Mitt Romney is way ahead of Newt Gingrich in several of the states that vote this month, and Gingrich has lost his lead nationally, too, since he was beaten in the Florida primary. The numbers indicate the drama of the primary election is over, even if only a tiny fraction of delegates have been awarded. Here's our guide to today's polls and which ones matter.
Findings: Romney has the support of 45 percent of Nevadans likely to vote in the Republican caucus Saturday. Gingrich trails him with 25 percent, followed by Rick Santorum with 11 percent, and Ron Paul with 9 percent.
Pollster: Las Vegas Review Journal/ 8NewsNow/ Cannon Survey Center
Methodology: Phone interviews of 426 Republicans who plan to vote Saturday between January 27 and January 31 -- before Romney won the Florida primary.
Why it matters: It doesn't look like this is going to be the vote where Gingrich comes roaring back. And The New York Times' Nate Silver points out it's not looking good in Arizona or Michigan either.
Caveat: In fact, it's possible Romney will destroy his competition by even wider margins. Slate's Dave Weigel points out that in 2008, polls showed Romney with 26 percent, John McCain with 21 percent, and Paul at the back of the pack with 7 percent. The actual vote was Romney with 51 percent, followed by Paul with 14 percent.
Findings: Romney leads Gingrich in Arizona 48 percent to Gingrich's 24 percent. Santorum has 13 percent. The state votes February 28.
Methodology: Robocalls to 750 likely Republican primary voters on February 1.
Why it matters: There's a large enough Latino population in Arizona (16 percent of registered voters) that the Obama campaign thinks it's within the realm of possibility for him to win it. And Romney has frustrated some Republicans with his move rightward on immigration -- he says he'd veto the Dream Act, a promise that 54 percent of Latino voters say would make them less likely to vote for a candidate. And yet Romney is way ahead.
Caveat: Rasmussen leans right.
Findings: Gingrich has lost his national lead: Romney's ahead 31 percent to 25 percent.
Methodology: Tracking poll of 1,159 Republicans and Republican-leaning registered voters from January 28 to February 1.
Why it matters: Gingrich was able to claim that while Romney had destroyed his lead in Florida with negative ads, the folks whose TVs hadn't been blown up still favored him. That is no longer the case. Maybe that's because another Gallup poll this week showed that registered voters thought Romney was more presidential than Gingrich by 59 percent to 39 percent.
Caveat: A big event could change things, theoretically. Like Romney being silly enough to make an appearance with Donald Trump.
Findings: Low-income and high-income Republican voters disagree over how much the government should do to help poor people. Among Republican and Republican-leaning voters making less than $30,000 a year, 57 percent think the government doesn't do enough for the poor. Only 18 percent say it does too much. But those Republican and Republican-leaning voters who make $75,000 or more a year split the other way: of those making $75,000 or more, 44 percent think the government does too much, while only 21 percent think it doesn't do enough. More than half of the low-income set think the American economic system unfairly favors the wealthy; only 28 percent of the high-income folks share that view.
Pollster: Pew Research Center
Methodology: Survey of registered voters from September 22 to October 4.
Why it matters: Pew posted these findings Thursday amid the controversy over Romney's comment that he's not concerned about poor people. Poor people are concerned about poor people, even if they vote Republican. Romney said his campaign is focusing on helping the middle class, not the poor or rich.
Caveat: The poll is older, and voters' opinions could change as the general election heats up and we talk about this stuff all day.