July 1, 2015

Poll Watch: Walker Continues to Hold Big Lead in Iowa, Trump Second

Quinnipiac Iowa Republican Caucus

  • Walker – 18% (21)
  • Carson – 10% (7)
  • Trump – 10% (-)
  • Cruz – 9% (12)
  • Paul – 9% (13)
  • Bush – 8% (5)
  • Rubio – 7% (13)
  • Huckabee – 5% (11)
  • Perry – 4% (3)
  • Santorum – 4% (2)
  • Fiorina – 3% (2)
  • Jindal – 3% (1)
  • Kasich – 2% (2)
  • Christie – 1% (3)
  • Graham – 1% (0)
  • Pataki – 0% (-)
  • Undecided – 5% (6)

Which candidates would you definitely NOT support?

  • Trump – 28%
  • Bush – 24%
  • Christie – 18%
  • Graham – 12%
  • Huckabee – 11%
  • All others – single digits

Favorability (Among Republicans):

  • Walker – 66/8 (+58)
  • Carson – 63/7 (+56)
  • Rubio – 60/13 (+47)
  • Jindal – 49/9 (+40)
  • Perry – 61/21 (+40)
  • Cruz – 58/19 (+39)
  • Huckabee – 61/28 (+33)
  • Fiorina – 36/8 (+28)
  • Santorum – 55/27 (+28)
  • Paul – 53/31 (+22)
  • Kasich – 20/11 (+9)
  • Bush – 46/42 (+4)
  • Trump – 42/47 (-5)
  • Pataki – 9/20 (-11)
  • Graham – 20/38 (-18)
  • Christie – 25/59 (-34)

Survey of 666 likely Republican caucus-goers was conducted June 20-29 and has a margin of error of ±3.8%. Numbers in parentheses are from the May Quinnipiac poll.

  9:13 am Iowa Caucuses, Poll Watch  

Poll Watch: CNN Shows Jeb Opening a Wide Lead Nationally, Walker & Rubio Collapsing

CNN/ORC National Republican Primary

  • Bush – 19% (13)
  • Trump – 12% (3)
  • Huckabee – 8% (10)
  • Carson – 7% (7)
  • Paul – 7% (8)
  • Rubio – 6% (14)
  • Walker – 6% (10)
  • Perry – 4% (5)
  • Christie – 3% (4)
  • Cruz – 3% (8)
  • Santorum – 3% (2)
  • Jindal – 2% (1)
  • Kasich – 2% (1)
  • Fiorina – 1% (1)
  • Graham – 1% (1)
  • Pataki – * (3)
  • Undecided – 3% (1)

Survey of 236 registered Republicans and 151 registered independent voters was conducted June 26-28 and has a margin of error of ±5%. Numbers in parentheses are from the May CNN survey.

General Election Matchups

  • Clinton – 54% (51)
  • Bush – 41% (43)
  • Clinton – 56% (49)
  • Rubio – 40% (46)
  • Clinton – 55% (58)
  • Christie – 39% (39)
  • Clinton – 57% (49)
  • Walker – 40% (46)
  • Clinton – 59% (-)
  • Trump – 35% (-)

Survey of registered voters was done June 26-28 and has a margin of error of ±4.5%. Numbers in parentheses are from the May CNN survey.

I’m assuming some kind of wacky sample here for Hillary to be beating everyone by 16-24 points, which is unheard of on a national stage and completely out of whack with the current polling averages showing a 4-10 point lead for Hillary.

  8:54 am Poll Watch  

June 30, 2015

Draft Biden?

Drudge (perhaps just trolling a bit) is headlining a story from RealClearPolitics about a movement to draft VP Joe Biden.

Most Republicans, of course, will laugh such a thing off, but I will laugh perhaps a shade less loudly. The history of incumbent VP candidates who seek the presidency has, in my lifetime, been not too bad.

1960: Richard Nixon tried to succeed the popular Eisenhower (despite Ike’s popularity, it should be noted that the Republicans had suffered an extremely bad defeat in 1958). Nixon lost in one of history’s closest elections.

1968: Hubert Humphrey, trying to succeed LBJ, was encumbered by a party fractured by the war in Vietnam, a disastrous convention, and a third-party movement that took the solid south and many blue-collar northern whites out of the Democrats’ decades-old FDR coalition. He started out way behind, but closed strongly and lost the popular vote by only 0.7%.

1988: Bush I, helped by a popular president, fairly easily won.

2000: Al Gore beat Bush II in the popular vote, and very nearly won the electoral vote.

Four data points over more than half a century are hardly conclusive, but they all do point in the same direction – a sitting VP will be a strong candidate, who will have a reasonable chance of winning in November. To the pols who will have to run down-ticket, this could look better than a weak Hillary Clinton, if she continues to stumble.


Note: This is not a open thread — there are several below.


  5:04 pm Uncategorized  

Poll Watch: Four-Way Tie for Lead in Michigan

Well, since the FCC banned robo-calling the other day, Public Policy Polling has now been forced to hire some actual human beings, pay a little more to conduct their polls, and actually poll all 16 candidates. Given those developments, I’ll reconsider posting their work on the front page… starting with today’s Michigan survey:

PPP Michigan Republican Primary

  • Walker – 15%
  • Bush – 14%
  • Carson – 14%
  • Trump – 14%
  • Rubio – 9%
  • Huckabee – 8%
  • Christie – 5%
  • Cruz – 5%
  • Paul – 4%
  • Fiorina – 3%
  • Kasich – 3%
  • Santorum – 2%
  • Graham – 1%
  • Perry – 1%
  • Jindal – 0%
  • Pataki – 0%
  • Someone Else/Not Sure – 2%

Survey of 465 registered Republicans was conducted June 25-28 and has a margin of error of ±4.5%.

General Election Matchups

  • Clinton – 45%
  • Paul – 42%
  • Clinton – 46%
  • Walker – 42%
  • Clinton – 47%
  • Huckabee – 42%
  • Clinton – 44%
  • Christie – 38%
  • Clinton – 46%
  • Rubio – 40%
  • Clinton – 49%
  • Carson – 41%
  • Clinton – 46%
  • Fiorina – 38%
  • Clinton – 47%
  • Bush – 38%
  • Clinton – 49%
  • Cruz – 39%
  • Clinton – 49%
  • Trump – 39%

Survey of 1,072 registered voters was conducted June 25-28 and has a margin of error of ±3%.

