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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

The Ultimate Proof That Early National Primary Polls Don’t Matter

So you’ve probably heard any number of analysts say that you must take early national polls of presidential nominating contests with a shaker of salt. They mainly measure name ID, and in any event, we don’t have a national primary, so who cares about the early preferences of people in high population states that don’t hold primaries until the field has already been culled or the contest decided?
But the ultimate proof of the limits of such polls is the new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey that shows Rudy Giuliani leading the 2012 field. Yes, Rudy Giuliani, who regularly led the early 2008 polls before (predictably) crashing and burning in the early states. Rudy’s done nothing much since 2008 other than make money, so it’s reasonably clear there’s not some news-driven surge of retroactive appreciation for the man, particularly among the totally dominant conservative wing of the GOP that would never in a million years accept a pro-choice presidential nominee.
The fact that Rudy would lead any 2012 poll, though, even for a moment, is indeed a pretty good sign of how wide-open the race is at this point. His fans should not get carried away and deduce he should actually run again, unless they think everyone else will drop out.

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