September 3, 2015

Thursday Open Thread

  5:00 am

This is the Open Thread for Thursday. This is where all comments should go if they would be off-topic on other threads. This is also a good place for new polls or articles you think might be of interest.

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Trump Flops in Hugh Hewitt Interview

  10:03 pm

My Twitter feed is exploding right now with negative reactions to Donald Trump’s horrible interview with Hugh Hewitt. It was a failure of epic proportions, along the lines of Sarah Palin’s CBS interview or Herman Cain‘s multiple interview stumbles on foreign policy.

For those who want to listen to the train wreck, there’s a link here:

And the rest of the reactions are just as bad:

Almost as bad as Trump’s fumbling around and not knowing anything about foreign policy was his response to even being asked about it: he defaulted to his M.O. and whined about how unfair Hugh’s “gotcha questions” were (again, going completely against the image of thick-skinned fighter he’s attempting to cultivate). He’s even threatening to never go on Hugh’s show again. Whining and complaining make him look bad enough already, but there was another wrinkle that adds insult to injury — Carly Fiorina aced the same questions when she went on Hugh’s show:

At this point, it’s nearly impossible to offer any hypothesis about what might cause Trump to lose support in this race. But Hugh is one of the most brilliant, best loved, and toughest interviewers in the business today, and it’s difficult to see how Trump comes out on the other side of this any stronger. Trump’s only saving grace here might be that normal voters aren’t paying attention on a Thursday night before Labor Day weekend.

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Poll Watch: Trump, Carson Only Candidates in Double Digits Nationally

  12:19 pm

And look at those numbers for Walker… ouch…

Monmouth University National Republican Primary

  • Trump – 30% (26)
  • Carson – 18% (5)
  • Bush – 8% (12)
  • Cruz – 8% (8)
  • Rubio – 5% (4)
  • Fiorina – 4% (2)
  • Huckabee – 4% (6)
  • Walker – 3% (11)
  • Christie – 2% (4)
  • Kasich – 2% (3)
  • Paul – 2% (4)
  • Perry – 1% (2)
  • Jindal – * (1)
  • Pataki – * (*)
  • Gilmore – 0% (0)
  • Graham – 0% (1)
  • Santorum – 0% (1)
  • Undecided – 9% (10)

Survey of 366 Republican or Republican-leaning independents was conducted Aug 31-Sep 2 and has a margin of error of ±5.1%. Numbers in parentheses are from Monmouth’s August (pre-Cleveland debate) poll.

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BREAKING: Trump will sign GOP Loyalty Pledge, Promise Not to Go Third Party

  10:03 am

This morning, Politico is reporting that Trump has privately told his team he will be signing the GOP loyalty pledge and promise not to go third party. Here’s more from Politico:

A close associate tells POLITICO that Donald Trump plans to sign a loyalty pledge Thursday that would bind him to endorse the Republican nominee, and would preclude a third-party run. Trump made the stunning decision, which he has long resisted, to avoid complications in getting listed on primary ballots, and to take away an attack line in the next debate, the associate said.

Trump, who has led the GOP field in poll after poll, has long viewed the threat of a third-party candidacy as priceless leverage – and even used that word when he refused to take such a pledge in the first debate, on Aug. 6.

So his decision to give it up is a sign that he increasingly wants to show his campaign is real and not a stunt. The colorful magnate is also trying to make that point by adding staff in key states, issuing position papers, and pursuing access to primary ballots throughout the country.

EDIT: And here we go, he’s signed it:

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September 2, 2015

Aggregated Power Rankings

  5:26 pm

This is the latest in our series of aggregations of power rankings from around the web, plus other indicators of political strength. If you know of other sources we can add in the future, let me know. We have added a few more this month, and I think the more credible sources we include, the more indicative our results of the real state of the race.

The results are below, with the sources identified and linked (where possible) below the table.

