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February 4, 2008

Super Tuesday Polling: Mittmentum?

Rasmussen and Real Clear Politics have done their best to keep up with the Super Tuesday primaries across over 20 states, and the polling seems to show a slight shift in momentum for Mitt Romney, at least in California. Mitt has pulled into a tie with John McCain, whose support among moderates made this a more likely win for the Arizona Senator:

In California, Republican Primary Voters are evenly divided between John McCain and Mitt Romney. The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey finds McCain attracting 38% of the vote and Romney earning an identical 38%. Mike Huckabee is a distant third at 10%, Ron Paul picks up 6%, and 6% say they’ll vote for some other candidate.

Earlier in the week, McCain had a small advantage over Romney. Since then, Giuliani dropped out of the race and endorsed McCain. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger also endorsed the GOP frontrunner. While those events may have helped McCain, a conservative backlash for anybody-but-McCain appears to have helped Romney.

Romney leads 42% to 37% among conservative voters while McCain leads by eleven points among political moderates. McCain has a slight lead among men while Romney leads among women.

Zogby has Romney on top by eight in the Golden State. If that holds, Romney could pull off an impressive win and secure more delegates than he'd dreamed in California. Zogby, however, is normally an unreliable predictive indicator, and Rasmussen's polling has proven more reliable than most.

Rasmussen also has Romney behind by four nationally in its daily tracking poll. That is a step backwards for Romney, who had tied McCain in its tracking poll last week. The tracking polls are not as reliable as the standard Rasmussen polling either, but the fluctuations probably capture the volatility in the race accurately enough.

Real Clear Politics' polling aggregates don't show much Mittmentum elsewhere. Romney only has a commanding lead in Massachusetts, while McCain leads by significant margins in at least a half-dozen major states, including the winner-take-all New York, New Jersey, and Arizona primaries. If Romney plans to battle McCain to a draw tomorrow, he'll have to overcome a 200-delegate head start.


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