Over the course of the last week, there have been four sets of Wisconsin Polls out, with margins of Romney lead of five to ten points over Santorum. All of these have issues with them:
Rasmussen (Romney +13 and Romney +10): Rasmussen’s post-Illinois Primary poll showed an extraordinary 13 point lead for Romney. Because Rasmussen holds back its toplines for all but paying subscribers, it’s hard to judge the veracity of the sample but one blog which reprinted some of its inside the number report showed Rasmussen’s respondents had an 80% favorable rating of Mitt Romney. An extraordinary number considering that Romney’s favorables were only 68% in Illinois which is less rural and less conservative. In liberal Maryland, the rating was only 74%. This suggests that Rasmussen’s sampling of GOP Primary voters in Wisconsin could be pretty severely flawed.
Marquette University(Romney +8): This survey was really not about the presidential primary, but it was added on. Only 190 Republicans took part in the poll. However, 349 ended up answering the Republican primary question. That would mean the Republcian Primary would be made up of 46% Democrats and Independents. While possible, the exit polling from 2008 doesn’t indicate that nor do any of the news stories suggest a surge of Independents and Democrats into the Republican Primary.
Marist (Romney +7): Perhaps the most reliable poll so far, but that’s not saying much. Compared to the 2008 exit poll, this is off a little. Marist shows the state’s Very Conservative as 20%, when in 2008, it was 27% and could be higher thanthat this time around. Liberals made up 22% of Marist’s electorate, but only 10% of turnout in 2008.
WPR/St. Nobert (Romney +5): A dubious poll. It has a small sample, no real toplines as to what demographics were included just why they voted, and a four day polling period. Romney and Santorum are statistically tied, but polls with that high a margin of error are not of much value.
The State’s 2008 electorate was more than 40% rural which is significantly more than Michigan,Ohio, and Illinois. This could lead to Santorum overperforming his poll numbers and this race could be far closer than the current polls suggest.
If Santorum loses the state by two or three points, I have to wonder whether voters will have decided to embrace Romney or responded to the non-stop drumbeat telling them that the race was over, thanks in part to some off-beat polls that suggested it.