The Numbers within the Numbers

Often, "reading between the lines" of a writer's prose will reveal a more interesting message than the one the writer ostensibly intended.  Similarly, by parsing the data - the "numbers within the numbers" of a political poll, one can sometimes glean some interesting insights.

Today, Rasmussen publishes a poll intended to show how a Lou Dobbs independent presidential run would affect the 2012 presidential election if the GOP candidates were Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee or Sarah Palin.  Here are the numbers:

Mitt Romney (R):  34%
Barack Obama (D)  42%
Lou Dobbs (I):  14%
Not Sure:  11%

Mike Huckabee (R):  36%
Barack Obama (D):  42%
Lou Dobbs (I):  12%
Not Sure:  10%

Sarah Palin (R):  37%
Barack Obama (D):  44%
Lou Dobbs (I):  12%
Not Sure:  7%

The article's purpose and headline is, "Dobbs in 2012 Gets Up to 14% of Vote, Hurts GOP Chances," but a look at these numbers reveals an additional message:  The GOP candidate who does best against Obama in this scenario, albeit by a small amount, is... Sarah Palin.  She also generates the fewest undecideds.

Furthermore, the same article reports the results if "Lou Dobbs" is replaced with "Some Other Candidate."  In that scenario, among Romney, Huckabee and Palin, Romney does best, tying Obama at 44-44.  But Palin comes in second-best, trailing Obama by only three points, 46-43 - with a full three years to go before the election.

Elites - in both parties - who dismiss a Palin candidacy may be due for a rude awakening.

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