Why Gingrich Might Win Iowa

J. Ann Selzer, who has been polling Iowa for decades, discusses the difficulty of predicting the Iowa caucuses. Things can turn – and often have – within a few days of the final vote. Of interest:

In our Bloomberg poll we had an analysis of how many people had been contacted by each of the campaigns. Ron Paul was first, followed by Michele Bachmann. And the secondary analysis was to say, OK, if you've been touched by that campaign, who's your first choice? So we could kind of look and see the effectiveness of those touches. Santorum goes from 3 percent to 6 percent among people his campaign has touched, and that's double, but if you're a small number it's easy to double it. Michele Bachmann gets a one-point lift [among voters her campaign has contacted]. It's not doing her any good.

Who gets the lift is Gingrich. His campaign contact number is high 20s, low 30 percent. But he gets 32 percent first-choice votes among people his campaign has contacted. That's almost double the 17 percent he gets overall in the poll. That number is a very strong number for him. What [voters] have seen of him they liked, and what they have seen of other candidates didn't impress.

Similarly, First Read sizes up Newt's campaign footprint in the early states:

Here’s the big question for Gingrich: Can he capitalize on this momentum — to start airing TV ads and hiring more campaign staffers in the early states? The New York Times says his campaign has hired nine staffers in South Carolina and half a dozen in New Hampshire. But here’s another amazing stat: Gingrich hasn’t spent any money on paid ads in Iowa yet.