  2:14 pm Poll Watch  

Chris Christie Official Announcement

This morning, Chris Christie became the 14th major GOP candidate when he launched the Straight Talk Express… er, I mean, the “Telling it Like it Is” Tour.

The New York Times actually summed up Christie’s bid, and entire political career, pretty succinctly in the first two paragraphs of their story:


  1:51 pm Chris Christie  

Tuesday Open Thread (Puerto Rico Edition)

So Puerto Rico is joining Greece in collapse. Here’s a quick hit at the basics from The Washington Post.

To summarize, they’re massively in debt (about $72bil), they have massive unemployment (laborforce participation is about 40%), and the population is in serious decline (why stick around and be left holding the tab?). And then there’s this:

… the government has made things worse by regularly spending more than it gets in tax revenues.

Who knew that would be a problem? As an aside: I liked this line …

The report cites one surprising problem: the federal minimum wage …

A surprise? Well, remember this is the WaPo.

Probably the biggest Grexit worry is contagion. WaPo echoes that for PR:

Wall Street might hesitate to lend to money cities around the country. A huge mess in Puerto Rico after smaller bankruptcies in Detroit and other cities might suggest to some investors that loaning money to local governments in this country isn’t always a safe bet — and that would make new roads, new schools and other projects more expensive.

Shorter version: Watch out, Illinois.

  7:00 am Uncategorized  

June 29, 2015

SCOTUS Upholds Redistricting Commissions

The Supreme Court today upheld Arizona’s Redistricting Commission (and, by extension, those of several other states) against a challenge by the state legislature. The legislature had based its argument on the plain language of the Constitution’s Elections Clause, which says that congressional boundaries must be set by the legislatures of the various states.

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the primary dissent, calling the decision “a magic trick with the Elections Clause.”

“That Clause vests congressional redistricting authority in ‘the Legislature’ of each State,” Roberts wrote. “An Arizona ballot initiative transferred that authority from ‘the Legislature’ to an ‘Independent Redistricting Commission.’ The majority approves this deliberate constitutional evasion by doing what the proponents of the Seventeenth Amendment [direct election of U.S. senators] dared not: revising ‘the Legislature’ to mean ‘the people.’”

This is not the biggest decision to be made this session, obviously. Nonetheless, it brings a few points to mind:

  • It’s good to see that the CJ has decided that words have meanings. What happened in the past week to change his mind on that point?
  • The court liberals are on quite a winning streak. If Republicans do not win the presidency next year, and hold on to the Senate, that streak may last a long, long time.
  • This may have repercussions on Arizona’s senate race: if the legislature had won, they might have gerrymandered Kirsten Sinema’s district enough to push her into running against Ann Kirkpatrick for the Democratic nomination. Sinema would be a much stronger opponent against McCain, though I’d still bet on McCain, and would probably wipe the floor with Kelli Ward, in the unlikely event Ward got the Republican nomination. But that’s all academic now. The CW is that Sinema will stay put in the House for now.
  4:00 pm Uncategorized  

Phil Rosen Endorses Marco Rubio

Breaking news from the invisible primary: Phil Rosen, billionaire activist and fundraising bundler, has chosen to endorse Senator Marco Rubio in the 2016 primary. Rosen will not only raise millions of dollars for the Rubio campaign, he will also serve as a foreign policy advisor.

The Washington Post calls this “a big get” for Rubio. Why is Rosen so important? I’ll let the Jewish Journal newspaper spell it out for you:

Rosen, one of Mitt Romney’s top bundlers in 2012, was highly sought after … Rosen’s endorsement is significant for a few reasons.

1. Fundraising. Rosen is one of the leading bundlers in presidential politics…

2. Sheldon Adelson. Rosen is close with Sheldon Adelson, with whom he serves on the boards of the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) and Birthright Israel. Adelson is already rumored to be favoring Rubio and … adding Rosen can only help Rubio close the deal.

3. Walker v. Rubio Bellwether. Rosen, who is very well connected in New York City fundraising circles, is believed to have deliberated between Walker and Rubio for a while… As the Washington Post reported last week, Walker has struggled to make inroads among NYC donors, and Rosen perhaps serves as a bellwether for others deciding between Walker and Rubio.

Here’s the bottom line: all the candidates wanted Rosen. Early on, the article notes, he even donated to Ted Cruz’s campaign before jumping off that ship. In the end, it came down to Walker and Rubio, and Rubio won out. Now Senator Rubio gets “one of the leading bundlers in presidential politics” along with a strong advisor on foreign policy — and a huge chip to lay on the table when attempting to win the support of other bundlers and money men. If any of the anti-Bush candidates are going to defeat Jeb in the primary this year, they’re going to need two things: a lot of money, and for people to believe they can actually win. Rosen brings both to Rubio’s campaign.

  3:52 pm Endorsements, Fundraising, Marco Rubio  

NBC to Trump: “YOU’RE FIRED”

Following Univision’s decision not to air the Miss USA pageant, NBCUniversal has ended its business relationship with Donald Trump. Pressure has been building on NBC to dump Trump-related programing ever since the Republican presidential candidate made comments about Mexican immigrants that many viewed as bigoted. Miss USA and Miss Universe will no longer be aired on NBC, and “Celebrity Apprentice”, which is licensed from United Artists Media Group, will likely continue with a new host. From NBC: 

“At NBC, respect and dignity for all people are cornerstones of our values,” the company said in a statement. “Due to the recent derogatory statements by Donald Trump regarding immigrants, NBCUniversal is ending its business relationship with Mr. Trump.”

I’m no fan of political correctness, not when Rush Limbaugh is the target of boycotts, not when Bill Maher is fired for speaking his mind, but I am willing to make an exception when it comes to Mr. Trump. In an effort to save our party from the embarrassment of having this man on stage with our eventual nominee, I hope Fox News and the RNC follow NBC and keep Trump as far away as possible.

  1:53 pm Donald Trump  

Christie Announcement Video

Ahead of his formal announcement, Christie released this video announcement. The video’s entitled, “Telling it Like It Is.”

