McCain on fire?! ARG comes out with completely insane early-state polls

McCain in front of Romney in Iowa?! Really?!

Well, probably not. But it still points to the McCain rise, and, combined with his NH strength, this could be the start of a new media narrative. And we all know how much the media loves to help John McCain.

I really apologize for my inability to post about most things other than polls today. But with ARG releasing completely insane polls of Iowa and New Hampshire, I have trouble staying away. The Democratic numbers are very much in line with everything else we have been seeing (toss-up in Iowa, Clinton rising again in New Hampshire), but the GOP results are out of the loop entirely:

  • In Iowa, Hillary is ahead 29% to Obama's 25% and Edward's 18%. Plus and minus the margin of error, we get every other poll we've seen in the past 24 hours. But here again the trendlines are fascinating: Obama led in late November 27% to 25%. The Obama momentum has clearly been halted.
  • In New Hampshire, Clinton is back up by a solid margin: 38% to 24% for Obama, and 15% for Edwards. This confirms other polls we saw this week showing Clinton regaining her footing.

  • But GOP numbers are out of control. In Iowa, it's Huckabee with 28%, McCain with 20% (?!!!) and Romney at 17%, barely ahead of Rudy's 13%. The bad news for Huck here: Only 38% of his backers say they are definite, versus 80%+ of McCain and Romney voters.
  • In New Hampshire, Romney and McCain are tied at 26%, with Giuliani at 16% and Huckabee at 11%.
Obviously, the hugly shocking numbers are from the GOP side here -- and I am inclined to just dismissed the Iowa poll as a complete outlier. There has been absolutely no survey showing even the faintest McCain surge in the state -- and the AZ Senator has no ad, no organization and plan to compete in the caucuses. Even if there were to be some small movement, it would not really be able to go anywhere.

But there is no question that McCain is really surging in the past two weeks -- starting with his three big newspaper endorsments! Iowa might be a huge reach for him, but New Hampshire is not. And you can imagine that the media will go crazy if McCain pulls even a strong third in Iowa. Forget the Democratic race or the GOP victor, the story will be McCain's surge, his comeback, his magnetic power... and he might very well turn up to be unstoppable in New Hampshire. And it goes without saying that however much Romney could possibly accomodate himself from being second in Iowa, he cannot possibly go on in the race if he comes third.

So does this mean McCain could become the Republican nominee? Well, the Politico is starting to print stories celebrating his comeback. And you can be sure more media coverage will ensure, as this is one storyline the press wants desparetly. Don't put too much stock in that Iowa poll -- but the New Hampshire one is confirmed by most other polls that show some major McCain movement in the state. If Romney stays weak in Iowa, he could be toast in NH as well.

Ultimately, a McCain victory in NH could be the ideal scenario for Giuliani who could probably swamp McCain in money and organization in the states that are coming after -- especially as McCain would be unlikely to win in South Carolina so the field would stay very muddied. So a McCain victory in NH would be just one step.

But it could have an unlikely victim: This could prove a huge problem for Barack Obama. If NH independents are energized by McCain again, they will massively flock to him and vote -- denying Obama his strongest constituency to win the primary on January 8th.

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  • All of the Republican Candidates have surged in the last six months. Right now, the Republican base cannot determine who they want to support. From what I can forecast, Romney and Huckabee are fighting for first, with Guliani close by in third. McCain is pesky, but he does not have strong support among the base. Thompson's support fizzled shortly after his announcement that he was running in September. I do not believe Paul or Hunter will sneak into the race.

    By Anonymous Southern Slav, At 20 December, 2007 19:59  

  • ARG's numbers have been out of whack with everyone else's numbers all year long. I just disregard any ARG polls automatically.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 21 December, 2007 09:28  

  • Given that later NH polls -- Boston Globe and Gallup -- show NH as either a tie or Obama ahead I think we can put these ARG polls to rest for what they were --- BS.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 24 December, 2007 00:09  

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