Gary Langer on Iowa

Over the past few weeks I have been in regular phone and email contact with Gary Langer, founder of Langer Research Associates and one of America’s top pollsters.

His view of the coming Republican Primaries has been fascinating, and the sheer depth of his understanding of voter trends is demonstrated by his analysis of the Iowa Caucuses here.

A few key points:

  • Romney scored well among pragmatist voters and those most concerned with electability, but he performed weakly among those for whom ‘true conservatism’ and ‘moral character’ was the priority
  • Rick Santorum capitalised on Romney’s weaknesses, taking very conservative voters, evangelicals and those concerned with moral character. He also did well among late deciders. But with evangelicals accounting for 58% of his vote, there is a questionmark over how well he will do in states with fewer evangelicals taking part. Also, he may not withstand the increased public scrutiny that is bound to come after his strong showing in Iowa
  • Ron Paul did very well among young voters and independents, who out turned out in unusually large numbers. However, he won’t be able to appeal to this group in closed primaries
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