May 27, 2015

Poll Watch: Vox Populi/Daily Caller Early State Snapshot

Vox Populi, in conjunction with the Daily Caller, asked GOP primary voters in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina last weekend whether or not they would consider voting for a bunch of different Republican candidates. Across all three states combined, here were the totals (would consider/would not consider, with the remainder being neutral or don’t know):

  • Rubio – 56/19
  • Walker – 52/16
  • Carson – 48/20
  • Huckabee – 46/32
  • Cruz – 43/29
  • Perry – 40/31
  • Paul – 41/33
  • Bush – 42/36
  • Fiorina – 29/24
  • Jindal – 30/27
  • Santorum – 34/37
  • Kasich – 16/28
  • Christie – 30/46
  • Graham – 28/45

A few notes before we move on to the individual states: first, this is obviously great news for fans of Senator Rubio and Governor Walker. I am surprised at how high Ben Carson is on this list, though — at +28, he beats everybody except the two frontrunners. At +14, Huckabee has now sunk to match Ted Cruz, both of whom have little to no chance of winning the nomination at this point. Bush continues to poll poorly in these sorts of surveys, with a full 36% of GOP voters saying they would not consider voting for him. That’s the highest of anyone except Santorum, Christie, and Graham — indicating he will have the tiniest margin for error once this campaign starts in earnest. And finally, if you are Rick Santorum, Chris Christie, or Lindsey Graham, why even bother? At least Bush has the establishment money and campaign infrastructure. Those other three have nothing.

In the three earliest states, here are the percentage of voters who would consider voting for a candidate:


  • Walker – 64%
  • Rubio – 57%
  • Huckabee – 57%
  • Carson – 54%
  • Cruz – 48%

New Hampshire

  • Rubio – 52%
  • Walker – 47%
  • Bush – 45%
  • Paul – 42%
  • Carson – 42%

South Carolina

  • Rubio – 57%
  • Walker – 49%
  • Carson – 48%
  • Huckabee – 47%
  • Cruz – 42%

Some parting thoughts: Graham doesn’t even register in the top five in his home state. Jeb Bush isn’t in the top five in Iowa or South Carolina, and he only gets considered by 45% of folks in New Hampshire. Those numbers are going to be huge problems for him if he can’t move them before the votes start being cast. Surveys like this make it evident why niche candidates such as Paul and Cruz are’t going to be the nominee (and, to a lesser extent, you can throw Huckabee in that group as well). Finally, Walker and Rubio have the highest ceilings in every state. This thing could easily come down to a contest between the two of them, and I suspect that would be a scenario most Republican primary voters would be okay with. Rubio is the only candidate with a ceiling above 50% in all three states.

April 23, 2015

Poll Watch: PPP (D) New Hampshire 2016 Presidential Survey

PPP (D) New Hampshire 2016 Presidential Poll

  • Hillary Clinton (D) 49% {50%} [51%] (52%)
  • Rand Paul (R) 40% {37%} [41%] (41%)
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 49%
  • Scott Walker (R) 40%
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 50% (52%)
  • Marco Rubio (R) 38% (38%)
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 51%
  • Rick Perry (R) 38%
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 51%
  • Ben Carson (R) 38%
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 51%
  • Mike Huckabee (R) 38%
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 49% {49%} [49%]
  • Jeb Bush (R) 36% {38%} [40%]
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 51% {43%} [43%]
  • Chris Christie (R) 36% {39%} [39%]
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 52% {51%} [50%]
  • Ted Cruz (R) 37% {32%} [38%]
  • Joe Biden (D) 44%
  • Scott Walker (R) 40%
  • Elizabeth Warren (D) 45%
  • Scott Walker (R) 40%

Survey of 747 New Hampshire voters was conducted April 9-13, 2015. The margin of error is +/- 3.6 percentage points. Party ID: 30% {27%} [30%] (29%) Republican; 28% {28%} [31%] (32%) Democrat; 43% {44%} [39%] (39%) Independent/Other. Political ideology: 32% {34%} [33%] (31%) Moderate; 21% {18%} [19%] (18%) Somewhat liberal; 20% {25%} [21%] (23%) Somewhat conservative; 15% {10%} [12%] (13%) Very liberal; 12% {13%} [15%] (15%) Very conservative.Results from the poll conducted January 9-12, 2014 are in curly brackets.  Results from the poll conducted September 13-16, 2013 are in square brackets.  Results from the poll conducted April 19-21, 2013 are in parentheses.

Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

Poll Watch: FDU PublicMind New Jersey 2016 Republican Primary Survey

FDU PublicMind New Jersey 2016 GOP Presidential Primary Poll

  • Chris Christie 20% (51%)
  • Scott Walker 14%
  • Jeb Bush 13% (6%)
  • Ted Cruz 8% 
  • Rand Paul 8% (10%)
  • Other (vol.) 15% (10%)
  • Don’t know (vol.) 22% (13%)

Survey of 268 registered Republican primary voters was conducted April 13-19, 2015. The margin of error is +/- 6.0 percentage points. Results from the poll conducted August 21-27, 2013 are in parentheses.

Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

by @ 7:00 am. Filed under 2016, Chris Christie, Jeb Bush, Rand Paul, Scott Walker, Ted Cruz

April 22, 2015

Poll Watch: Quinnipiac New Jersey 2016 Republican Primary Survey

Quinnipiac New Jersey 2016 GOP Primary Poll

  • Chris Christie 22% (24%)
  • Scott Walker 14% (4%)
  • Jeb Bush 11% (13%)
  • Rand Paul 9% (5%)
  • Marco Rubio 7% (3%)
  • Ted Cruz 6% (6%)
  • Mike Huckabee 4% (4%)
  • Bobby Jindal 3% (2%)
  • Ben Carson 2% (6%)
  • Carly Fiorina 1%
  • John Kasich 1% (0%)
  • Lindsey Graham 0%
  • Rick Perry 0% (1%)
  • Rick Santorum 0% (0%)

Survey of 444 registered Republican voters was conducted April 9-14, 2015. The margin of error is +/- 4.7 percentage points. Results from the poll conducted January 15-19, 2015 are in parentheses.

Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

by @ 7:00 am. Filed under 2016, Chris Christie, Poll Watch, Republican Party

March 25, 2015


1.  Scott Walker  Governor of Wisconsin

The governor of Wisconsin has become the surprising early frontrunner, using his battle-tested record in the Badger State to bolster his standing in Iowa and New Hampshire. The early polling shows Walker has the most appeal among the GOP’s widening factions. Still, he has stumbled over several easy questions and with early staffing problems, leading some to wonder if he can handle the grind of a national campaign.

2.  Jeb Bush  former Governor of Florida

Gov. Bush continues to consolidate the party establishment and lock up major bundlers and donors, but so far that insider strength is not reflected in the polls. Bush lags in the early states for someone with such a famous name and his numbers among conservatives are dreadful. Still, Bush’s massive financial edge could more than make up the difference.

3.  Marco Rubio  U.S. Senator from Florida

Sen. Rubio is methodically building his 2016 effort, focusing on ideas and policies rather than splashy headlines. His efforts are winning plaudits in the early states, and earning him some of the best early poll numbers on favorability and likability. Sen. Rubio has also worked hard to build a relationship with 2012 nominee Mitt Romney. The senator has locked up a number of top Romney staffers, with more likely to join up soon.

4.  Ted Cruz  U.S. Senator from Texas

The Tea Party favorite was the first candidate officially out of the gate, launching his campaign from Liberty University, a direct play to win over the evangelical base. Despite his doubters in the mainstream press, the Princeton and Harvard-educated lawyer is in a strong position to unite the Tea Party and evangelical factions of the GOP.

