier Presidential candidates. Their respective Presidential vote volumes are relatively low at Hot Air, and yet their defection rates are abnormally high: in fact, in all cases their defection rates are higher than their actual Presidential vote counts. That result, in turn, seems to conflict with how well they all do in published surveys.

Consider this WaPo poll from last month, and note the frontrunners:

Former Govs. Mike Huckabee (Ark.), Sarah Palin (Alaska) and Mitt Romney (Mass.) make up the top tier of the 2012 Republican presidential field, according to a new poll from the Washington Post and ABC News.

Huckabee took 21 percent of the vote while Palin received 19 percent and Romney 17 percent among Republicans and GOP-leaning independents. No other potential candidate made it into double digits, although former House Speaker Newt Gingrich received 9 percent and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie took 8 percent. The rest of the field received 3 percent or less support.

The ordering’s a bit different, but the grouping is exactly the same: some combination of Palin, Romney, Christie, Gingrich, and Huckabee make up the top tier.

Of course, this survey question may mean that the race is just fluid, with candidates poaching from each other in the early goings. It may also, however, provide us with a new aspect to survey going forward, a sort of “passive support index” which, ironically, may tell us more about what an actual vote may look like (at this point in the process anyway… it’ll be a very negative indicator come 2012) than the Presidential survey we do. Since voters can’t both “support candidate X” and “change their support from candidate X,” it produces what I think is a fairly independent result not especially affected by the volume of any one candidate for President’s supporters. What the result means is, of course, up for debate.  But I do think that as a few of the more minor candidates drop out, that these are the Republican Presidential contenders with the most to gain. (What happens when only two or three candidates remain? I welcome your hypotheses on how those votes will flow.)

Then again, all of these candidates may simply be bleeding supporters that will not be coming back. It could be due to concerns about policy or electability. But while these defections are very real, my gut tells me that’s not the only lesson or impression we should take from that result, at least not quite yet. I think there’s evidence to support that position.

The rest of the poll highlights follow. Click the images to enlarge.

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Comments

WOW! I wasn’t surprised at Palin or West (because that’s who I voted for), but was struck at the male/female ratio on the site. Thanks for the poll!

ucantbserious on February 15, 2011 at 3:09 PM

Interesting. A poll that Palin wins running away described as “Palin losing votes”.

Sigh.

alwaysfiredup on February 15, 2011 at 3:11 PM

alwaysfiredup on February 15, 2011 at 3:11 PM

RIGHT????

ucantbserious on February 15, 2011 at 3:13 PM

Interesting. A poll that Palin wins running away described as “Palin losing votes”.

Sigh.

alwaysfiredup on February 15, 2011 at 3:11 PM

It’s meant to be an eye-catching headline. And it’s true, as it’s true of Romney et al. In fact, that “defections” poll just reaffirms she’s a top contender. No shame in that, at all. And of course, she wins the top survey question, too.

Patrick Ishmael on February 15, 2011 at 3:13 PM

RIGHT????

ucantbserious on February 15, 2011 at 3:13 PM

I was going to say “You can’t be serious,” but… that’s already your name. So, I don’t know if you’re being ironic or what.

Patrick Ishmael on February 15, 2011 at 3:15 PM

In second place is Chris Christie, who also fell in behind Palin in December.

He was my choice. Palin’s a close second though. I’m glad to see Mittens doing so poorly.

Doughboy on February 15, 2011 at 3:18 PM

Patrick Ishmael on February 15, 2011 at 3:15 PM

Was just agreeing with firedup…

ucantbserious on February 15, 2011 at 3:18 PM

Patrick Ishmael on February 15, 2011 at 3:13 PM

It’s not inaccurate and definitely attention grabbing, that’s true. It’s just kind of a running joke: Palin’s poll results are bad? She can’t win! Her poll results are good? The hidden results mean her support is slipping and she can’t win!

At least you didn’t toss in a slam on how stupid Palinistas are. Thank goodness for small favors.

alwaysfiredup on February 15, 2011 at 3:18 PM

This was very interesting. I did not vote on the question of my sex, I am female or age group, over 65. The results of Sarah and Allen are a great match, IMO!
L

letget on February 15, 2011 at 3:19 PM

At least you didn’t toss in a slam on how stupid Palinistas are. Thank goodness for small favors.

alwaysfiredup on February 15, 2011 at 3:18 PM

Well, they’re not stupid. They’re among the more astute and kind in these surveys.

Patrick Ishmael on February 15, 2011 at 3:24 PM

I enjoyed the poll and the subsequent breakdown. Nice job, hope to see more like this as we get closer to the election.

