Gallup.Com - Seven Things to Know About the Republican Nomination Contest
1. In December 2007, Gallup polling showed the Republican race shaped up as follows: Rudy Giuliani with 27% of Republican support, Mike Huckabee with 16% of Republican support, Fred Thompson, Mitt Romney and John McCain, all tied with 14% of Republican support. Our Gallup analysis was mainly focused on Giuliani’s positioning and the Huckabee surge. Very little attention was paid to McCain.
2. John McCain tied for third with Fred Thompson in the 2008 Iowa caucuses. Both were behind the winner Mike Huckabee and also behind Mitt Romney.
3. As you know, despite points 1 and 2 above, McCain went on to win the 2008 Republican nomination. In other words, a lot changed once actual voting began in January 2008. And we can expect that a lot can change once voting begins in January 2012.
4. There is a group of Republicans, in our data disproportionately older Republicans and Tea Party supporters, who are apparently the shifters within the GOP. They are most likely to have jumped around looking “for someone to believe in.” They thought Perry was going to be that man, then Cain. Now Newt Gingrich is their favorite, even though he is certainly different than Perry or Cain. Gingrich’s support goes from 26% among 18- to 34-year-old Republicans to 46% among Republicans aged 55 and older, from 28% among liberal/moderate Republicans to 41% among conservative Republicans, and is 25% among those Republicans who do not identify themselves as Tea Party supporters compared to 47% among Tea Party supporters.