5.  Rand Paul  U.S. Senator from Kentucky

The libertarian-leaning senator remains a top contender due to his his strong grassroots organization in Iowa and New Hampshire. Paul has successfully capitalized on his father’s prior campaigns to gain a foothold in the early states. However, with the growing crisis in the Middle East and the pending nuclear deal with Iran, Paul will find himself at odds with a more hawkish GOP.

6.  Mike Huckabee  former Governor of Arkansas

The author and former Fox News host retains positive favorable numbers and a deep connection to the party’s evangelical Christian wing while struggling with the donor class. Despite strong name recognition, Huckabee hasn’t been able to build a viable fundraising network outside of the evangelical grassroots. He seems to be far from the candidate he was in 2008, with a number of odd gaffes kicking off his 2016 consideration.

7.  Bobby Jindal  Governor of Louisiana

Gov. Jindal has worked hard to win over the evangelical and activist base of the party without burning bridges to the establishment. His efforts haven’t shown up in the polls as of yet, but they could help him stick around as a top second choice for a number of the GOP’s disparate factions.

8.  Chris Christie  Governor of New Jersey

Christie’s numbers at home continue to drop, and many are now wondering if the governor will pass on the 2016 race entirely. His team, however, believes Christie is still the best candidate on the stump, and will engineer a comeback to the top tier in the town halls of New Hampshire.

9.  John Kasich  Governor of Ohio

With upcoming visits to early primary states, Kasich has started to generate real buzz that he’s interested in the 2016 race. With a record of success in the nation’s most important swing state, the Ohio governor could be a dark horse establishment prospect if Jeb Bush stumbles.

10.  Ben Carson  retired neurosurgeon from Maryland

The conservative firebrand continues to build towards a campaign, despite a series of gaffes that highlight his controversial stances on social issues and his lack of experience. Dr. Carson will have to improve dramatically to capitalize on the real buzz, and money, his prospects have generated.

Honorable Mention:  Rick Perry, Carly Fiorina, Mike Pence

No Chance: Lindsey Graham, Rick Santorum, Donald Trump



March 24, 2015

Time For Propagandismo

I don’t want to disillusion any readers, but most of what they read and hear in politics is deliberate, strategic and ongoing propaganda. That’s not all bad. This propaganda is, after all, the language of politics, and the secret is not only speaking the language, but knowing how to translate it.

We now enter the “announcement” season of the presidential campaign cycle. The “propagandismo” nature of our political language is in one of its purest forms in this season. Debates between candidates, and the conflict between their differing “propaganda” messages, have not yet taken place Media and commentary analysis challenging the propaganda is mostly ahead. Political consultants and other advisers have carefully crafted, after much discussion and editing, the persona, biographical “story,” and overall image of their candidates. The political horses are lining up to get into the starting gates. By the late autumn and early winter, we’re off to the race!

Not so long ago, announcing for president was a more simple and straightforward event. Radio, TV and the internet, as they came along, provide expanded platforms for the formal declaration of candidacy, but “in the old days” when a candidate decided to get “in”, he or she simply got “in.” Today, there are usually a series of orchestrated steps to the actual announcement. First, there is an often extended period of”speculation” during which a potential candidate gives interviews, answers media questions, and makes public speeches in which an “interest” in running for president is made of “hints,” “maybes,” and “possibles.” Then there is an announcement of the formation of an “exploratory committee” which propels a candidate into fundraising and more specific testing of the political waters. (This step arose primarily to fit the campaign funding laws introduced several years ago.) Finally, there is the formal announcement itself. Sometimes, a candidate only goes through step 1, or steps 1 and 2. We are now, in most cases, ready for those who will take step 3.

For the 2016 cycle, each major political party will have its own schedule of announcements. Senator Ted Cruz has just become the first to formally announce on the Republican (he skipped step 2, that is, he did not form an exploratory committee). He will be followed soon enough by a number of others, including predetermined “major” candidates Jeb Bush, Chris Christie and Scott Walker. Most of those who will go to step 3 have already formed exploratory committees. There is likely to be one or two surprise or late entries (like Texas Governor Rick Perry in 2012). On the Democratic side, the party and its potential candidates are awaiting the formal announcement of Hillary Clinton, reportedly set for April. Should she decide not to run, the number of formal candidates would likely increase dramatically. If she does announce, there will still be rivals in the race, most notably now former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, and possibly, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren. Since a Democratic field without Clinton would be considered a relatively light one, the chance for surprise candidacies is high.

But no matter who, how many, and in which major party, the basic form of the announcement for president will most likely be similar. As I suggested at the outset, these announcements will inevitably attempt to control the narrative of the candidacy, and will be laden with propaganda.

The fresher and more original campaign launches, however, will gain at least some initial advantages. It will be instructive to observe which campaigns have figured this out.


-Copyright (c) 2015 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.

March 11, 2015

The Unthinkable Becomes Thinkable

It was unthinkable until now that Hillary Clinton would not be the Democratic nominee for president in 2016. It had been unthinkable in 2007 that she would not win in 2008, but the unthinkable did happen. This, of course, made the unthinkable even more unthinkable in 2015. Surely, any observer could reasonably conclude, she would not make the same mistakes again.

As I write this, Mrs Clinton dominates the polling for her party’s nomination by a very wide margin. She defeats any visible Republican opponent in almost every poll (although her margins have been slipping noticeably in recent days.) She has been until just now the frontrunner’s idea of a frontrunner, and no one since Dwight Eisenhower has seemed more inevitable for a party nomination in a race for president with no incumbent running.

Nevertheless, Mrs. Clinton’s candidacy is now in some trouble. The furor over her use of a private e-mails while she was U.S.secretary of state will almost certainly pass, but it certainly should have passed sooner. While prima facie improper, it is not in itself (with the information we now have) disqualifying.

It might be important to note that Mrs. Clinton’s main problem is not about making any new political mistakes. Her greatest problems seem to be about something she cannot now control or explain away, that is, her record as a public figure. While it once seemed to be a clever strategy for her (and her husband, the former president) to devise in 2008-09, that is, for her to accept the position of secretary of state in the Obama administration, her performance in that office, and under that particular president, seems to have reopened and magnified political controversies from her past, including her record of judgment, her apparently obsession for secrecy, her dependence on others to cover up her mistakes, and the untransparent and now controversial institution of the large Clinton Foundation which she heads with her husband.

It is possible, of course, that Hillary Clinton can still be the Democratic nominee for president; and even possible that Republicans will make such a mess of their current opportunity that she wins the presidency next November. There is no incontrovertible evidence in the polls that she cannot still win.

But it is becoming clear that her Republican opponents will have much from Mrs. Clinton’s past and present to bring up to the voters, and should the unthinkable happen, i.e., a bitter nomination contest — in which case there would be much her potential opponents from her own party could use against  her. With  former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley now moving toward a Democratic nomination contest; Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren already quite popular in the party’s grass roots base; Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders also making noises to her left; former Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer, a populist, waiting in the wings; the possibly formidable New York Governor Andrew Cuomo also in the wings; and Vice President Joe Biden desperate for a good reason to stay in the race; the chemistry of the 2016 race for the Democratic presidential nomination could create a genuine contest in a short period of time.