  12:53 pm 2016, Chris Christie  

Race 4 2016 Weekly Readers Poll

Happy Monday everyone. Below is a link to our weekly readers’ poll. There are seven questions this week and you have to login with Google to vote. Thanks for participating.

Last week we had 82 responses and the results are as follows.

If the GOP nomination came down to Bush, Rubio, Paul, Huckabee and Walker, R 4 2016 readers choose Senator Rubio (46.3%) overwhelmingly.  Governor Walker (19.5%) comes in a distant second followed by Governors Bush and Huckabee (12.2% each).

The vast majority (90.2%) of Race readers do not think the GOP nominee has to choose a female running mate. Of a handful of potential female veep candidates, New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez (24.7%) leads the pack followed closely by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (21%) and Governor Nikki Haley of South Carolina takes the bronze medal with 18.5%.

More than half of all respondents (50.6%) think that Governor John Kasich of Ohio has the best chance of jumping into the upper tier of candidates.

By a 73-27 margin, Race readers do not think the RNC should ban Donald Trump from the debates while fiscal policy (29.3%) and electability (26.8%) are the top two issues/attributes that will affect our votes.

Race 4 2016 Weekly Readers Poll

  12:04 pm 2016, 2016 Candidates  

Monday Markets: Consolidation Edition

A week ago we introduced you to PredictWise, the Microsoft Research project that uses futures markets to attempt to predict (among other things) political outcomes. It seems like a good way to start each week by checking in on the PredictWise numbers as a way to gauge the state of the race. So, here’s your first Monday Market update:

The big movement this week was in the consolidation of the Big Three — Bush, Rubio, and Walker. Each of them gained, to the detriment of the other 13 candidates, and currently comprise a whopping 81% of the odds (up from 72% last week). Paul is the biggest loser, but in all actuality the investors currently see the race as the big three and then just everybody else.


Also, don’t miss the updated Candidacy Tracker at the top of the page, now with the final three announcement dates added in.

June 28, 2015

Sunday Open Thread (Grexit Edition)

Greek banks will not open Monday (Fox News)

Greece said it would temporarily close banks on Monday in a bid to prevent its banking system from collapsing after the European Central Bank moved to cap the amount of emergency loans it provides for the country’s cash-strapped lenders.


Q&A: what options now for Greece’s strained banking system?

(Financial Times)
Greece looks set to enter uncharted waters this week, with the expiry on Tuesday of its creditors’ offer of a new €15.3bn rescue loan in exchange for a package of austerity and structural reforms.
Here are the key issues it faces as it lurches closer to becoming the first member state to leave the euro since the single currency was launched in 1999.


Wave of contagion expected after dramatic weekend raises “Grexit” chances (Reuters)

European markets are braced for a wave of contagion from Greece on Monday, with heavy losses for southern European government bonds and regional stock markets expected as investors scramble to discount a possible “Grexit” that most had still assumed was unlikely as late as Friday afternoon.


Greece Enters Euro Limbo (Wall Street Journal)
Greece has entered the Twilight Zone.

The weekend’s dramatic decision by the Greek government to call a July 5 referendum on whether to accept spending cuts and tax rises proposed by creditors has already had huge consequences, including the closure of Greek banks Monday. So much uncertainty is likely to jolt markets, which have been remarkably resilient to the latest flare-up in Greece’s long-running crisis.


Live Updates (The Guardian)



  2:52 pm Uncategorized  

June 27, 2015

Weekend Miscellany


Open thread – usual rules. Post your own Miscellany in the comments, etc.


The Greek Calendar

I’ve been following the Grexit story longer than I care to think about.greek calendar
Great cartoon from UK’s Daily Telegraph tells how I feel about it at this point.





Obama Sexually Assaults Pelosi

I’m surprised (OK, I’m pretending to be surprised) that anti-rape activists haven’t called for President Obama’s arrest after his felonious assault on Nancy Pelosi.

After making headlines with a nasty split over trade, President Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi, the top Democrat in the House of Representatives, made a public show on Friday of making up.

U.S. President Barack Obama leans in to kiss Democratic House Leader Nancy Pelosi after speaking at the United States Conference of Mayors in San Francisco June 19, 2015. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

U.S. President Barack Obama leans in to kiss Democratic House Leader Nancy Pelosi after speaking at the United States Conference of Mayors in San Francisco June 19, 2015. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

It was only a week ago that Pelosi made a dramatic speech on the House floor and joined most House Democrats in a strategic vote aimed at stalling the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a free trade deal Obama wants to finalize before he leaves office.

But on Friday, Obama planted a kiss on Pelosi’s cheek on stage at the U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting in her hometown of San Francisco.

Unless Pelosi had given clear consent to that kiss it would constitute sexual assault.

A kiss without asking is technically sexual assault. …

The issue we’re talking about here–asking for consent to sexual activity–is important for a number of reasons, and it’s not just so that self-proclaimed “bros” can avoid getting arrested. It’s because every individual should expect to have some level of autonomy and choice over what happens to their own body. They get to choose what they do with it, not you.

Assuming that someone is just going to want to kiss you or dance with you, and going ahead and acting on that assumption and touching someone anyway–this leaves a lot of room for inappropriate or unwanted touching that can often lead to more dangerous crimes–like rape.

I couldn’t find a picture of this particular crime, but if you Google “Obama kiss Pelosi” you will find that he is a serial offender.


Photo of Van Gogh

I’m not sure why I think this is cool, but what the heck … as Miscellany items go, it’s not particularly off-topic.

vangoghThe photograph was put up for auction today at the The Romantic Agnoy in Brussels, Belgium. According to the auction listing, the photo is a melanotype created by Jules Antoine showing Van Gogh talking with a group of friends that includes artist Paul Gauguin, artist Emile Bernard, Félix Jobbé-Duval, and Andre? Antoine.

The picture was estimated to fetch between €120,000 and €150,000 (~$136,000 to $170,000). The final sale price has not yet been made public.


Tear Down the Jefferson Memorial!

While we are in a PC frenzy, I guess we might as well do this, too. No mention of the Washington Monument, though – or, for that matter, changing the capitol city’s name.