:)

DrAllecon on February 15, 2011 at 3:27 PM

Well, they’re not stupid. They’re among the more astute and kind in these surveys.

Patrick Ishmael on February 15, 2011 at 3:24 PM

Thank you. That was nice.

alwaysfiredup on February 15, 2011 at 3:28 PM

great job patrick…thanks…

agree with above, not as many females took the poll as i would have thought…the age group makes sense…

west did an OUTSTANDING job to say the least

cmsinaz on February 15, 2011 at 3:40 PM

Great job Patrick.

Thanks for taking the time to put this poll together.

A couple of questions.

Was this poll restricted to just registered Hot Air commenters?

If not, can you put together a presidential primary poll of only registered Hot Air commenters?

Hopefully, for the next poll Ed & AP will allow you to pin it at the top left corner for a few days.

Anyway, thanks for the effort.

chief on February 15, 2011 at 3:57 PM

At least you didn’t toss in a slam on how stupid Palinistas are. Thank goodness for small favors.

alwaysfiredup on February 15, 2011 at 3:18 PM

Well, they’re not stupid. They’re among the more astute and kind in these surveys.

Patrick Ishmael on February 15, 2011 at 3:24 PM

Please excuse my wreckless quoting of Springsteen.

You end up like a dog that’s been beat too much
‘Til you spend half your life just covering up

Its just not what we are used to.

TBinSTL on February 15, 2011 at 4:23 PM

Great poll, and I love how you added extra questions, but why the jacksassery in the headline?

She won the poll going away, and yet ….

You guys can’t help yourself.

Again great poll with some interesting questions, but good Lord man, lose the snark. One “Allah” is enough!

gary4205 on February 15, 2011 at 4:30 PM

Palin just won the latest poll at National Review which isn’t exactly a bastion of Palinites.

NoNails on February 15, 2011 at 4:55 PM

Yeah… I too have to add that it sounds like Palin didn’t do well even though she runs away with it…

CCRWM on February 15, 2011 at 4:59 PM

Yeah… I too have to add that it sounds like Palin didn’t do well even though she runs away with it…

CCRWM on February 15, 2011 at 4:59 PM

If this goes to the front page, I’m guessing the headline might change. But if the headline doesn’t change, well…

Patrick Ishmael on February 15, 2011 at 5:04 PM

Don’t you write the headline Patrick?

CCRWM on February 15, 2011 at 5:07 PM

Don’t you write the headline Patrick?

CCRWM on February 15, 2011 at 5:07 PM

In the Green Room, sure. But I don’t the edit front page stuff. Hot Air is just like any newspaper; sometimes they keep the writer’s headline, sometimes they don’t, but whatever the headline becomes, it always reflects what’s in the post. Compare, contrast. Lots of considerations in play, including screen real estate (unnecessarily long titles waste space.)

Patrick Ishmael on February 15, 2011 at 5:13 PM

I will only vote for Palin and if she is treated unfairly in the primary than all hell is going to break out.

oldyeller on February 15, 2011 at 5:15 PM

Published polls may over sample in Democrat strongholds. This seems reasonable due to the fact that they frequently under represent republicans or conservatives and the fact that they always have the conservatives picking the most “center” positions. This would indicate that they are getting new york style “conservatives” and not rest of the country true conservatives.

astonerii on February 15, 2011 at 5:18 PM

Interesting tweet from Tammy Bruce on the NR poll:

@HeyTammyBruce
Girl Wins, Panic Ensues MT @neilflagg Yesterday Lowry was pimping NR poll; 2day he shut it down, no mention of results http://bit.ly/gmOhW5

NoNails on February 15, 2011 at 5:58 PM

Palin wins but, um, loses.

Spinalicious.

kevinkristy on February 15, 2011 at 6:16 PM

NoNails on February 15, 2011 at 5:58 PM

That poll was heavily freep’d all day and the C4P gang pimped it too.

Love to see the RINOs at NRO cringe.

kevinkristy on February 15, 2011 at 6:18 PM

kevinkristy on February 15, 2011 at 6:18 PM

That may be, but you could only vote once.

BTW, I checked out your site and liked it so much I bookmarked it.

NoNails on February 15, 2011 at 7:09 PM

You should have had Thompson in the changed support poll. It would have had an effect, I think.

golfmann on February 15, 2011 at 7:14 PM

Very interesting results. I wasn’t as surprised by the M/F breakdown as ucbs, nor did anything else really surprise me. The longer Palin is out of office, the more I think she’ll lose support.