I point out to the reader how quickly Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has emerged as a first tier candidate in the GOP contest; how quickly New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has (at least temporarily) faded in the polls. (And how quickly he might recover when the debates begin.) With almost a year until the primaries and caucuses, the Republican contest is clearly unsettled. In the face of Mrs. Clinton’s weak performance so far, the general lack of true enthusiasm for her nomination, and now the recurring controversies, it might be very soon that the Democratic contest could also be considered quite unsettled.

Until now, it was unthinkable to say that Hilary Clinton’s nomination was not “a done deal.” There might still be a deal done on her behalf, she might yet still be president, but I think there are some very smart Democratic leaders and strategists now suddenly at least thinking about the unthinkable.


-Copyright (c) 2015 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.

March 2, 2015

News, And Yet No News

The CPAC event just concluded in Washington, DC has proven, through its straw poll, to be another mostly irrelevant marker in the presidential election cycle. The winner of the straw poll was Kentucky Senator Rand Paul. Coming in second was Wisconsin Senator Scott Walker. Third and fourth were Ben Carson and TexasmSenator Ted Cruz. Only Mr. Walker has a serious chance to win the nomination, but his finish at CPAC had already been foreshadowed weeks before, following a speech he made in Iowa, and in all of the recent polls. Coming in a distant fifth at CPAC was the Republican frontrunner former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. Further down the list was New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a potentially serious contender, especially after the first debates and the primary/caucus season begins.

The next GOP presidential campaign marker will be the Iowa Straw Poll in Ames in August. This will be, as it has been in the past, another mostly irrelevant event. In 2011, the Straw Poll winner was Michele Bachmann who turned out not to be a serious contender. The Straw Poll rarely is won by the eventual GOP nominee.

A parade of self-promoting wannabes, such as Donald Trump and Rick Santorum, will continue to win media headlines in the coming months, and various other political figures will attempt to rise about the lower tiers of the field. It can be done. Scott Walker has already done this. But the eventual nominee will be someone who can win votes in the primaries and caucuses from the broader base of the conservative Republican Party. And if that nominee is to win the presidency in November, 2016, he or she will need to win a majority of votes from the non-affiliated independent voters in the nation. A good many, if not most, of those voters are more centrist than the base voters of either party, and that is why the serious contenders for president do not come from the far right or the far left.

On the Democratic side, the party awaits the formal decision of former New York Senator Hillary Clinton. She has been the overwhelming frontrunner of her party for 2016 from the beginning. Her image and her numbers have declined a bit in recent months, and her “handlers” have thus kept her out of the campaign spotlight, but her lead remains very large. Only Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren has emerged as a potential threat, yet Mrs. Warren might not even run.

There are two campaign seasons in the race for president of the United States. The earlier and longer one is managed with the cooperation of the political party activists and the news media. It is usually an extended melodrama punctuated by such events as the CPAC conference, the Iowa Straw Poll, Jefferson dinners and talk shows where large numbers of hopefuls attempt, with histrionics and bravado, to become larger than life, and grab the notice of the relatively few folks who are paying attention. The second campaign is the one where voters increasingly pay attention, and which climaxes on Election Day.

I don’t have to say which of these campaigns counts most.

Copyright (c) 2015 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.

February 26, 2015

Walker, Education, and Image

People don’t vote for candidates, they vote for an image.

That’s a general axiom Democrats seem to understand much better than Republicans at this stage of the game. Politics has always been about trying to market yourself — we can go all the way back to Abraham Lincoln’s campaign team famously choosing “Honest Abe” to market their candidate, for instance — and likewise, marketing your opponent as someone Jack and Jill Voter couldn’t pull the lever for. But in today’s intensely media-saturated, image-and-symbol driven culture, it matters more than ever before.

As I wrote about seven years ago (!) here at Race, President Barack Obama is a modern shining example of this fact. Nobody cared what his positions were on the issues. For most American voters, Obama was simply and powerfully an image of hope and progress. They never factored in his actual stances on issues, they were not voting for an agenda or a political viewpoint or a party… they were voting for an image. A caricature of sorts. A carefully crafted, marketed image.

And it worked.

In 2012, Mitt Romney was the victim of the converse of this rule. President Obama and his team managed to paint Governor Romney (sometimes with the Governor’s unintended assistance) as a wealthy, out-of-touch woman-hater. Even though the facts stood contrary to that image (see Women, Binder Full of), that is how voters saw and believed the image of Governor Romney. The election did not come down to Obama and Romney, it came down to hope and inspiration versus the rich guy who doesn’t care.

This issue of image is immediately what came to mind when the brouhaha over Governor Scott Walker’s education was suddenly thrust into the top headlines this past week. Governor Walker, for those who may be arriving late to the scene of the crash, left college before he finished his senior year. He has no college degree to his name. For some in the media, this calls into question his fitness to serve as President of the United States.

Allow me to pause for a moment and be as clear as possible here: I do not believe a college degree is, or should be, a requirement to serve as President of the United States. The Constitution never places any kind of qualifying educational standard on potential candidates. Governor Walker’s accomplishments stand on their own, with or without a college degree, and to somehow denigrate them now, after the fact, because he didn’t finish his senior year is beyond the pale.

Those are the facts. However… again, we must take into account the issue of identity. By itself, a lack of college degree would be meaningless. At the same time the media began questioning that, however, they also realized something else about Scott Walker: he doesn’t believe in evolution. Now again: on this specific issue, I give a hearty, “Who cares?”. I excoriated the debate moderators way back in 2007 for asking the GOP candidates if they believed in evolution or creationism, and I would excoriate them again today. Factually speaking, it has no bearing on how well someone will govern this country. But now we have two pieces of information on which opponents will begin crafting Scott Walker’s image: he never finished college, and he doesn’t believe in evolution.

Now, add a third item of interest: Wisconsin is currently experiencing some pretty sizeable bumps fiscally speaking (which will undoubtedly and messily complicate Governor Walker’s campaign-to-be). In order to close a large budget deficit, Walker has proposed cutting hundreds of millions of dollars from… Wisconsin state university budgets.

So now we can easily imagine the line of attack on Governor Walker: a college dropout who doesn’t believe in evolution and wants to cut the budgets of higher learning institutions across his home state. Not exactly a pretty picture. Not a winning image. The cherry on top, of course, is that Governor Walker is a Republican, a party many Americans already see as being anti-science and anti-education (see AP History in Oklahoma, for instance). He plays into the stereotypes with little to no effort required from his opponents.

Of course, Governor Walker isn’t the only Republican governor talking about cutting higher education funding, which just exacerbates the problem. Governors Jindal and Christie have proposed cutting university funding in Louisiana and New Jersey as ways to fill their respective state budget shortfalls as well. When you are a potential candidate exploring a presidential primary full of voters who believe the words of Grover Norquist as gospel truth, common sense financial solutions can take a back seat to becoming a perceived enemy to higher education. This is especially true and dangerous for Governor Walker, given the overall image starting to be painted of him. Every stumble and misspoken phrase along the campaign trail, which might be forgiven from other candidates, will be treated as headline news from the Wisconsin governor.