CNN anchor Ashleigh Banfield this week questioned whether the Jefferson Memorial should be taken down because Jefferson owned slaves. “There is a monument to him in the capital city of the United States. No one ever asks for that to come down,” Banfield said.


Hispanic vote in Nevada

I’m not much into the idea that Republicans must kowtow to Hispanics or face the everlasting fires of electoral perdition. This article, however, presents the opposing view, and I found it interesting.

In 2010, Brian Sandoval lost the Hispanic vote by a 2-to-1 margin after embracing Arizona’s infamous racial profiling measure. In 2013, Gov. Sandoval supported comprehensive immigration reform, and he now gets a majority of the Latino vote in recent polls.

In 2012, Sen. Dean Heller lost the Hispanic vote by a 2-to-1 margin after opposing the DREAM Act and talking about “anchor babies” in his campaign. In 2013, Heller, too, backed comprehensive immigration reform, having seen the exit polling light.

If you want to understand why Hillary Clinton has come to Nevada twice and scurried left of President Obama on immigration reform, if you want to understand why Republicans have a Sisyphean feat in winning the state in 2016, if you want to know why last week’s National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials convention in Las Vegas induced Bernie Sanders to finally talk about immigration reform, the Sandoval/Heller experiences are instructive.


Advertisers Salute the SCOTUS Decision

jelloveBe prepared for a torrent of ads with gay-pride themes, at least on social media, says Advertising Age.

In the wake of the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision that guarantees a nation-wide right to same-sex marriage, social media erupted in celebration. And a number of brands either joined the fray or found their promoted tweets in association with Pride month in the right place at the right time.


Samsung Intros the Transparent Truck

Ever been stuck behind a big semi on a not-divided highway, and you don’t know whether it’s safe to pass it or not? Of course you have.

Well, those days may soon be coming to an end, thanks to this great new piece of technology.samsung truck

In an attempt to make the roads safer for drivers, Samsung has unveiled a new ‘transparent’ truck.

The prototype truck uses a front-facing camera that is live streamed onto its back doors, so drivers following the over-size vehicle can see what is ahead.

“This allows drivers to have a better view when deciding whether it is safe to overtake,” Samsung wrote in a blog post.

Thank you, Samsung.



The Trans-Pacific Partnership has broad support in all the countries TPPsurveyed by Pew that are parties to the agreement. Support in the US is lower than most, but it is still supported by a twenty-point margin, 49-29.

Here’s something interesting: In the US, Democrats support it more than Republicans (D=51%, R=43%), but in congress the Republicans mostly voted Yes, while the Dems were strongly No.


Briefly Noted

538’s Odds on WWC Results: USA has a 28% chance of winning. Germany is tops at 45%. Germany has looked really, really good.

California Makes Vaccines Mandatory for More Schoolchildren: No exemptions for religious or personal beliefs.

Pete Rose Bet on Games as a Player: Not that anyone is surprised, but he has always denied it.

  10:00 am Uncategorized  

June 26, 2015

Latest Data on Cell-Only Households

Not quite sure why this sort of info is coming from the National Center for Health Statistics, but still, here it is:

More than two in every five American homes (45.4%) had only wireless telephones … during the second half of 2014—an increase of 4.4 percentage points since the second half of 2013. More than one-half of all adults aged 18-44 and of children under 18 were living in wireless-only households.

Not really news to those paying attention, but the implications for polling are massive.

cell phones

  2:55 pm Uncategorized  

BREAKING: SCOTUS Rules Gay Marriage Bans Unconstitutional

Gay couples can no longer be denied the right to marry, no matter what state they live in. From the Washington Post story:

The Supreme Court on Friday delivered an historic victory for gay rights, ruling 5-4 that the Constitution requires that same-sex couples be allowed to marry no matter where they live and that states may no longer reserve the right only for heterosexual couples.

“The court now holds that same-sex couples may exercise the fundamental right to marry. No longer may this liberty be denied to them,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion.

Needless to say, this is a huge moment in American history and culture.

Keep the comment section civil.

  9:22 am Campaign Issues, Culture, Misc.  

Poll Watch: Jeb Leads in New Hampshire and South Carolina

New Hampshire + South Carolina = Jeb as the GOP nominee. But again, as we’ve seen in so many other polls, the number of undecideds is skyrocketing as this race goes on:

CNN/WMUR/UNH New Hampshire Republican Primary

  • Bush – 16% (15)
  • Trump – 11% (5)
  • Paul – 9% (10)
  • Walker – 8% (11)
  • Fiorina – 6% (4)
  • Rubio – 6% (12)
  • Christie – 5% (3)
  • Carson – 5% (4)
  • Perry – 4% (4)
  • Cruz – 3% (6)
  • Huckabee – 2% (3)
  • Kasich – 2% (1)
  • Pataki – 1% (2)
  • Jindal – 0% (2)
  • Santorum – 0% (2)
  • Undecided – 21% (14)

Second choice:

  • Bush – 14%
  • Trump – 10%
  • All others – single digits

Survey of 402 likely Republican primary voters was conducted June 18-24 and has a margin of error of ±4.9%. Numbers in parentheses are from the WMUR/UNH survey ending May 3.

Opinion Savvy South Carolina Republican Primary

  • Bush – 19%
  • Carson – 13%
  • Graham – 13%
  • Trump – 10%
  • Huckabee – 9%
  • Rubio – 5%
  • Paul – 4%
  • Cruz – 3%
  • Perry – 3%
  • Fiorina – 2%
  • Walker – 2%
  • Jindal – *
  • Kasich – *
  • Pataki – *
  • Santorum – *
  • Undecided – 17%

Survey of 458 likely Republican primary voters was conducted June 22 and has a margin of error of ±4.5%.

Some notes: Rubio is collapsing in New Hampshire… Graham can’t even win his home state… Walker comes in 11th place in South Carolina… Fiorina finally getting some traction in New Hampshire… the WMUR/UNH poll done at this time in the 2012 primary campaign (June 2011) had only 12% undecided… South Carolina polls at this time in the 2012 primary campaign showed single digit undecideds…

  9:12 am Poll Watch  

June 25, 2015

Poll Watch: CNN/WMUR New Hampshire Democratic Primary

Another poll showing things tightening (quite a bit) in the Dem race.