Something people have mostly forgotten is that Reagan’s run in 1980 was hardly a unity situation. His primary candidacy in ’76 split the party, and the John Anderson third-party candidacy in 1980 had what momentum it enjoyed because Republicans were still significantly split. It isn’t true that a candidate has to have monolithic party support to beat the other party’s candidate. (Bill Clinton won with less than 50% of the popular vote in both his elections, and he lost a chunk each time to the ineffable Ralph Nader.)

There is no Reagan in the list here, but that doesn’t mean the GOP can’t get the Oval Office back in 2012.

J.E. Dyer on February 15, 2011 at 7:44 PM

Patrick Ishmael on February 15, 2011 at 3:15 PM

you should include people’s second choicne next time. That way we can see who is most likely to benefit from people bowing out. I would think If chrisite doesn’t run Mitch or danials would benefit the most and if huck doesn’t run Palin would….

unseen on February 15, 2011 at 8:09 PM

That poll was heavily freep’d all day and the C4P gang pimped it too.

Love to see the RINOs at NRO cringe.

kevinkristy on February 15, 2011 at 6:18 PM

the mistake people make is that those people will not show up at the ballot box. the only two examples that we have in the near term of huge online support followed by flame outs at the ballot box has been Dean and Ron Paul. both played to the younger generation who usally don’t go all in and fail to show up. Obama was able to get some of them to the booths but nothing compare dto his online support.

Palin however gets her support from middle aged people. the ones mature enough not to “phone it in”

her supporters will turn out for polls like this as well as for the actually campaign. The fundraising tells you that. People vote with their money…

Dean and Ron Paul were never able to utilize the web because they went afte rthe wrong demographic. Palin did not make that mistake. She went afte rthe Reagan voter. Which means at least 35-70+ age group…

unseen on February 15, 2011 at 8:15 PM

When Sarah Palin in a period of 3 weeks wins the townhall.com, NRO, the Ace of Spades, the current American Spectator, and now the HA straw polls, some of them decisively as HA, any pundit who chooses to ignore Sarah Palin simply is burying their head in the sand or has an agenda that involves discrediting her accomplishments anytime he or she can.

technopeasant on February 15, 2011 at 8:50 PM

In the Green Room, sure. But I don’t the edit front page stuff. Hot Air is just like any newspaper; sometimes they keep the writer’s headline, sometimes they don’t, but whatever the headline becomes, it always reflects what’s in the post. Compare, contrast. Lots of considerations in play, including screen real estate (unnecessarily long titles waste space.)

Patrick Ishmael on February 15, 2011 at 5:13 PM

Got it…

CCRWM on February 15, 2011 at 9:18 PM

kevinkristy on February 15, 2011 at 6:18 PM

That may be, but you could only vote once.

BTW, I checked out your site and liked it so much I bookmarked it.

NoNails

Same here – great site kevinkristy!

ace tomato on February 15, 2011 at 10:03 PM

Palin/West

hawkman on February 15, 2011 at 10:21 PM

At this point, my criterion for voting in the general election is an “R” after the name. But for voting in the primary, I have to see who is resonating with people. Or, more to the point, who is actually benefiting by the MSM’s attempts to mock and belittle them.

And that will take some time.

I heard a lot of things that I liked in the CPAC videos. I liked Herman Cain’s speech. I liked Mitch Daniels’s speech–a lot. But I’d really like to hear these candidates in debates with each other.

I’m changing my mind about debates. I could go for one GOP debate every three weeks, starting tomorrow. And I would especially like to have a MSM presence (but not dominance) in the format, so that we can see how they handle the Left’s lies and pettifogging.

njcommuter on February 16, 2011 at 5:34 AM

This poll was unserious and pointless. Excluding the real CPAC winner was childish.

shawk on February 16, 2011 at 7:24 AM

Palin wins the nomination going away.

rrpjr on February 16, 2011 at 11:21 AM

technopeasant on February 15, 2011 at 8:50 PM

this

NY Conservative on February 16, 2011 at 6:15 PM

new york style “conservatives” and not rest of the country true conservatives.

astonerii on February 15, 2011 at 5:18 PM

hey hey HEY!! I refudiate your generalizations, there are a few of us left.

NY Conservative on February 16, 2011 at 6:27 PM

I’m happy with the poll results, it reflects the view of many.

Kini on February 17, 2011 at 12:03 AM

Did this post ever make it to the front page?

d1carter on February 26, 2011 at 10:22 AM