None of this is a reason for Republicans to avoid nominating Walker. He may well end up being the best candidate in the field. But if they do, the GOP must understand the hand they’ve been dealt and respond accordingly — and the past week hasn’t been an encouraging response on that front. Republicans can circle the wagons and rally ‘round the flag as much as they want on this one, screaming about a biased and elitist media until their face turns blue. But that will do little to nothing to actually solving the image problem Walker is about to be branded with. Walker must work overtime to paint an alternative image — a more positive picture of who he is that can shatter some of these early stereotypes and display him as an intelligent, competent leader. There is a massive difference between being viewed as a blue collar, folksy midwesterner (on the balance, a very positive image) and being lumped in with the Sarah Palins and Rick Perrys of the world. It will be interesting to watch if and how Walker and his team steer this ship toward the former.

by @ 4:00 am. Filed under 2016, Barack Obama, Bobby Jindal, Chris Christie, Mitt Romney, Scott Walker

February 25, 2015

Poll Watch: Quinnipiac Iowa 2016 Republican Caucus Survey

Quinnipiac Iowa 2016 GOP Caucus Poll

  • Scott Walker 25%
  • Rand Paul 13%
  • Ben Carson 11%
  • Mike Huckabee 11%
  • Jeb Bush 10%
  • Ted Cruz 5%
  • Chris Christie 4%
  • Marco Rubio 4%
  • Rick Santorum 4%
  • Rick Perry 3%
  • Bobby Jindal 2%
  • John Kasich 0%

Survey of 623 likely Iowa Republican caucus participants was conducted February 16-23, 2015.  The margin of error is +/- 3.9 percentage points. Gender: 60% Men; 40% Women. Political philosophy: 45% Very conservative; 28% Somewhat conservative; 25% Moderate/Liberal.


  • Walker’s doing very well in Iowa. He nearly doubles his closest competitor and enjoys a double digit lead.
  • Carson continues to be a strong second tier candidate.
  • The second tier in Iowa currently is Paul, Carson, Huckabee, Bush. They are bunched up within 3 ppts of each other — the MOE.
  • Bush barely cracks double digits.
  • The “noise” candidates are Cruz, Christie, Rubio,  Santorum, Perry, and Jindal. They are in the lower single digits with only Cruz managing to crack 5 ppts.
  • I am continually struck at the poor showing of Rick Santorum. He finished second in 2012. He should, by all rights, be at least in the second tier, but he consistently polls at or near the bottom of every poll.

Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

February 24, 2015

Poll Watch: PPP (D) 2016 Republican Nomination Survey

PPP has just released their latest 2016 Presidential polling for the Republican Nomination. Their results for the end of February are as follows:

PPP (D) 2016 GOP Nomination Poll

  • Scott Walker 25% (11%)
  • Ben Carson 18% (15%)
  • Jeb Bush 17% (17%)
  • Mike Huckabee 10% (9%)
  • Chris Christie 5% (7%)
  • Ted Cruz 5% (9%)
  • Rand Paul 4% (4%)
  • Rick Perry 3% (2%)
  • Marco Rubio 3%
  • Someone else/Not sure 11% (5%)

Survey of 316 Republican primary voters was conducted February 20-22, 2015.  The margin of error is +/- 5.5 percentage points.  Political ideology: 38% (38%) Somewhat conservative; 38% (35%) Very conservative; 17% (21%) Moderate; 6% (5%) Somewhat liberal; 2% (1%) Very liberal. Results from the poll conducted January 22-25, 2015 are in parentheses.

Trend lines:

PPP 2016 GOP Presidential Race

Some thoughts:

  1. I think it safe to call Scott Walker the legitimate front runner for now. This in spite of the almost manic frenzy the liberal press has been having lately trying to knock him out of the race.
  2. Jeb Bush is not doing so well. He is stagnating.
  3. Ben Carson is doing very well. He even tops Bush, though well within the MOE.
  4. Mike Huckabee is the only candidate that went from single to double digits. The rest of the field: Christie, Cruz, Paul, Perry, and Rubio — are going nowhere fast.
  5. Mitt Romney dropped out. Now that the dust is beginning to settle, it would appear that Walker and Someone Else/Not Sure are the key beneficiaries of Mitt’s withdrawal.

Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

February 23, 2015

Poll Watch: YeeHaw! Cruz and Walker Lead in Texas

A new poll out of Texas has Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and Texas Senator Ted Cruz neck and neck in the race for the 2016 GOP Presidential nomination. The University of Texas / Texas Tribune have released the following results:

  • Ted Cruz 20% [27%] (33%) {28%} [32%] (25%)
  • Scott Walker 19% [2%] (4%) {6%} [1%]
  • Jeb Bush 9% [7%] (7%) {8%} [9%]
  • Ben Carson 9% [10%]
  • Rick Perry 8% [14%] (7%) {10%} [10%] (10%)
  • Mike Huckabee 5% [7%] (8%)
  • Rand Paul 4% [7%] (9%) {10%} [6%] (13%)
  • Marco Rubio 4% [3%] (6%) {6%} [6%] (11%)
  • Sarah Palin 3%
  • Chris Christie 2% [3%] (3%) {4%} [4%] (8%)
  • Bobby Jindal 1% [2%] (2%) {6%} [3%] (2%)
  • Rick Santorum 1% [1%] (1%) {4%} [3%] (2%)
  • John Kasich 1% [0%]
  • Carly Fiorina 0%
  • John Bolton 0%
  • Lindsey Graham 0%

Internet survey of 547 registered GOP primary voters was conducted February 6-15, 2015. The margin of error is +/- 4.19 percentage points.Results from the poll conducted October 10-19, 2014 are in square brackets. Results from the poll conducted May 30 – June 8, 2014 are in parentheses. Results from the poll conducted February 7-17, 2014 are in curly brackets. Results from the poll conducted October 18-27, 2013are in square brackets. Results from the poll conducted May 31 – June 9, 2013 are in parentheses.

The Tribune is calling it a tie.

The result I find most interesting is Rick Perry is in fifth place with less than half the support of either of the front runners. If this keeps up, his nascent 2016 campaign isn’t going to do much better than his 2012 campaign.

Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

February 20, 2015

Poll Watch: PPP (D) South Carolina 2016 Presidential Survey

  • Mike Huckabee (R) 49%
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 41%
  • Ben Carson (R) 48%
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 41%
  • Jeb Bush (R) 49%
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 42%
  • Rick Perry (R) 48%
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 43%
  • Scott Walker (R) 46%
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 42%
  • Ted Cruz (R) 46%
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 43%
  • Chris Christie (R) 43%
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 41%
  • Lindsey Graham (R) 45%
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 43%
  • Rand Paul (R) 45%
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 43%
  • Jeb Bush (R) 50%
  • Elizabeth Warren (D) 34%
  • Jeb Bush (R) 53%
  • Joe Biden (D) 36%

Survey of 868 registered South Carolina voters was conducted February 12-15, 2015. The margin of error is +/- 3.3 percentage points. Party ID: 44% Republican; 32% Democrat; 25% Independent/Other. Ideology: 33% Moderate; 27% Somewhat conservative; 19% Very conservative; 13% Somewhat liberal; 9% Very liberal.

Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

February 12, 2015

Poll Watch: Monmouth University New Jersey Survey on Governor Chris Christie

Monmouth University NJ Poll on Gov. Chris Christie

Do you approve or disapprove of the job Chris Christie is doing as governor?