Hillary Clinton 43% (51%)
Bernie Sanders 35% (13%)
Joe Biden 8% (2%)
Martin O’Malley 2% (1%)
Jim Webb 1% (1%) {1%}
Lincoln Chafee 0% (1%)

Full data here.

Interviews with 360 adults in New Hampshire conducted by land line and cellular telephone on June 18-24, 2015 who say they plan to vote in the Democratic presidential primary. The margin of sampling error is +/- 5.2%. Previous results (April 23-May 4) in parentheses.

  9:38 pm Poll Watch  

2016 Primary Calendar: Debates, The Dates, and The Rise of the South Edition

It’s been one month since our last front page update of the 2016 primary calendar (but remember – you can always get an up-to-date version by clicking the 2016 Primary Calendar tab at the top of the homepage). In that time, the RNC has released more details about the debates and several more states have finalized their position on the calendar:

  • Fox Business has confirmed they will be teaming up with the Wall Street Journal for the Wisconsin debate in November. The date and city are still to be determined.
  • The CNN debate in December will be held in Las Vegas, and Salem Radio will co-host with the cable network. Salem Radio has also been announced as a co-host for the Reagan Library debate in September as well.
  • ABC News has set the date and location of their New Hampshire debate: it will be February 6 in Manchester.
  • For those of you following the development of the calendar for awhile now, you know CNN and FOX News were both awarded one extra debate each, to schedule in March depending on how the calendar was shaping up. Well, CNN has decided theirs will be in Florida in conjunction with the Florida GOP.
  • Nevada was full of drama over the past month, as the state GOP and the RNC worked together to try and scrap the caucus system in favor of a primary. The Nevada caucuses have been a source of embarrassment during the past two primary cycles, and the concern in the Silver State is twofold: one, that fewer candidates will even try and compete in Nevada in 2016; and two, that Nevada will end up losing it’s early state designation in 2020. However, despite support of the state party, the Lieutenant Governor, and the RNC, the legislation failed to pass – so Nevada is stuck with a caucus for at least one more campaign. The date hasn’t been announced yet, but all the insider chatter points to February 23.
  • Super Tuesday saw some changes. An attempt to move Oklahoma‘s primary away from Super Tuesday failed, meaning they are back on March 1 now. The debate in New York over their primary date seems to be drawing to a close, and the Republicans who wanted a March 1 date appear to have lost; legislation is being approved to move the NY primary to April 19. The biggest effect on the calendar for NY finally moving, though, might be the fact that it clears up the final remaining hangover law. This moves all the states into compliance with the RNC rules and clears the way for Iowa and New Hampshire to officially set their dates (widely expected to be as reported on the calendar below). Meanwhile, the Arkansas legislature and Governor approved a law largely seen as a gift to Mike Huckabee and moved the Arkansas primary up from May to Super Tuesday. With Oklahoma and Arkansas moving onto Super Tuesday, and New York moving off, it is suddenly a very southern-heavy primary date.
  • The Kansas Republican Party approved a date of March 5 for their caucus, landing them on the same day as the Louisiana Primary.

With all those changes in mind, here’s the most up-to-date look at the gauntlet the candidates will be running in 2016:

August 6, 2015 Fox News/Ohio GOP Debate Cleveland, OH
September 16 CNN/Salem Radio/Ronald Reagan Library Debate Simi Valley, CA
October CNBC Debate CO
November Fox Business/Wall Street Journal Debate WI
December 15 CNN/Salem Radio Debate Las Vegas, NV
January 2016 Fox News Debate IA
February 1 Iowa Caucus
February 6 ABC News/Saint Anselm College Debate Manchester, NH
February 9 New Hampshire Primary
February 13 CBS News Debate SC
February 20 South Carolina Primary
February 23 Nevada Caucus
February 26 NBC/Telemundo/National Review Debate Houston, TX
March 1 Super Tuesday: AL, AR, CO, GA, MA, MN, OK, TN, TX, VT, VA
March 5 Louisiana Primary, Kansas Caucus
March 8 Idaho, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina Primaries; Hawaii Caucuses
March 12 Guam, Virgin Islands Primaries
March 13 Puerto Rico Primary
March CNN/Florida GOP Debate Florida
March 15 Florida, Illinois, Missouri, Ohio Primaries
March 22 Arizona Primary; Utah Caucuses
March Fox News Debate TBD
April 5 Wisconsin Primaries
April 19 New York Primary
April 26 Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island Primaries
May 3 Indiana Primary
May 10 West Virginia Primary
May 17 Oregon Primary
June 7 California, New Jersey, South Dakota Primaries
  3:53 pm 2016 Primary Calendar, Primary & Caucus Dates  

June 24, 2015

Poll Watch: Bush and Trump Get Post-Announcement Bump

FOX News National Republican Primary

  • Bush – 15% (12)
  • Trump – 11% (4)
  • Carson – 10% (11)
  • Paul – 9% (9)
  • Walker – 9% (12)
  • Rubio – 8% (7)
  • Huckabee – 6% (6)
  • Cruz – 4% (8)
  • Fiorina – 3% (2)
  • Santorum – 3% (2)
  • Christie – 2% (5)
  • Jindal – 2% (1)
  • Kasich – 2% (2)
  • Perry – 2% (4)
  • Graham – 1% (2)
  • Pataki – 1% (2)
  • Undecided – 9% (10)

Survey of 378 likely Republican voters was conducted June 21-23 and has a margin of error of ±5%. Numbers in parentheses are from the FOX News poll completed June 2.

General Election Matchups

  • Bush – 43% (45)
  • Clinton – 43% (44)
  • Clinton – 45% (47)
  • Rubio – 44% (43)
  • Clinton – 46% (46)
  • Paul – 42% (43)
  • Clinton – 46% (48)
  • Carson – 41% (42)
  • Clinton – 45% (49)
  • Fiorina – 39% (37)
  • Clinton – 47% (48)
  • Walker – 41% (42)
  • Clinton – 48% (48)
  • Cruz – 42% (43)
  • Clinton – 51% (-)
  • Trump – 34% (-)

Survey of 1,005 registered voters was done June 21-23 and has a margin of error of ±3%. Numbers in parentheses are from the FOX News poll completed May 12.

