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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

News Flash: Iowa Is A Closed Primary/Caucus State- Only Registered Republicans Count

By Susan Duclos

Headline from Democratic leaning Public Policy Polling today blares "Paul Maintains His Lead."

Dig into the article and the poll shows that Paul's lead is mainly with Democrats and Independents and has in fact shrunk among Republican voters.

Paul's strength in Iowa continues to depend on a coalition of voters that's pretty unusual for a Republican in the state. Romney leads 22-20 with those who are actually Republicans, while Paul has a 39-12 advantage with the 24% who are either independents or Democrats.

News Flash: Iowa is a closed primary/caucus state.

Closed primary/caucuses mean that only voters registered with a given party can vote in the primary.

Caveat: Voters may change registration on the day of the primary.

Using PPP's polling from a week ago and again this week, we see that favorable impressions among Democrats rose from 59 percent to 70 percent. Favorability among Independents rose from 60 percent to 63 percent.

Favorability among Republicans fell from 52 percent to 49 percent.

Perhaps a percentage of those Democratic Paul supporters will change their registration to Republican and for the sake of argument lets say a portion of Independents will give up their party freedom to register as a Republican.

How many? Will there be enough that change party affiliation or register to push Paul into a win in Iowa? Are the Democrats that are willing to change party affiliation to Republican, just to participate doing it because they are disappointed in Obama or to cause "mischief ?"

With all the headlines and discussions talking about the Paul lead in Iowa, not much is seen mentioning the fact that Iowa is a closed primary/caucus, so a simple Google search finds some mention although not a whole lot.

Neil Stevens over at RedState on December 13, talks about it.

But these numbers are not as great for Ron Paul as some would have us believe. Ron Paul is only winning among Paul caucusers in the state, and he came in fifth place in 2008 at 10%, well behind Mike Huckabee’s 34%. The only way Paul wins is to register new Republicans by the truckload and then drive them to the caucuses. As the polls show, so far that’s not happening. His supporters are still independents, not Republicans, and thus don’t matter in the final tally.

The bottom line here is a Republican nor Democratic candidate of choice, the eventual nominee, no matter who takes Iowa and/or New Hampshire primaries and caucuses, is chosen by the party faithful not "the other party" and Paul's highest level of support is from Democrats.