  • Approve 47% (46%) {49%} [51%] (49%) {58%} [65%] (63%) {65%} [70%] (69%) {55%} [53%] (50%) {55%} [55%] (50%) {46%} [49%] (44%) {45%} [42%] (31%)
  • Disapprove 46% (42%) {43%} [43%] (46%) {35%} [27%] (24%) {26%} [16%] (22%) {36%} [35%] (38%) {37%} [37%] (41%) {49%} [41%] (40%) {43%} [44%] (15%)

Among Democrats

  • Approve 39% (35%) {37%} [34%] (31%) {38%} [47%] (47%) {52%} [58%] (57%) {30%} [26%] (33%) {35%} [32%] (36%) {22%} [27%] (22%) {23%} [19%] (21%)
  • Disapprove 55% (53%) {54%} [59%] (64%) {52%} [45%] (37%) {39%} [26%] (30%) {57%} [60%] (55%) {56%} [59%] (55%) {72%} [61%] (58%) {65%} [68%] (24%)
Among Republicans
  • Approve 70% (68%) {76%} [84%] (77%) {89%} [85%] (89%) {86%} [88%] (85%) {90%} [82%] (74%) {79%} [84%] (78%) {75%} [80%] (71%) {80%} [65%] (52%)
  • Disapprove 24% (22%) {23%} [14%] (20%) {7%} [9%] (7%) {10%} [7%] (7%) {4%} [10%] (18%) {16%} [12%] (15%) {24%} [14%] (22%) {14%} [19%] (4%)
Among Independents
  • Approve 47% (45%) {50%} [55%] (54%) {62%} [73%] (64%) {64%} [71%] (68%) {55%} [57%] (54%) {55%} [58%](44%) {53%} [49%] (49%) {45%} [49%] (35%)
  • Disapprove 43% (35%) {39%} [36%] (38%) {30%} [17%] (21%) {24%} [14%] (20%) {34%} [31%] (28%) {34%} [34%] (46%{41%} [38%] (31%) {41%} [34%] (13%)

Among Men 

  • Approve 49% (51%) {53%} [56%] (55%) {62%} [70%] (62%) {61%} [69%] (68%) {61%} [58%] (59%) {56%} [54%] (52%)
  • Disapprove 43% (36%) {38%} [38%] (41%) {28%} [20%] (23%) {27%} [18%] (19%) {31%} [32%] (28%) {33%} [36%] (37%)

Among Women

  • Approve 47% (41%) {47%} [47%] (46%) {57%} [61%] (61%) {65%} [70%] (66%) {47%} [45%] (43%) {48%} [53%] (45%)
  • Disapprove 44% (42%) {45%} [42%] (47%) {36%} [30%] (25%) {26%} [16%] (23%) {40%} [40%] (42%) {42%} [40%] (48%)
Survey of 712 registered voters was conducted January 30 – February 2, 2015.  The margin of error is +/- 3.7 percentage points.  Party ID: 38% (36%) {37%} [38%] (38%) {38%} [37%] (37%) {39%} [37%] (37%) {35%} [34%] (37%) {36%} [34%] (35%) {35%} [35%] (35%) {38%} [40%] Democrat; 21% (21%) {21%} [21%] (22%) {22%} [24%] (23%) {23%} [23%] (23%) {24%} [23%] (23%) {23%} [20%] (22%) {21%} [22%] (22%) {22%} [22%] Republican; 41% (43%) {42%} [41%] (40%) {40%} [39%] (40%) {38%} [40%] (40%) {41%} [43%] (40%) {41%} [46%] (43%) {44%} [43%] (43%) {40%} [38%] Independent.  Results from the poll conducted September 17-21, 2014 are in parentheses.  Results from the poll conducted June 25-29, 2014 are in curly brackets.  Results from the poll conducted March 30 – April 1, 2014 are in square brackets. February 19-23, 2014 are in parentheses. Results from the poll conducted January 10-12, 2014 are in curly brackets. Results from the poll conducted December 4-8, 2013 are in square brackets. Results from the poll conducted September 6-10, 2013 are in parentheses. Results from the poll conducted April 11-14, 2013 are in curly brackets. Results from the poll conducted February 6-10, 2013 are in square brackets. Results from the poll conducted November 29 – December 2, 2012 are in parentheses. Results from the poll conducted September 19-23, 2012 are in curly brackets. Results from the poll conducted July 18-22, 2012 are in square brackets. Results from the poll conducted April 11-15, 2012 are in parentheses.  Results from the poll conducted January 31 – February 4, 2012 are in curly brackets.  Results from the poll conducted October 5-9, 2011 are in square brackets.  Results from the poll conducted August 3-8, 2011 are in parentheses.  Results from the poll conducted May 12-16, 2011 are in curly brackets.  Results from the poll conducted February 2-7, 2011 are in square brackets.  Results from the poll conducted September 15-19, 2010 are in parentheses.  Results from the poll conducted July 7-11, 2010 are in curly brackets.  Results from the poll conducted April 7-11, 2010 are in square brackets.  Results from the poll conducted January 27-31, 2010 are in parentheses.

Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

by @ 4:00 am. Filed under 2016, Chris Christie, Poll Watch

February 11, 2015

Poll Watch: PPP (D) 2016 National Presidential Survey

PPP (D) 2016 National Presidential Poll

  • Hillary Clinton (D) 45%
  • Scott Walker (R) 42%
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 45% (47%) {45%} [48%] (48%) {44%} {49%} [51%]
  • Jeb Bush (R) 41% (44%) {43%} [43%] (39%) {41%} {43%} [37%]
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 45% (46%) {45%} [42%] (44%) {43%} [47%] (46%) {46%} [44%]
  • Chris Christie (R) 40% (42%) {43%} [45%] (39%) {42%} [44%] (42%) {41%} [42%]
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 46% (47%) {46%} [48%] (49%) {47%} [51%] (49%)
  • Rand Paul (R) 39% (42%) {43%} [43%] (37%) {39%} [41%] (43%)

Among Men

  • Scott Walker (R) 48%
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 43%
  • Jeb Bush (R) 46% (47%) {51%} [50%] (45%) {46%} {46%}[39%]
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 39% (43%) {37%} [39%] (43%) {38%} {44%} [47%]
  • Chris Christie (R) 43% (49%) {51%} [56%] (45%) {46%} [47%] (46%) {46%} [44%]
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 42% (39%) {38%} [32%] (39%) {36%} [43%] (41%) {38%} [37%]
  • Rand Paul (R) 43% (48%) {52%} [52%] (43%) {44%} [46%] (48%)
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 41% (43%) {38%} [40%] (44%) {41%}[47%] (45%)

Among Women

  • Hillary Clinton (D) 46%
  • Scott Walker (R) 36%
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 51% (51%) {53%} [56%] (52%) {51%} {54%} [54%]
  • Jeb Bush (R) 37% (41%) {36%} [37%] (33%) {36%} {39%} [36%]
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 48% (52%) {51%} [51%] (49%) {50%} [50%] (51%) {53%} [52%]
  • Chris Christie (R) 37% (36%) {36%} [36%] (34%) {37%} [41%] (37%) {37%} [39%]
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 50% (50%) {53%} [55%] (55%) {52%} [55%] (54%)
  • Rand Paul (R) 36% (37%) {35%} [34%] (32%) {34%} [37%] (37%)

National survey of 861 registered voters was conducted January 20-21, 2015. Party ID: 39% (41%) {39%} [40%] (38%) {41%} [41%] (38%) {42%} [43%] (44%) Democrat; 37% (34%) {36%} [34%] (34%) {32%} [33%] (34%) {33%} [34%] (32%) Republican; 23% (26%) {26%} [26%] (28%) {26%} [26%] (28%) {25%} [23%] (24%) Independent/Other.  Results from the poll conducted March 6-9, 2014 are in parentheses.  Results from the poll conducted January 23-26, 2014 are in curly brackets.  Results from the poll conducted December 12-15, 2013 are in square brackets.  Results from the poll conducted October 29-31, 2013 are in parentheses.   Results from the poll conducted July 19-21, 2013 are in curly brackets.  Results from the poll conducted May 6-9, 2013 are in square brackets.  Results from the poll conducted March 27-30, 2013 are in parentheses. Results from the poll conducted January 31 – February 3, 2013 are in curly brackets. Results from the poll conducted January 3-6, 2013 are in square brackets.

Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

by @ 4:00 am. Filed under 2016, Chris Christie, Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush, Poll Watch, Rand Paul, Scott Walker

February 8, 2015

Poll Watch: Monmouth University New Jersey 2016 Presidential Survey

Monmouth University New Jersey 2016 Presidential Poll

Would Chris Christie or Hillary Clinton make a better president?

  • Hillary Clinton (D) 57%
  • Chris Christie (R) 32%

(Among Republicans) Would Chris Christie or Scott Walker make a better president?

  • Chris Christie 51%
  • Scott Walker 30%

(Among Republicans) Would Chris Christie or Jeb Bush make a better president?

  • Chris Christie 46%
  • Jeb Bush 37%

Survey of 712 registered voters, including 162 Republicans, was conducted January 30 – February 2, 2015. The margin of error is +/- 3.7 percentage points among all voters; +/- 7.7% among Republicans. Party ID: 38% Democrat; 21% Republican; 41% Independent.

Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

by @ 5:00 am. Filed under 2016, Chris Christie, Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush, Poll Watch, Scott Walker

February 5, 2015

News Cycle Flavors Just Beginning

It might be 11 months until the first voting in the opening event of the U.S. 2016 presidential election, but there can be little doubt that the “on” button has been pressed for this highest profile quadrennial contest.

Mitt Romney’s decision not to run again has set a great deal into motion. Jeb Bush, as a result, is now the consensus “frontrunner.”

Following the recent Citizens United unofficial debate in Des Moines, we now also have the first informal “flavor of the news cycle,” Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. Mr. Walker stole the show among the potential candidates (I personally thought that non-candidate New Gingrich gave the most important speech) with a shirt-sleeved talk that exceeded media expectations. The governor recently won a hard-fought re-election after initiating a series of controversial but much-applauded (by conservatives) executive actions in the Badger State. He is, of course, a very long way from the nomination (and hasn’t even formally announced), but he now clearly merits elevation to the first tier of GOP prospects, joining Jeb Bush and Chris Christie.

But he will not be the last main flavor of the news cycle in 2015. This process has a certain similarity to a team pitching rotation in major league baseball. Each starting hurler gets to pitch every four or five days. In this case, most of the serious GOP hopefuls will do something unusual to obtain media attention, and following that, they will temporarily lead in the polls. This pattern will be repeated routinely, especially after the first formal debates begin in the autumn, and subsequently after each debate — unless, of course, one frontrunning candidate catches on early and the contest becomes more or less moot.

Look for New Jersey Governor, Chris Christie already in the first tier, to become the flavor of the news cycle later, after the debates (in which he will probably shine) begin. If he decides to run, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, also an excellent speaker, could become the flavor of the news cycle after winning an early primary. Kentucky Senator Rand Paul could also reach high flavor if his supporters succeed in placing him upward in an early primary or caucus. Physician Ben Carson is already a conservative favorite, and is already showing strong numbers in early polls. Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, former Texas Governor Rick Perry and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum already have been flavors of the news cycle in 2011-12, but it will be difficult for them to repeat this success in 2016 — with the public and the media clamoring, as they always do, for new faces and sensations.

Be also prepared for a surprise flavor of the news cycle after someone now not expected to run gets into the race and steals attention away, at least for a while, from the frontrunners.

Remember Herman Cain?

Copyright (c) 2015 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.

February 4, 2015

Christie Tangles With the Press In the U.K.

Governor Chris Christie is finding out how fun dealing with the press is when tagged as a first tier GOP presidential candidate. The Daily Mail reports:

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie canceled planned availabilities with reporters in London on Tuesday after his comments on vaccinations sparked a political flap at home.

The Republican governor and likely presidential contender had originally been scheduled to address the press three times during the final day of his three-day trip to the United Kingdom.

Instead, the availabilities vanished from his schedule, which included lunch with the chancellor of the exchequer and a visit to the famous Globe Theatre.

‘Is there something you don’t understand about, “No questions”?’ Christie snapped when a reporter asked whether he’d discussed the Islamic State group during his meetings with dignitaries during the visit to the Globe.

If he’s losing his cool this early over such a trivial matter as vaccinations, just imagine what’s going to happen over the course of a full-blown presidential run.

Welcome to the big leagues, Chris. Bridgegate was nothing compared to what you’re about to get yourself into.

by @ 12:06 am. Filed under Chris Christie

February 3, 2015

Cruz and Bush Admit To Smoking Pot

The Daily Mail reports:

Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz smoked marijuana in his youth, his campaign told Daily Mail Online on Tuesday – putting him in the same camp as former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who acknowledged his high school pot-smoking days on Friday.

‘Teenagers are often known for their lack of judgment, and Sen. Cruz was no exception,’ a Cruz spokesperson said.

‘When he was a teenager, he foolishly experimented with marijuana. It was a mistake, and he’s never tried it since.’

The Daily Mail asked nine other possible candidates if they had tried pot. Here are their answers:

  • Carly Fiorina: “Opposes legalized marijuana”. (Avoids the question)
  • Marco Rubio: “The answer to your question is: at this point, it’s irrelevant.” (Avoids the question)
  • Rand Paul: “Let’s just say I wasn’t a choirboy when I was in college.” (Avoids the question)
  • Jeb Bush: “I drank alcohol and I smoked marijuana when I was at Andover.”
  • John Bolton: “Never”
  • Donald Trump: “Never”
  • Rick Perry: “Never”
  • Scott Walker: Didn’t return an answer.
  • Chris Christie: Didn’t return an answer.
  • Ben Carson: Didn’t return an answer.

I notice they didn’t ask Hillary, Warren, Biden, or any of the other possible Democrats the same question. It must be because breaking the law is considered par for the course for Democrats.

February 2, 2015

Christie: Vaccination Should Be A Matter Of ‘Balance’ **Updated

The Washington Post reports:

CAMBRIDGE, England – The morning after President Obama urged all parents to get their kids vaccinated against measles, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie broke with the president and said the government must “balance” public health interests with parental choice.

“Mary Pat and I have had our children vaccinated and we think that it’s an important part of being sure we protect their health and the public health,” Christie told reporters here Monday. But the likely Republican presidential candidate added: “I also understand that parents need to have some measure of choice in things as well, so that’s the balance that the government has to decide.”

Christie, however, said “there has to be a balance and it depends on what the vaccine is, what the disease type is, and all the rest.” He added, “Not every vaccine is created equal and not every disease type is as great a public health threat as others.”

Well, he does have a point. Just because a vaccine is available doesn’t mean its use should be mandated. How many school children in the USA are exposed to African Sleeping Sickness, for example? And if a vaccine existed for acne, should children be required to use it?

However, taking this out of context makes him sound like he’s pandering to the, “Vaccines cause autism. Fruit juice, essential oils, and vitamins will protect my child”, crowd.


Governor Christie has issued a clarification on his remarks:

“The Governor believes vaccines are an important public health protection and with a disease like measles there is no question kids should be vaccinated. At the same time different states require different degrees of vaccination, which is why he was calling for balance in which ones government should mandate.”

Welcome to the big leagues, Governor.

by @ 8:56 am. Filed under Chris Christie

January 29, 2015

Poll Watch: Fox Has Mitt On Top

Fox News released their latest poll.