  10:59 pm Poll Watch  

Chris Christie to Officially Announce Next Week

Politico has the story.

Chris Christie is in the final stages of preparing his 2016 presidential bid, with a formal announcement possible as soon as next week, according to several sources familiar with the discussions.

It was not too long ago that the Garden State Governor was leading the pack of potential candidates for 2016. His larger than life personality, verbal jousting with the media, record of enacting conservative reforms and success and popularity in a dark blue state gave many the impression he would be the man to beat for the GOP nomination. Yet a series of setbacks, some self-inflicted, others the result of an antagonistic and, in some cases, downright dishonest, media, have sent Christie plummeting to the lower tiers of the GOP pack.

I happen to be of the belief that Christie, whose raw political talents are rivaled only by Florida Senator Marco Rubio in this cycle’s lot of candidates, does have the potential to come back. If he can get into the debates, which is not a guarantee at this point given his polling numbers, he has a chance to make a surge.

What does the Race community think? Does Christie have a chance to make some waves in the nomination process or will he just be another also-ran? Have at it in the comments.


  12:04 pm 2016, Chris Christie  

BREAKING: Jindal is In

Jindal announced he was running by posting a video of him and his wife telling their children that he’s running. The video announcement can be viewed on Facebook here.

Having trouble embedding…

  11:57 am 2016, Bobby Jindal  


1.  Marco Rubio  U.S. Senator from Florida

Sen. Rubio moves to the top of the rankings, a reflection of his broad popularity and acceptability as both a first and second choice in multiple polls, momentum among the donor and activist classes, and a rising conventional wisdom that he has the best chance to defeat Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton.  Both Clinton and the GOP’s own dynastic candidate, Jeb Bush, tailored their first campaign speeches as responses to Rubio’s powerful declaration that “yesterday is over”. The clearest sign of his momentum was offered up by the New York Times, which engaged in a widely ridiculed attempt to smear the senator. Time will tell if the senator can handle the real scrutiny his top tier status will bring, and if he can withstand the upcoming negative onslaught from his fellow Floridian.

2. Jeb Bush  former Governor of Florida

Gov. Bush falls from the top spot, despite an expected record-breaking fundraising haul among his allied political action committees. Bush’s campaign shakeup and weak poll numbers have surprised the establishment, who thought he would’ve taken firm command of the race by now. The collapse of his Florida lead over Sen. Marco Rubio just adds to the growing anxiety around a third Bush candidacy. Despite his name identification and family influence, Bush is in a much weaker position than his father and brother ever were, with an alarming number of GOP voters saying than could never support him. Bush will have the resources for a long race, but he is increasingly being viewed as the wrong messenger at the wrong time, something that was best symbolized by the hashtag #NoMoreBushes, which trended nation wide during and after his announcement.

3.  Scott Walker  Governor of Wisconsin

Walker’s numbers have been less consistent than Rubio’s, rising and falling whereas Rubio’s have steadily risen. However, Walker has become the clear frontrunner in Iowa, making him the biggest target of the second and third tier candidates hoping to catch on. The Wisconsin governor is also facing a GOP rebellion at home over his state budget, something he will have to deal with effectively before his campaign launch.

4.  Ted Cruz  U.S. Senator from Texas

Cruz continues to impress social conservative and Tea Party activists and is closer to becoming their consensus choice than any one else. He lines up better with the activist base than any other candidate, and while purity doesn’t often win, it does give a big boost in early states. With more resources and higher upside than Mike Huckabee or Rick Santorum, look for conservative activists to continue their effort to consolidate behind Cruz.

5. Rand Paul  U.S. Senator from Kentucky

Paul’s numbers continue to slide in Iowa and he seems more out of step with his party than ever before. While still polling well in general election match-ups, the Kentucky senator is finding a more hawkish GOP base and reluctant donor class than he anticipated. After all the work he’s done to separate himself from his father, he is quickly starting to occupy the same space in the field.

6.  John Kasich  Governor of Ohio

Kasich continues to frequent the early voting states, and has begun building a campaign infrastructure. The governor will need to improve his standing with the donor class if he is to make it into the top tier, but he certainly has the talent and the record to do just that.

7. Chris Christie  Governor of New Jersey

Christie seems finally poised to jump into the race, and some would say he waited to long. Maybe four years too long. His current New Jersey polling is bad and Bush has absorbed a sizable chunk of his fundraising base. However, his talent on the stump and in debates should not be underestimated.

8. Carly Fiorina  former CEO of Hewlett-Packard

The former business executive is making up for a lack of political experience with excellent performances on the stump and in interviews. Buzz for her long-shot bid, and her contrast with Clinton, continues to grow.

9.  Mike Huckabee  former Governor of Arkansas

It was an awful month for the former Fox News host. Another molestation scandal, a bizarre declaration that gay marriage would criminalize Christianity, and a dismissive position on the racist symbolism of the Confederate flag. There seems to be no niche issue that Huckabee won’t immediately dive into with the most cringe-inducing position possible. Not surprisingly, his numbers have begun to slide, both nationally and in Iowa.

10.  Bobby Jindal  Governor of Louisiana

Gov. Jindal begins his campaign at the back of the pack, but his experience and knowledge of the issues gives him the edge over the also-rans at the bottom of the polls. If he can get himself into the main debates, he could make some noise.

Honorable Mention:  Rick Perry,  Ben Carson

No Chance: Lindsey Graham, George Pataki, Rick Santorum, Donald Trump


Wisconsin Republicans Rip Walker’s Budget

Governor Scott Walker is waiting until July to officially enter the Race 4 2016 because of one thing: the Wisconsin state budget. This is the norm for sitting governors – finish up work during the legislative session before you announce. It’s common courtesy, avoids the worst of the “absentee governor” talk, and provides the candidate with one final chance to pad their resume before entering the national fray.

But for Scott Walker, his final budget may provide more headaches than help in his quest for the White House.

Governor Walker proposed a very ambitious budget to the Wisconsin legislature back in February. Nearly five months later, the budget still hasn’t passed, and Walker is even managing to turn his fellow Republicans against him. As the New York Times put it, “Republicans back home are in revolt.”