Power rank
The sources are as follows:
CFP = Center for Politics (Larry Sabato), Aug 13
Kraut = Charles Krauthammers rankings from WaPo, Aug 13
R4 = Max Twain’s most rankings here at R 4 2016, Aug 19
Sean = Sean Trende listed percentages of likelihood for all the majors on his Facebook account. I stole them (about two weeks ago)
538 = A compendium of endorsements, which many consider a key indicator of strength in the ‘invisible primary, as of yesterday
BI = Business Insider’s power rankings, Aug 20
Net Fav = From Pollster, the rankings by net favorability, as of yesterday
RCP = National polling averages according to RealClearPolitics, as of yesterday
USAT = USAToday’s power rankings, Sept 1
Total = Calculated by assigning 10 points for each first, 9 for each second, etc. Points are split for ties.

Here is the most recent previous aggregation.

Observations:

— OMG! Trump moved down one slot, trading places with Cruz. Don’t get your knickers in a bunch, Trumpettes, this is not a particularly scientific endeavor, and I use different sources each time, so the results aren’t comparable.

— Not surprisingly, Trump causes the most disagreement, sometimes ranked #1, sometimes not ranked at all. Cruz beat him out this time by being consistently ranked just outside the top tier.

— Fiorina and Carson moved up a good bit, as expected.

— Santorum made it!

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Race 4 2016 Weekly Readers Poll

  3:00 pm

Greetings all! Below is a link to the weekly readers poll, there are nine questions this week and you need to be logged in to Google to vote.

Last week we got 107 responses and there was little change to the top line numbers with Senators Macro Rubio (27.1%) and Rand Paul (21.5%) and Governor John Kasich (11.2%) taking the top three spots in our presidential preference poll. Only Senator Rick Santorum was unable to garner even a single vote.

Of 10 of the top candidates, only four – Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, Kasich and Rubio, do a plurality of respondents say their opinion of said individuals has improved over the last six months. A majority say that their opinion of Jeb Bush (61.3%), Donald Trump (70.5%) and Scott Walker (66.4%) has worsened over the last six months while a plurality say likewise about Chris Christie (44.9%) and Ted Cruz (37.7%). A plurality, 49.1%, say their opinion of Mike Huckabee has stayed the same.

If Trump wins the GOP nomination, only 35.5% of respondents say they would vote for him in the general election. A plurality (37.4%) would vote third party while 12.1% would vote for the Democrat nominee and 15% would opt to stay home on election day.

Race 4 2016 Weekly Readers Poll

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More Bad News for Perry

  2:44 pm

It feels a little like piling-on, but facts are facts. Via WaPo:

Rick Perry’s presidential campaign has lost its entire staff in New Hampshire, according to a former top adviser there to the former governor.

“There is no staff in New Hampshire,” Mike Dennehy said Wednesday, a day after word spread that one of Perry’s remaining staffers in the Granite State had defected to Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s campaign.

Dennehy, who is no longer working for Perry’s campaign in a formal capacity, said he had personally encouraged the New Hampshire staff to look for other work. Dennehy said he does not plan to join another campaign.

 

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Will The Pig Like It?

  2:12 pm

George Bernard Shaw:  “Never wrestle with pigs. You both get dirty and the pig likes it.”

So far in the campaign, Rick Perry, Lindsey Graham, and Rand Paul have all gone after Donald Trump. None have fared well, to put it mildly. After weeks of Donald smearing Jeb Bush, Jeb ran his first counterattack ad this week, and to quote Trump: “Will Jeb sink as low in the polls as the others who have gone after me?”

The reason for Trump’s seeming obsession with attacking Jeb is obvious. Donald’s campaign is essentially a reality show and every good reality show needs an enemy. Jeb is the obvious choice, for a campaign based on the exclusion of Hispanics, to characterize as the enemy. He’s married to a Mexican immigrant, fluently speaks the language of the undesirables, and has even said that the motivation for Hispanics immigrating to the United States is love.  Besides, most major prognosticators consider him the odds on favorite to win the nomination.