The horse race (394 Republicans):

  • Mitt Romney 21%
  • Mike Huckabee 11%
  • Rand Paul 11%
  • Jeb Bush 10%
  • Ben Carson 9%
  • Scott Walker 8%
  • Marco Rubio 5%
  • Chris Christie 4%
  • Ted Cruz 4%
  • Rick Perry 4%
  • Bobby Jindal 2%
  • John Kasich 1%
  • Rick Santorum 1%
  • Lindsey Graham 1%
  • Don’t Know 5%
  • None 4%
  • Other 1%

The poll was conducted by telephone with live interviewers January 25-27, 2015 among a random national sample of 1,009 registered voters (RV). Results based on the full sample have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.

Head to head versus (Hillary)

  • Romney 46 / (46)
  • Paul 44 / (47)
  • Bush 43 / ( 48)
  • Christie 42 / (48)


January 27, 2015

Charlie Cook’s Brackets

Since we had some fun yesterday with placing our bets in Vegas, let’s try doing brackets today. Charlie Cook, in the National Journal, divided the Republican field into four groups – the Establishment, Conservative Governors, the Tea Party, and Social Conservatives.

As always, things aren’t this simple — there are Governors in all four groups, for example – but still, it’s an interesting and different way to look at the field. It will probably help clarify things if you read Cook’s article (it’s short) to see how he defined each bracket.

I’ve created a graphic to help in visualizing the brackets (sorry that some of the lines/boxes are not quite lined up, this was my first time using this software).


If you don’t agree with the bracket your guy/gal is in, complain to Charlie. I used his categories, with two exceptions – Bobby Jindal and Ben Carson. Cook said he didn’t know where to categorize them, and I can see why. I early on would have said Jindal belonged very much in the Conservative Gov group, but his recent speech in Iowa indicated (to me, at least) that he’s going more for the SoCon vote, so I put him there. Carson could easily go into either the Tea Party or SoCon brackets, but I somewhat arbitrarily put him into the SoCons – he evens out the numbers there, and I figure he’s not a factor anyway.

Cook seems to have included everybody who has made any noise at all about running (except George Pataki and, as noted below, Marco Rubio*), so there are a lot more people here than I hope we ever see on a debate stage, but I guess that will do no harm for this exercise – just ignore those you think will not run, or will not be a factor if they do.

Today’s assignment, class, is to choose the likely winner (please – not just your favorite!) for each bracket. Herewith mine:

Establishment: Carly Fiorina apparently did quite well in Iowa, but I can’t see her as more than (maybe) a VP possibility. Chris Christie I’ll eliminate on the basis of his unfavorables problem detailed a few posts below. I think Mitt Romney’s staleness and stiffness is less of a handicap than Jeb Bush’s name and contempt for conservatives. Marco Rubio (see footnote) could be the darkhorse winner here, if Bush doesn’t freeze him out of money and staff. Still, I’ll cautiously go with … Winner: Mitt Romney.

Conservative Governors: There might very well be a Midwest Regional already going on as a preliminary round in this bracket. If so, Scott Walker may have frozen out Rick Snyder (who I never thought was running anyway), John Kasich, and Mike Pence. The latter two could be making preparatory moves behind the scenes for all we know, but Walker looks to be way out front of them at this point. I think it comes down to Walker and too-much-baggage Rick Perry. Winner: Scott Walker.

Tea Party: This is the most heterodox bracket, which is perhaps fitting, since the Tea Party is a heterodox movement. I think Cook was fair in assembling this group and saying it is for people who are mad as hell and not gonna take it anymore. I’ll also note that in most tournaments there are tough and easy brackets, and this is the easy bracket in this one. Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin, and Donald Trump are probably not going to run, and if they do, they’re going nowhere. Ted Cruz will shoot himself in the foot at some point. Winner: Rand Paul.

Social Conservatives: Rick Santorum is already showing his weakness with Mike Huckabee as an alternative. He may be forced to withdraw early, if not I expect him to be eliminated in Iowa. Ben Carson, as I wrote earlier, is unlikely to be a factor. Jindal v. Huckabee could be interesting – Jindal, I think has the ability to draw votes from other brackets, but Huckabee has his vaunted charm and deep, deep SoCon roots. A close call, but … Winner: Mike Huckabee.


* I didn’t notice Rubio’s omission until after I had created the brackets. So please visualize his name among the Establishment bracket, where I think he fits most easily.

Christie is in Serious Trouble

Harry Enten published the following chart on Five Thirty-eight blog:


Note the close correlation between name recognition and net favorability? It is practically a straight line graph.

But notice how far below the line Chris Christie is. The article goes on to say (emphasis added):

Christie is 25 percentage points off the pace. … Given his high name recognition, you would expect him to have a net favorable rating of +45 percentage points.

Christie’s net favorable rating is more than two standard deviations below what we’d expect from a candidate like him.

Certainly the race has barely began, and you never know what might happen, but it is obvious that Governor Christie has a very long, steep hill to climb if he hopes to win the 2016 Republican nomination for President. Let’s hope for his sake that none of his big money backers read Five Thirty-eight blog.

January 26, 2015

Another Shoe Drops for Christie

Chris Christie has formed his leadership PAC, “Leadership Matters for America”. NBC News reports:

Christie filed paperwork late Friday with the FEC to form the “Leadership Matters for America” political action committee. Christie is staffing up and plans several political trips in February. Christie aides say the Governor has not made a final decision about a White House run at this time.

“There is a vehicle now for donors to get involved,” an aide said.

This PAC isn’t the same as a presidential campaign committee, but it would allow Christie to raise funds, travel the country and support other candidates. Aides say this “gives a more formal structure” to his political operation and his major donors. Christie’s Iowa trip this weekend to speak at the Freedom Summit fell under this new PAC.

by @ 9:24 am. Filed under Chris Christie

January 24, 2015

Zogby Poll: GOP Presidential Race

A number of people have linked to this poll in the comments, so I thought I would go ahead and give it its own thread.

This is a Zogby poll, which is not exactly considered the gold standard of polls. To begin with, it is an on-line poll. That means it is not a random sample. The people participating signed themselves up to do so. Second, it attempts to take a snapshot of the entire nation using a sample of only 223 likely Republican primary voters — a very small number four or five times smaller than any reputable polling firm uses. As it is, they claim a MOE of 6.6% which means Rand Paul could be in first place for all we know.

Anyway, here it is:

  • Romney 16%
  • Bush 13%
  • Rubio 13%
  • Christie 11%
  • Huckabee 9%
  • Walker 6%
  • Jindahl (sic) 4%
  • Paul 3%
  • Perry 3%
  • Cruz 3%
  • Haley 0%
  • Portman 0%
  • Martinez 0%
  • Santorum 0%

As I said, it’s Zogby, so take it with a grain of salt. About the only thing that can be said is once again Romney’s in first place, Bush is in second, and Santorum is at or near dead last.

January 23, 2015

Poll Watch: Rest of Rasmussen’s National GOP Presidential Poll

Rasmussen released partial results yesterday for their latest 2016 GOP Presidential Poll. Here are the rest of the results:

Horse Race Fav Unfav Never Heard Not Sure Support Certain Support Uncertain
Romney 24 77 20 1 2 31 27
Bush 13 64 28 3 5 20 14
Carson 12 51 16 26 7 21 11
Walker 11 52 17 23 8 9 15
Christie 7 53 36 6 5 6 6
Paul 7 57 27 7 9 5 10
Perry 5 54 29 10 7 3 7
Rubio 5 58 22 11 8 21 11
Other 4
Not Sure 12

How Certain are you of your vote:

  • Certain: 30%
  • Uncertain: 70%

Some observations:

  • Mitt Romney is currently enjoying a double digit lead over his closest competitor
  • Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, and Scott Walker are battling it out for second place.
  • Chris Christie, Rand Paul, Rick Perry, and Marco Rubio are down in the noise.
  • With a 30/70 ratio of vote certainty, nobody has this race sewn up.


