As has become his habit lately, in a recent opinion piece, Newt Gingrich presents the current polling numbers for the Republican presidential nomination race as though they are infallible. He once again fails to acknowledge the inherent volatility and uncertainty of early flash polls. He should know better.
As I’ve already pointed out here, it’s important to understand that flash polls conducted this early in a primary process often fail to accurately reflect the ultimate decision that voters will make several months from now. There are still over 100 days before the Iowa Caucus.
Speaking of polls, I was at my grandson’s birthday party this past weekend in California, and my son’s in-laws were there. I was told that one of the uncles was a Trump supporter. Naturally, I started up a conversation with him, and when I asked him what he thought of Ron DeSantis, he said he didn’t know anything about DeSantis…
Why is this notable? Because if this guy is polled, who do you suppose he’ll say he supports? Now, admittedly, as I said, he is a Trump supporter, so it’s expected that he would say exactly that to a pollster. But my larger point is that DeSantis is still not a well-known quantity to many voters in the Republican Party.
This point is, despite Newt’s prognostications, based almost entirely on the polls, this primary race has a long way to go still.
Moreover, there are several reasons why these polls may not be a reliable indicator of the future. First and foremost, voters’ opinions can still change over time as they learn more about the candidates and their policies and view their performances in debates and local town halls.
And by the way, candidates who live by the polls can also sometimes die by the polls.
🇺🇲 NATIONAL POLL: YouGov (B+)
(D) Biden 45% [+2]
(R) Trump 40% [-4]
— InteractivePolls (@IAPolls2022) September 27, 2023
I am a believer in free markets, which rely heavily on data. Political markets are no different. More data can result in changing public opinion. Furthermore, the dynamics of a race can dramatically change due to unforeseen events, policy shifts, or even scandals.
It is simply impossible to predict what developments may occur over the course of a primary campaign that could significantly alter the trajectory of the race.
As the primary campaign progresses, individuals may shift their support to a different candidate based on new information or evolving circumstances. As more information is provided to the political marketplace, the more we can reasonably expect public opinion and voter attitudes to change.
In the case of Governor Ron DeSantis, the truth is we really don’t know what is working or not working unless our only metric is flash polls. If the sole objective of the DeSantis campaign is to lead in the national polls, then clearly, it isn’t working.
However, if that isn’t the DeSantis campaign’s sole objective, and the objective is instead to solidify a grassroots, ground support turnout model in Iowa, then we won’t know if that’s working for at least another 90 days.
Ron DeSantis has a solid track record, has consistently demonstrated his commitment to conservative principles, and has shown an amazing ability to deliver on the issues Republican voters care about. He has successfully navigated tremendous challenges and has also championed policies that align with the values and priorities of the Republican Party.
Furthermore, it is important to note that Governor DeSantis still possesses a strong base of support among Republican voters.
Team DeSantis is growing stronger on X. So many great accounts and all of them, even smaller ones are growing at a rapid pace. People are hungry for the truth and an alternative to the Trump clown show. DeSantis provides that.
Keep up the great work!
— Unfiltered☢Boss (@Unfilteredboss1) September 27, 2023
Primary campaigns are dynamic, and the candidates in the race still have the opportunity to regain momentum and build support as the race progresses. To suggest the race is over 110 days before the first votes are cast amounts to nothing more than, well, election interference.
Lastly, by relying solely on early polling numbers to determine the viability of the DeSantis campaign, Newt Gingrich is demonstrating a shortsightedness unworthy of a historian. So, with all due respect to the former House Speaker, this race is very much still fluid, and there are still ample opportunities for candidates, including and perhaps even especially, Ron DeSantis, to capture the hearts and minds of Republican voters.