Why for betting state polling is a better pointer
Every day at the moment the excellent Real Clear Politics site is putting up the above table showing the national polling average for the Republican nomination compared with what it was at this stage in the 2012 and 2008 races.
As can be seen the national averages from the last two Presidential elections bore no relation to who in fact won the Republican party nominations.
The reason is quite a straightforward. The decision as to who is the nominee is not decided by one national election on one day but by separate 50 states battles spread over five months. Opinions can change with one contest influencing the next. The first of these takes place in Iowa on February 1st.
Voters living in the first states to decide have a totally different experience of how the election is spanning out than in the rest.They can’t switch on their TVs or answer the phone without being subject to one form of campaigning or another.
To take Iowa for example where upwards of 120k people are expected to take part in the Republican ccaucuses. By mid-December 26 million dollars had been spent by the rival Republican contenders in the state and that is expected to more than double by the time we get to the actual day. Thatâ€™s a huge amount of money to reach not many people.
Iowans and New Hampshire residents are being overwhelmed. Elsewhere in the US there is very little activity but the national polls cover the whole of the country.