Is Rubio’s Iowa Surge for Real?

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Updating my earlier post, I would like to point out an article in today’s Washington Examiner explaining the most recent Iowa polling from Opinion Savvy and Emerson College and handicapping the reality of the Marco Rubio surge:

Opinion Savvy, pulling from a list of registered voters, asked voters if they would caucus. If voters answered maybe or no, they were excluded. The second screen was for them to describe their polling place: is it a church, a school, or something else. If they said they didn’t know, they were excluded.

Dramatically restricting the sample to only the most informed, most likely caucus goers is probably what brought Trump down to 20 percent in Opinion Savvy’s poll. Quinnipiac, for instance, showed Trump’s lead dependent on first-time caucus-goers.

As for the Big Mo:

Momentum is an impossibly vague term in election analysis, but it’s not always meaningless…

Over a shorter timeframe (more analogous to Santorum’s surge) Rubio has gone from 10.8 percent in the RCP average 10 days ago to 16.9 percent today. That 16.9 percent includes his record-high 19 percent from Opinion Savvy and 22 percent from Emerson, with its very small sample size. If you exclude those, Rubio is at 15.4 percent.

A more likely source of new support for Cruz or Rubio would be the supporters of minor candidates.

The tighter survey techniques certainly add confidence to the late surveys. Moreover, it gives one pause to accept uncritically any media polling that does qualify caucus goers in the same manner. Who is right? We’ll know tonight.

Clint Cline is the president of Design4, a national media and messaging firm based in Florida.