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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Explaining Movement in the Polls

Why is Herman Cain doing so well? CNN reports:
According to the CNN/ORC International Poll released Tuesday morning, 34% of Republicans and independents who lean towards the GOP say that Cain is the most likable candidate in the race, putting him at the top of the list a few points ahead of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

"The same pattern holds when we ask about the economy," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Among Republicans, 33% say that Cain is most likely to get the economy moving, again putting him in the top spot."

But electability may be Cain's Achilles heel. Only 18% of Republicans say that Cain is most likely to win the GOP nomination, and only a quarter say he has the best chance of beating President Barack Obama in the general election.

Who is the most electable candidate, according to GOP voters?

"Mitt Romney - and it's not even close," says Holland. "Four in ten Republicans say that Romney is most likely to get the party's nomination, and 51% say he has the best chance of beating Obama in the fall. On both those measures, Romney's numbers have improved dramatically, while Texas Gov. Rick Perry has been sinking like a stone."
Cain has been getting good press, according to the Project for Excellence in Journalism:
Rick Perry received the most favorable coverage of any candidate for president during the first five months of the race, but now Herman Cain is enjoying that distinction, according to a new survey which combines traditional research methods and computer algorithmic technology to code the level and tone of news coverage.

Perry lost the mantle of the candidate enjoying the most favorable treatment to Herman Cain two weeks ago, after the Florida straw poll in which Cain scored a surprise victory. Meanwhile, though he has often led in the polls, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney has received less coverage and less positive coverage than the shifting casts of frontrunners -- and that remains true even now. He ranks second in the amount of attention received, and the tone of that narrative has been unwaveringly mixed.

A poll from the Pew Research Center suggests that debates may be having some effect:

According to the latest survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted Oct. 13-16 among 1,007 adults, about a third (36%) of Republicans say they have watched a debate this year, which is comparable to the number that said this in July 2007 (38%). Interest among Democrats and independents is understandably much lower, with only a quarter of Democrats (25%) and independents (24%) reporting that they have watched any of the debates. This compares to significantly broader viewership in 2007 (45% of Democrats and 38% of independents) in July 2007, when there were contested primaries in both parties.

And, in a sign of their engagement this election cycle, about half of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents who say they agree with the Tea Party say they have watched any of the GOP debates (53%). This compares with only 21% among Republicans and Republican-leaners who do not identify with the Tea Party movement.

...

The influence of the debates is broader among Republicans and GOP-leaning independents; about four-in-ten (43%) who watched say the events have led them to change their minds about which of the candidates they might support. Fully half (51%) of Tea Party Republicans and Republican-leaners say the debates have led them to reassess which candidate they might support.