Thursday, January 25, 2007

Pres08: National vs State Primary Polls

Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani are doing better in national polling than in the critical early primary and caucus states. Clinton leads all national Democratic polls, while Giuliani leads McCain in 33 of 43 national polls. But neither candidate does as well when we turn to the polling from the early voting states. Conversely, John Edwards does considerably better in all but two state polls than he does nationally.

Clinton's national support is significantly higher than it is in Iowa and New Hampshire. Nevada and South Carolina (with only 3 polls together) are just about equal to her national standing.

Giuliani has seen some convergence in state and national polls, though his current national support is still above support in three of the states, IA, NH and SC.

The sharpest contrast is with Edwards who does considerably better in IA, NH and SC than he does nationally. Nevada is again the state closest to his national standing.

McCain, Obama and Gingrich show the states spread around their national numbers. McCain in particular has seen some apparent decline in NH over the past 12 months, bringing initially favorable NH number down to his national levels. South Carolina with only 4 polls appears to have slipped a bit as well, but remains well above the national. In Iowa, McCain does no better but also not much worse than he does nationally. The trend in NH must, of course, be of concern for his campaign. Likewise, McCain's national support has been essentially flat over the past year.

In Obama's case, there are relatively few polls so trends are not yet clear. There is not a wide gap between state and nation, though the national is a bit above most of the state polls.

Gingrich is still well behind Giuliani and McCain and his state polling if pretty evenly distributed above and below the national trend. Given the limited nature of his campaign so far there have been few events to affect these trends.

As we all know, the early primary states are not a representative sample of the country, so divergence of state from national polls is to be expected. But the political consequences of doing well nationally but less well in these four states can be profound. We'll keep an eye on these trends.