By request I'm taking a look at a new poll of California Republicans by Probolsky Research. It shares problems I'm seeing in many early Presidential polls, but I am surprised at one finding that may be bad news for Mitt Romney.
The facts: The poll is of 750 likely voters (LV determination made by recent voting history in primaries and in general elections), MoE [3.7]. It was a telephone poll but no specific indication is given of mobile phone handling. The poll interestingly breaks out whether support is definite, probable, or leaning.
At the top line though, Mitt Romney leads at 22%. Rick Perry is in second at 15%. Among declared candidates Michele Bachmann is in third at 8%. However these numbers are surely skewed by the inclusion of Sarah Palin at 10%, as I expect her support would be split between Perry and Bachmann. All in all though, I find nothing surprising about those numbers. Perry has emerged as a strong contender.
What is surprising though is the breakdown of strength of support. For three of the top names it's pretty even: Bachmann 4.1 definite/4.4 probable, Perry 6.1/7.2, Palin 4.8/5.1. But Romney's support is weaker: 8.5/13.3. That suggests to me that if this poll is accurate, Romney's status as a front runner is weak, and could collapse at any time.