Democrats are calling the budget “poopity poop.” (Yes, that’s a direct quote.) That’s no surprise, but even Republican lawmakers are choosing colorful language — for instance, Republican Representative Rob Brooks called Walker’s submission “a crap budget” on the floor of the Assembly.

What’s so bad about Governor Walker’s budget that his fellow Republicans are refusing to pass it and threatening to hamstring his presidential aspirations? The question might be, what isn’t bad in Walker’s budget proposal. Consider:

  • Walker asked for a massive $350 million cut to the University of Wisconsin college system. Incredibly, this comes after he already pushed through a $250 million cut to the colleges back in 2011. (We’ve explored before here at Race the negative optics of Walker pushing these kinds of cuts.) The legislature balked at Walker’s suggestion to cut $350 million, but were only able to negotiate the cut down to $300 million. So Governor Walker is about to enter the presidential primary having presided over $550 million in cuts to Wisconsin colleges – and it would have been even more if he had gotten his way.
  • Closely related was Walker’s proposed cuts to the K-12 education system in Wisconsin. Walker astonishingly proposed slashing $127 million of school funding — a proposal which the Republican legislature has declared they would scrap outright. Instead, the Republican legislature is proposing to keep school funding the same this year and raise it by $70 million next year.
  • Governor Walker’s budget proposed cutting programs for long-term care programs. The Republican legislature instead scaled back and heavily revised the proposals.
  • Governor Walker’s budget proposed cutting funding to SeniorCare, the state’s prescription drug program for the elderly. Republicans “rejected the changes entirely” and left all the funding for the program in place.
  • Wisconsin’s infrastructure — roads, bridges, and transportation projects — are in desperate need of being funded, to the tune of requiring $1.3 billion, and the state does not have that money to spend. Walker has issued a blanket refusal to raise taxes or fees to pay for the infrastructure investment, which is wholly designed to win the support of conservatives in the presidential primary; however, his budget includes a proposal that conservatives should find equally disturbing: Walker wants Wisconsin to borrow the $1.3 billion. To be paid back, of course, after his time in the Governor’s mansion is up. Republican lawmakers are suggesting many different fixes to Walker’s deficit spending problem – anywhere from refusing to borrow any money at all to reducing the $1.3 billion down to $500 million. This issue is perhaps the largest stalemate between Walker and the Republican legislature.

How can a man who clearly has national aspirations submit a budget — his final chance to make his mark before the campaign — this politically tone deaf? And don’t miss the fact that Walker is not fighting and arguing with a Democratic legislature! This isn’t a situation a la Huckabee in Arkansas or Romney in Massachusetts. This is a Republican Governor having his budget outright rejected by a Republican legislature. With cuts to K-12 education, programs for the elderly, and long term care programs, it’s like Walker is trying to play into every negative stereotype out there. Luckily, the Republicans in the state legislature are working to fix his outlandish proposals, but it’s going to come at a cost for Governor Walker.

You might be wondering why so much money needs to be sliced from the state budget in the first place. Here’s why: Wisconsin is facing a $2.2 billion shortfall this year due entirely to the tax cuts Walker championed. Walker likes to claim in his stump speech that he came to office when the state was facing a $3.6 billion deficit, and fixed it. What he leaves out is that he has now directly caused this new $2.2 billion deficit. The shortfall was so bad that earlier this year Walker instructed the State to skip $100 million worth of debt payments it owed.

Last year, Wisconsin had a $759 million surplus. Walker has managed to turn that into a $2.2 billion deficit, leading him to desperately propose borrowing another $1.3 billion and slash spending on education, colleges, the elderly, and those requiring long-term care just so he can balance the budget before he runs for President. I’m guessing this isn’t how Walker planned this final budget to turn out.

The Wisconsin budget deadline is July 1. It’s looking more and more likely that this “crap budget,” or some fixed up version of it, is not going to be passed by then. If that deadline comes and goes, expect a lot more media attention to shift to the Badger State to explore just what went wrong with Scott Walker.

  7:00 am Economy & Spending, Scott Walker  

June 23, 2015

WaPo Questions Bobby Jindal’s Racial Authenticity

It starts with the headline: “From Piyush to Bobby: How does Jindal feel about his family’s past?

And from there:

Jindal’s status as a conservative of color helped propel his meteoric rise in the Republican Party … and donors from Indian American groups fueled his first forays into politics. Yet many see him as a man who has spent a lifetime distancing himself from his Indian roots.

As a child, he announced he wanted to go by the name Bobby, after a character in the “Brady Bunch.” He converted from Hinduism to Christianity as a teen, and was later baptized a Catholic … He and his wife were quick to say in a “60 Minutes” interview in 2009 that they do not observe many Indian traditions — although they had two wedding ceremonies, one Hindu and one Catholic. He said recently he wants to be known simply as an American, not an Indian American.

OMG — it sounds like he believes in that ‘melting pot’ silliness!

And then there’s this classic:

“There’s not much Indian left in Bobby Jindal,” said Pearson Cross, a political science professor at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette …

  10:23 pm Bobby Jindal  

PredictWise: Can Microsoft Revive Political Futures Markets?

Longtime readers here at Race will be well acquainted with the idea of political futures markets because of our regular Intrade updates during the 2008 and 2012 elections. For those not familiar with the concept, it essentially sets up a system of betting on political races just like you would bet on sports or a number of other events. In essence, it allows investors to put their money where their mouth is as they trade with one another. Intrade was by far the largest market with the most volume, and had eerily good predictive value. Then the United States government declared it illegal to bet on Intrade within U.S. borders, and it shut down. (Thanks, Obama. Heh.)

There are a couple smaller futures markets still around — BetFair and PredictIt being the most traded these days — where investors can bet on anything from Oscar winners to NHL champions. The volume on their political markets is generally still pretty low, however, which limits their descriptive and predictive value. Enter Microsoft (or, more specifically, members of the Microsoft Research New York City team).

That Microsoft team has launched the website PredictWise, which uses an algorithm to aggregate BetFair and PredictIt prices along with current Pollster.com poll standings for all the candidates. Their goal: create a one-stop shop for the ultimate prediction authority. And while their website does make it abundantly clear that betting on such markets is illegal within the United States, they may just succeed in a side bonus of driving more traffic to these futures markets. Increased volume is better for everyone involved.

