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The next series of updates are for candidates with only three polls (or less) conducted in hypothetical 2012 general election match ups against President Obama. As such, the trend analyses for Tim Pawlenty, Ron Paul and Jeb Bush are more susceptible to wild fluctuations given the relatively scant level of data available compared to the four candidates (Gingrich, Huckabee, Palin and Romney) covered thus far. These are clearly cases where other variables -- presidential approval and state of the economy -- may be helpful in balancing out polls like the Politico internet poll. In the midst of many other polls, that survey merely appears as an outlier. It is still an outlier for a candidate with just a few polls against Obama, but in such a case, it serves as a distinct statistical anchor. In such cases, the straight average "feels" more trustworthy for the three candidates with more than one survey conducted against Obama.
That is true for Tim Pawlenty. The Politico survey underestimates both Obama's and Pawlenty's shares of poll respondents given the other data available. It is difficult to fathom, for instance, either Obama below 40% support or Pawlenty, despite a lack of national name recognition, mustering just more than 20% support. Now, to be completely honest, a simple average is just as susceptible to outliers, but the numbers for Obama are much closer to the range in which they lie against the Big Four prospective Republican candidates. Similarly, Pawlenty's numbers, while still low, are at least closer the level of support an unknown, yet named, Republican candidate.
More than anything, this may have been what spurred Pawlenty and his inner circle to produce and release the video FHQ mentioned on Thursday. The timing was a bit abnormal, but the intent is clear, despite nary a mention of a presidential race or 2012. And hopefully, it will serve as an impetus for other polling outlets to include Pawlenty in future surveys. Political junkies thinking of 2012 can hope so at least. Trips to Iowa certainly aren't hurting those chances either.
|2012 Presidential Trial Heat Polling (Obama v. Pawlenty)|
|Poll||Date||Margin of Error||Sample||Obama||Pawlenty||Undecided|
|Politico [Internet]||July 9-14, 2010||+/- 3.1%||1011 likely voters||39||21||40|
|Public Policy Polling||Dec. 4-7, 2009||+/- 2.8%||1253 likely voters||48||35||17|
|Public Policy Polling||Oct. 16-19, 2009||+/- 3.5%||766 likely voters||50||30||20|