Newt Gingrich appears to be fizzling in Iowa as Ron Paul gains steam, according to a Public Policy Polling survey released Tuesday. The poll indicates that likely GOP primary voters currently favor Gingrich by 22 percent, Paul by 21 percent and Romney by 16 percent. Gingrich’s percentage is down 5 points from last week’s PPP numbers, and his overall favorability rating is down 19 points. His surge has been attributed to the Tea Party, but support seems to be declining, as he was previously favored by 35 percent of self-identified Iowa Tea Partiers, and the number has now dropped to 24 percent. Paul’s overall favorability has increased 16 points in the past week, with most of his support coming from young, first time voters and Independents. When only Republicans were surveyed, Gingrich maintained a six point lead over Paul.
Public Policy Polling Methodology
Public Policy Polling is considered a Democratic polling organization, however the pollster’s methodology states that polling expert Nate Silver has observed more favorability for Republicans in PPP surveys. The sample consisted of 555 likely Iowa Republican caucus voters, surveyed between December 11 to December 13 via automated phone interviewing of landline phone numbers which were gathered from voter registration lists. Voting registration status was confirmed during interviews, and this poll only included respondents who stated they intended to participate in the Republican Iowa Caucuses. Data was weighted for demographics and adults in household. The margin of error was +/-4.2 percent.
Possible PPP Methodology Flaws
Public Policy Polling joins Rasmussen in defending automated phone polling. The pollsters state that automated recordings eliminate interviewer bias in voice, inflection and question order. However, the NCPP maintains that live interviewing is the preferred method, since some respondents may make incorrect selections, become confused, or hang up early when being polled by a recording. The PPP poll also excluded respondents who are exclusive cell phone users, which is not recommended in polling because many voters do not use landlines as their primary phones.
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