Ana Navarro of CNN said “Knowing Jeb, I’m sure he’d prefer to be talking about policy proposals rather than trading verbal jabs with Trump…but what: Is he going to do? Let the guy mischaracterize his record and positions and attack him daily? Enough is enough!”

Bush associate Tim Miller observed that “there’s no path for success in cowering into a corner and hoping for the best. When he released his ad, Jeb said “He attacks me every day with barbarities. They’re not true. What we did today was to put out in his words to show that he’s not conservative.” The ad signaled that he will try to take Trump down in the coming weeks. The debate on the 16th should be interesting.

Josh Kraushaar in the National Journal notes that fundamentally, Trump’s attacks on Jeb have been on his personality. “He’s a very low energy person” he charges. Translation: He won’t fight for you, but I will. “He’ll find out it’s not an act of love.” Translation: He’s about to pay big time for his coddling of Hispanic immigrants.  Even on his wife:  “Jeb Bush has to like the Mexican illegals because of his wife.”  Translation:  What would you expect from someone who would marry one of them.

So it’s on.  Under similar circumstances Mitt had to take out Gingrich after Newt won the South Carolina Primary, and he obliterated Gingrich in the Florida Primary debate, and in the primary itself as it shaked out.  Kraushaar, in his article in the Journal article entitled “Jeb Bush’s Donald Trump Distraction” says that Jeb’s real adversary in the campaign isn’t Trump, it’s John Kasich and Marco Rubio.  He has to get past them to emerge as the establishment candidate before gong on to win the nomination.  It’s inconvenient that Donald is in the race, but there it is.

You might think that Jeb going up against Donald is like David going up against Goliath, but Ed Rogers in the Washington Post disagrees:  ” I think Jeb Bush wins this exchange.”  He reasons that in the long term it’s beneficial to the Bush campaign for Trump to acknowledge that Jeb is his chief competition.  And Trump’s recent anti-Jeb ad linked Jeb’s “gentle tone and practical approach to immigration reform” with “the actions of a few horrific murderers everybody knows Bush would actually send to the chair if he could.”

Rogers  goes on:  “Trump and his campaign probably don’t get this–at this stage in the game, the Republican Primary race is actually composed of a relatively small number of informed observers and participants.  Most Republican activists  won’t buy the message that this ad is selling.”  In fact Bloomberg did a focus group featuring 10 Trump supporters that ultimately revealed that only 2 of them would actually vote for Donald when push comes to shove.

The Primary will determine whether Jeb’s coming battle with Donald will achieve what Mitt achieved in his battle with Gingrich, or whether it’s a kamikaze mission; one where you destroy the target and die in the process.  But whatever happens the pig will enjoy it while it lasts.

He lives for that stuff.

 

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Rubio Outlines Policy on China

  1:19 pm

In a speech in Charleston, SC, Rubio outlines his policy positions on China. The video is below:

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Poll Watch: Trump Leads by 16 in Iowa; Walker & Bush Collapse

  1:08 pm

There’s a lot to be skeptical about here – Gravis has always shown Trump and Jindal at much higher levels than any other phone surveys out there, and RCP doesn’t trust Gravis enough to include them in their averages [edit: they do include Gravis state polls, but not national polls]. But at least they allowed undecideds this time… and in this polling desert, we’ll take what we can get — just take it with a grain of salt:

Gravis Marketing (R) Iowa Republican Caucus

  • Trump – 32% (31)
  • Carson – 16% (5)
  • Cruz – 7% (6)
  • Rubio – 6% (3)
  • Walker – 6% (17)
  • Fiorina – 5% (4)
  • Jindal – 5% (7)
  • Bush – 4% (10)
  • Huckabee – 3% (6)
  • Christie – 2% (*)
  • Kasich – 1% (5)
  • Paul – 1% (*)
  • Perry – * (2)
  • Santorum – * (3)
  • Graham – * (1)
  • Pataki – * (*)
  • Undecided – 11% (0)

Survey of 507 Republican voters was conducted Aug 29-31 and has a margin of error of ±4.4%. Numbers in parentheses are from the July Gravis survey.

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