Monday Iowa Caucus Update

We got two new polls Monday morning, from Insider Advantage and ARG. Not much changes.

There seems to be a bit more variation in Paul’s polling, and a shade more consistency in Santorum’s trend. Romney leads consistently but by varying amounts, notably low in PPP’s last poll.

The bottom line is “Expectations” make it a Romney, Paul or Santorum, Gingrich order of finish. Anything else is a “Surprise”.

PPP Iowa Caucus Update

Probably the last Iowa poll. PPP has Romney down 5 from DMR/Selzer’s result. Santorum up a bit.

My trend estimate says Romney will finish first with a tossup between Paul and Santorum. If you believe in momentum, then Santorum has an advantage there. Newt seems likely 4th with little apparent movement up from Perry and Gingrich slide seemingly stabilized.

If Romney does finish 1st, I would expect everyone else to go to South Carolina, except for Paul and Huntsman. Latest Suffolk poll shows huge Romney lead in NH. You can’t stop him in NH so give it to him and move to his most challenging state of the first four.

PPP is more bearish on Romney than my trends but I’ll stick with the trend. Trend is also slightly worse for Paul, making me give Santorum a slight edge for 2nd.

DMR/Selzer Iowa Caucus update

The Des Moines Register/Selzer & Co. poll is out from Iowa. This is the poll most of us pay more attention to than any other. In this case, the poll shows very much what my trend estimate has been saying.

The minor discrepancies are my trend estimate is a bit lower on Ron Paul. DMR/Selzer puts Paul at 22, while I see him just under 20, or 18 if you believe the red “sensitive” estimator. Selzer’s last two days of polling put Paul at 18, or even 16 for the last day of polling. (It is unusual to report results for single days since the sample size is low and margin of error high. Still, the dynamics of this race are so interesting this is a nice addition to the data reported, even if we should add considerable caution. In effect I do the same by reporting the red sensitive estimator which similarly is more subject to random noise than my standard gray trend estimate.)

The other discrepancy is Rick Santorum, who DMR/Selzer puts at 15 while my trend suggests a shade higher, 16 or 17. Here the last day or two of DMR/Selzer puts Santorum’s surge much higher: 21% and competitive with Romney. A finish this high Tuesday night would be extremely attention getting.

Other candidates are close in trend and DMR/Selzer poll. In particular neither my trend nor the poll see any evidence of a Perry surge late. We both see Gingrich in 4th though not significantly ahead of Perry. Bachmann shows no evidence of a last minute recovery. Huntsman remains in New Hampshire.