I am going to be keeping a close eye on the PredictWise numbers to see if maybe it could turn into a decent replacement for our old Intrade update posts. It looks like the Microsoft team does update the results multiple times per day, which is encouraging. For what its worth, and to establish some sort of a base line, here are the current PredictWise numbers:

Bush 33%
Rubio 23%
Walker 16%
Paul 9%
Trump 3%
Huckabee 2%
Carson 2%
Christie 1%
Jindal 1%
Cruz 1%
Santorum 1%
Perry 1%
Kasich 1%
Fiorina 1%
Graham 1%
Pataki 0%
  2:00 pm 2016, Misc.  

Poll Watch: Bush and The Donald Lead in New Hampshire, Walker Collapses

In the last three national polls, Donald Trump’s support has been 1% (NBC), 2% (Monmouth), and 3% (CNN). Apparently, every one of Trump’s supporters lives in the state of New Hampshire:

Suffolk University New Hampshire Republican Primary

  • Bush – 14% (19)
  • Trump – 11% (6)
  • Walker – 8% (14)
  • Rubio – 7% (3)
  • Carson – 6% (3)
  • Christie – 5% (5)
  • Paul – 4% (7)
  • Cruz – 4% (5)
  • Fiorina – 4% (2)
  • Huckabee – 2% (3)
  • Kasich – 2% (0)
  • Pataki – 1% (*)
  • Perry – 1% (1)
  • Santorum – * (*)
  • Graham – * (1)
  • Jindal – * (1)
  • Undecided – 29% (24)

Favorability ratings (among Republicans and Republican-leaning Independents):

  • Rubio – 61/14 (-)
  • Walker – 53/16 (46/15)
  • Bush – 58/26 (54/27)
  • Carson – 46/16 (35/11)
  • Cruz – 47/29 (-)
  • Huckabee – 47/36 (50/29)
  • Paul – 44/36 (45/26)
  • Christie – 44/42 (38/39)
  • Trump – 37/49 (-)

Survey of 500 likely Republican and Independent voters was conducted June 18-22 and has a margin of error of ±5.0. Numbers in parentheses are from the March Suffolk poll.

  1:23 pm Poll Watch  

June 22, 2015

Opinion: Take the Flag Down

It continues to astound me how Republicans are willing to shoot themselves in the foot over and over again.

The party stereotyped (far too easily) as the party of old white men is now fumbling through their response to the horrific shooting in Charleston, as well as the related issue of the confederate flag flying on the statehouse lawn. First, let’s be clear: in Charleston, a white man murdered nine black people for no other reason than, and simply because, they were black. Any response to an unthinkable tragedy like this one should have been clear-cut: express compassion, decry the evil of racism, pray for healing.

Instead, not a single Republican presidential hopeful directly mentioned race in their response to the shooting. Ben Carson maybe, kind of, sort of did. But all the other candidates were silent. That led to fantastic headlines like, “Republicans Avoid Talk of Race After Charleston Shooting” and “Republican Candidates Struggle to Talk About Race and Guns.” The subcontext, of course, being that because of the composition of the Republican Party primary early state electorate, directly addressing racism could harm a candidate’s chances.

Nothing says “We’re a party of inclusivity” like watching 16 candidates kowtow to bigots in early voting states.

Then, the debate shifted. Racism was undeniably the motivating factor in the shooting, so people began exploring the surrounding cultural context that may have contributed to this level of hatred. In the south, one never has to look far before colliding with one of the most unsettling reminders of our shameful past: the confederate battle flag. And so began the renewed calls for South Carolina to remove the flag the state government flies by the capitol.

The response to this issue should have been clear-cut as well: take the flag down. This flag has been a quadrennial embarrassment to the GOP literally for decades. And for decades, an overwhelming majority of Republicans have hidden behind the straw man of “states’ rights” when asked about the flag. Again, to be clear: nobody was asking the GOP hopefuls over the past 20+ years if they would draft federal legislation to force South Carolina to remove the flag. They were simply asked their opinion – and they punted. Every time they did so, it added one more nail in the coffin of the GOP outreach to minority voters.

John McCain and Mitt Romney, for all their other flaws as national candidates, finally broke the tradition by issuing clarion calls for South Carolina to remove the flag from state grounds. All of the current GOP candidates, however, can’t seem to find their voices to speak with such moral clarity. Sadly, many of them have already parroted the same worn out line of “states’ rights,” including Marco Rubio, Scott Walker, Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, and Rick Santorum. To a black person in the south, “states’ rights” has an awful and familiar ring to it — yet Republicans keep dodging the issue and allowing racial tensions to be inflamed.

Jeb Bush is the only candidate thus far who has recognized the opportunity to speak boldly on this issue, reminding minority voters that when he was Governor the confederate flag was taken down in Florida and placed in a museum, “where it belonged” — not at the statehouse. He urged South Carolina to do the same.

The simplicity of this issue should not be missed. Nobody is arguing for a ban on confederate battle flags. If a private citizen desires to display the flag on their own property, fine. But for the government to endorse a symbol which stands for racism, oppression, and horrendous abuse to half of their citizens is simply beyond the pale. The government has no compelling interest in flying the flag, “heritage” or otherwise, when it clearly stands for the opposite of equality and freedom to so many. And there are, of course, other reasons to remove the flag as well — not the least of which is the “heritage” it claims to represent: disunity and disloyalty to the United States.

The Republican presidential hopefuls need to speak with a clear, unwavering voice on this issue, primary votes be damned. After all, this is supposed to be the party of principles; the time of embarrassingly ducking the question in favor of a few pockets of voters in early voting states should have long passed by now.

It does appear that there will be a few Republican politicians who will not be afraid to do so. Senators Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott, and Governor Nikki Haley will all hold a press conference this afternoon asking the South Carolina legislature to take down the flag. Hopefully a slew of other Republicans will finally find their courage, break free from the tyranny of a few outsized (and outdated) voices in the GOP nominating process, and echo their call.

  2:00 pm Campaign Issues, Opinion  

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