Polls Don't Tell Full Story of Nevada Caucuses

Elko, Nev. - The latest polling data from the Las Vegas Review Journal is as follows: 

  • Mitt Romney 45%
  • Newt Gingrich 25%
  • Rick Santorum 11%
  • Ron Paul 9%
  • Undecided 9%

This is a huge jump for Romney. The last poll in late December had him in first but with a much smaller lead over Gingrich.

  • Mitt Romney 33%
  • Newt Gingrich 29%
  • Ron Paul 13%
  • Rick Santorum 3%

Paul's support is surpringsly low for somebody who has been campaiging here for months, and had a campaign apparatus on the ground since 2008. While Romney has rock-solid support here and is expected perhaps to even break the 50% mark for the first time in the nominating process, Paul's Nevada campaign boss, Carl Bunce, dismissed the results in an interview with the LVRJ, saying Paul could still win:

"If turnout is higher than 65,000 to 70,000, then more Romney people and more supporters of other candidates are coming up, then we might have some trouble," said Carl Bunce, the Nevada chairman of the Paul campaign. "But we have the numbers to win. We just have to turn them out."

Bunce dismissed the poll results, saying most Paul supporters refuse to participate or lie in surveys because of a bad experience in Nevada four years ago. He said Sen. John McCain's campaign did robocalls to identify Paul supporters and then sidelined them at the state party convention. McCain won the GOP nomination, but the state GOP convention was shut down before delegates could be counted and after Paul supporters tried to take over the meeting from the floor.

"A lot of the political activists don't answer those polls, or answer falsely," Bunce said. "I'm always skeptical of polls."

Not only are Paul and Romney the only ones campaigning outside of Reno and Las Vegas, they are the only ones who have built statewide networks here. Gingrich has been playing catch-up everywhere since his win in South Carolina, as his campaign was built more on free media than it was on a traditional organization. Santorum's shoestring operation bailed on Florida when it was clear they were wasting their time and quickly bought air time in Nevada for tough ads like this

These polls are tricky, because caucuses are a completely different animal than a straight primary. Voters have many opportunities to change their minds during a caucus, because they go on for a few hours. They require a deeper understanding of process and devotion to candidate that goes beyeond spending 10 minutes at a polling station. Paul has this in his base of support here. He could perform much better on Saturday than polls are indicating. 

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  • ||

    that's a guinea pig, not a gerbil. ffs.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    What does it matter if he's Italian?

  • ||

    you're ok with illegal immigrant rodents voting in our elections?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Tancredo is not an illegal!

  • ||

    That's a-spicy meat-a-ball!

  • Audrey the Liberal||

    Rats are the best rodent pet. Very charismatic when not eating grain stores and spreading plague.

  • Irate in Louisiana||

    In that case, he's probably not even registered.

  • Paul||

    What's been the history of polling data on Paul vs. actual primary results on Paul?

    I'm too lazy to look it up, so if any RP followers know off the top of your heads, appreciated.

  • CE||

    The election results in primary states have matched the polls fairly closely. In caucus states, Ron Paul does slightly better than the polls indicate.

  • ||

    Of course he does. He may not have many supporters, but they are loud and devoted to the cause.

  • death panelist||

    Ron Paul RCP averages vs. actual results so far in 2012...

    FL: RCP = 10.3% / Actual = 7.0%
    SC: RCP = 13.8% / Actual = 13.0%
    NH: RCP = 17.5% / Actual = 22.9%
    IA: RCP = 21.5% / Actual = 21.4%

  • Paul||

    Hmm, it's more all over the map than I expected.

  • Paul||

    Or well, not it's not. I read the last two wrong. So NH was the only one where polling was under...hmm.

  • CE||

    The telephone polls in a caucus state are irrelevant, because turnout is so low. Everyone says they voted in the previous caucus, but few actually did.

  • kinnath||

    The party apparatus knows who voted in the last caucus and the one before that and so on.

    This is why becomming party chairman for a county is a really big thing.

  • Joe M||

    He could perform much better on Saturday than polls are indicating.

    I'm really hoping most voters in Nevada just slack about actually getting out to their caucuses, and Paul is able to clean up here. With Romney showing such a big lead, a lot of people might not bother, since it's a "done deal".

  • jj||

    I agree with you. But it is a crying shame that we are left to this kind of hoping. I used to hope that Paul could win these states with a popular vote.

    America is not ready for our radiant ideology. :P

  • ¢||

    For a high school "battle of the bands" where the winner was chosen by the audience filling in a bubble next to the battlin'-est band's name, my teenage noise-punk type combo temporarily renamed itself Vote Here. Because LOL rite? And we played a Flipper song, and it went on for forever, because also LOL.

    We won, because we were going to win no matter what (only "real" band at school), and the prize was we got to play for five fucking hours (we spent a few minutes learning eighty or so Ramones and Misfits songs) at some homecoming-or-whatever "dance," which we totally ROOONED.

    While billed as Vote Here.

    (This cool-story-bro is also a parable applicable to the Romney nomination.)

  • ||

    "America is not ready for our radiant ideology."

    Ideology like this I can do without.


    “We welcome Rev. Kayser’s endorsement and the enlightening statements he makes on how Ron Paul’s approach to government is consistent with Christian beliefs. We’re thankful for the thoughtfulness with which he makes his endorsement and hope his endorsement and others like it make a strong top-three showing in the caucus more likely,” said Ron Paul 2012 Iowa Chairman Drew Ivers.

    Reached by phone, Kayser confirmed to TPM that he believed in reinstating Biblical punishments for homosexuals — including the death penalty

  • mr simple||

    Reached by phone, Kayser confirmed to TPM that he believed in reinstating Biblical punishments for homosexuals — including the death penalty

    And this has what to do with our or Paul's ideology? Non sequitur

  • ||

    "And this has what to do with our or Paul's ideology?"

    Damned if I know. You might want to ask Drew Ivers. He is Paul's Iowa Chairman who says that Rev. Kayser claims "...Ron Paul’s approach to government is consistent with Christian beliefs."
    It looks to me that Kayser's Christian beliefs include executing homosexuals.
    I would hope Ron Paul would reject such an endorsement. Has he?

  • 421||

    keep the dream alive! Ron Paul is the only one who can get to the bottom of the chem-trails and the truth behind 911

  • mr simple||

    911 is a joke in your town.

  • 421||

    Ron Paul 2012 for the troof!!!

  • Spiny Norman||

    The announcer on the Santorum ad sounds Canadian. I sure hope he's here legally.

  • ||

    the ad could be produced in Canada, like everything else on TV these days.

  • Joe M||

    Here's a reason to be hopeful. In 2008, Paul was polling dead last, but he came in second, and was the only candidate other than Romney to outperform his poll numbers at the time. So odds are he'll do the same thing this time.

  • ||

    Here's hoping that Ron Paul supporters don't make assholes of themselves at the NV convention this year. Yeah, I know they had reason to be upset, but asking like dicks was not the solution. I'm wondering if the measly 9% stated above isn't the result of blowback.


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