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Quinnipiac in OH and PA: Romney leads, Perry leads, Santorum flops

Romney Perry

Quinnipiac put out a pair of new polls, focusing on the Republican primary race in Pennsylvania and in Ohio. They have some problems that limit their utility, but I believe they will get much attention today because of their top line results, so it’s time to take a look anyway.

Why the attention? Romney bucks the national trend again to lead in both states.

The facts: These are university polls of registered Republican voters, mobile and land line handling. 423 Republicans in Ohio for an MoE of 4.8, 541 Republicans in Pennsylvania for an MoE of 4.2.

Yes, unlike some polls we’re seeing, Quinnipiac hasn’t taken the step to filter down to likely primary voters, possibly due to the fact that Ohio’s and Pennsylvania’s primaries aren’t due anytime soon. But still, the poll show this to be a two man race in Ohio with Mitt Romney ahead of Rick Perry 24-20 in Ohio, and no other candidate in double figures. Pennsylvania hasn’t given up on home state Rick Santorum though, putting him in third at 12 behind Romney at 18 and Perry at 16.

In Quinnipiac’s Ohio polling this is a huge shift, naturally, from the previous poll in July. Perry gained 12 and Romney gained 8, while Sarah Palin lost 6 and Michele Bachmann lost 8. From the last Pennsylvania poll in August, we see Perry gaining 8 with Romney losing 2, Santorum losing 2, Palin losing 4, and Bachmann losing 5. I see no clear trend here, but just large shifts in a race that has moved forward for two busy months.

Non-candidate Sarah Palin of course skews things. How might the poll look without her? In Ohio there would be little difference, if the second choices are to be believed. Romney takes 25% of her support (up 6), Perry takes 21% (up 13), and Bachmann has crashed down to 4 (down 16). Quinnipiac did not ask this question in Pennsylvania, nor was a poll without Santorum taken.

These polls are difficult to read as they don’t winnow out people who won’t vote in the primaries, and because they are taken so infrequently. But apart from the Santorum blip in his home state, the polls confirms it: it’s a two man race. And as it turns out, in Ohio Quinnpiac polled the two man race. Perry leads it 42-38. This question would be irrelevant for early states like Iowa, but for these states it just might matter.

So take it as you like. Romney leads. Perry leads. The Sarah Palin distortion effect is less relevant than it once was. It’s a two man race, because Rick Santorum can’t even break past third place in his own state.

Crossposted from Unlikely Voter

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