Christie Moves to Save Atlantic City reports:

ATLANTIC CITY — Gov. Chris Christie announced today that he’s signed an executive order to install an emergency management team in Atlantic City to help dig financially strapped gambling resort out of “an enormous hole.”

Christie tapped Kevin Lavin, a corporate finance attorney who specializes in helping troubled companies, to overhaul the daily operations and finances of the city, which has seen four casinos close and more than 8,000 people lose their jobs over the last year.

The Republican governor also named Kevyn Orr, a former corporate bankruptcy lawyer who led Detroit through the largest municipal bankruptcy filing in U.S. history last year, as a special counsel to Lavin.

“I can’t wait any longer,” Christie said while making the announcement at the third summit he has held in Atlantic City with casino executives, business leaders, union leaders, and state and local officials to search for ways to revive the city. “We need more aggressive action. It’s time to confront the dire circumstances with which we are confronted.”

The move comes as Christie considers whether to launch a bid for the 2016 Republican nomination for president and could have implications for his campaign.

They also had this to say in a separate story:

TRENTON — Gov. Chris Christie’s appointment of an emergency manager to oversee Atlantic City gives the appearance of a take-charge leader doing everything he can to help a desperate city.

“When you have a leader that takes action, that’s what people want,” said Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson. “They want action. And he gave them action. There’s no more pussyfooting around. This is what we’re going to do. And we’re going to bring in people who understand what to do.”

But the move also underscores a big risk to Christie’s 2016 presidential prospects: That he could be selling his management skills to the country while an iconic American city spirals out of control under his watch, with thousands of jobs lost and hulking empty towers left behind as city residents complain of skyrocketing property tax bills.

Yes, there is certainly a great deal of risk here for Christie. If he should fail, it could easily mean the end of any hope he might have of winning the Presidency. But if his efforts succeed, it will give him a lot of cred for being a problem-fixer. Considering the mess that Obama will be leaving his successor, that can only be a plus.

by @ 10:36 am. Filed under Chris Christie

January 22, 2015

Poll Watch: NH1 New Hampshire Republican Presidential Primary

A new poll came out yesterday on the 2016 Republican presidential primary for New Hampshire. The polling firm is NH1 News. They polled 827 New Hampshire voters likely to vote in the 2016 GOP primary.  It was conducted Wednesday, January 21, 2015, by an automated dialing system with a MOE of 3.4%.

  • Mitt Romney 29%
  • Jeb Bush 11%
  • Scott Walker 8%
  • Chris Christie 8%
  • Rand Paul 7%
  • Ben Carson 7%
  • Mike Huckabee 5%
  • Ted Cruz 4%
  • Marco Rubio 3%
  • Someone Else 18%

Once more we see where Mitt Romney easily leads all the rest of the field. Of the rest of the field, Jeb Bush is the only one in double figures, and he’s barely there.

There is a huge logjam at 8-7%. The four candidates Walker, Christie, Paul, and Carson are all jumbled together practically on top of one other. Bush is only manages to separate himself from this group by a mere three ppts.



1. Mitt Romney  former Governor of Massachusetts
Third time’s the charm? That old cliche will be alive and well among the throngs of donors, activists, staffers, and volunteers who have been asking Gov. Mitt Romney, the GOP’s 2012 standard bearer, to run again in 2016. After many denials, the former nominee has let it be known that he is seriously considering another bid. Romney’s name recognition, fundraising machine, political operation, and decade of recent campaign experience send him back to the top of the ladder. While Romney’s flaws are well known, and his 2012 failure is sure to be used against, he has cultivated much goodwill among GOP office holders and activists across the country. He is also primed for a major “I told you so” victory lap regarding many of President Obama’s second term failures. In the crowded 2016 lineup, a third Romney run is no more outlandish than a third Bush family campaign. As of now, it is the son of George Romney, not George Bush, in the best position to win.

2. Jeb Bush  former Governor of Florida
The scion of the Bush dynasty has all but declared his candidacy, launching a surprisingly early bid into the 2016 fray. Bush announced on Facebook that he would explore a bid for president, but the release of emails from his time as Governor of Florida and his resignation from many corporate boards signals he’s far past the exploratory phase and is already running. The early jump by Bush gives him both a head start on consolidating establishment support and puts pressure on his main establishment rivals, former nominee Mitt Romney and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, to get in sooner than he may have wanted. Still, family connections and money can only take Bush so far, and he will have to shake off the rust and prove himself a modern candidate if he is to prevail in 2016.

3. Rand Paul  U.S. Senator from Kentucky
The libertarian-leaning senator remains a top contender due to his his strong grassroots organization in Iowa and New Hampshire. Paul has successfully capitalized on his father’s prior campaigns to gain a foothold in the early states. Still, Paul’s unconventional positions, such as his isolationist foreign policy and his ideas for policing and social justice, put the senator out of step with the establishment he has tried hard to win over. Paul’s chances rest more on attracting a new coalition of younger, more diverse conservative voters than by winning over the GOP elite, who will have centrist heavyweights to rally around.

4. Scott Walker  Governor of Wisconsin
The governor of Wisconsin’s third election in four years in a state carried twice by President Obama and in the face of unprecedented liberal opposition has made him a party favorite. On paper, Walker could be a top contender and his battle-tested tenure has given him a huge donor base and the most diverse group of admirers in the field, from business leasers to grassroots activists. He could be positioned as the best compromise candidate, uniting both the Bush/Christie wing and the Cruz/Paul wing of the party.

5. Marco Rubio  U.S. Senator from Florida
Sen. Rubio was an early frontrunner for the 2016 nomination, but the combination of his troubles with immigration reform and the entry of Jeb Bush into the field have complicated the young senator’s path. Rubio’s team says they will not be pushed out of the race by Bush, but the competition for staff and donors in their shared Florida base will likely favor the former governor. Still, Rubio has proven in the past that he can cut an establishment favorite down to size and may be able to do it again. The son of Cuban immigrants is may be the most talented Republican communicator in the country, and should not be underestimated.

6. Chris Christie  Governor of New Jersey
With unexpected victories in the 2014 midterms tied to his tenure at the RGA, his own landslide reelection in a blue state, and the flop of the Democratic-led investigation into Bridgegate, Gov. Chris Christie is now ready to rally the national support and favors his accumulated these last several years. Once the unmistakeable establishment favorite, Christie’s 2014 hardships have opened the door for Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney, and if both establishment heavyweights enter the field, Christie’s path will narrow dramatically. With top contenders and Democrat investigators both smelling blood, Christie will need to show a new level of resolve to regain his footing.

7. Mike Huckabee  former Governor of Arkansas
Gov. Huckabee is once again considering a presidential bid, and once again his strengths and weaknesses are clear. The author and former Fox News host retains positive favorable numbers and a deep connection to the party’s evangelical Christian wing while struggling with the donor class. Despite strong name recognition, Huckabee hasn’t been able to build a viable fundraising network outside of the evangelical grassroots. He will need a serious national effort to win over the party establishment if he is to overcome his 2008 pitfalls.

8. Ted Cruz  U.S. Senator from Texas
The Tea Party firebrand will be the favorite of many hardcore activists and religious conservatives. But Cruz has burned a lot of bridges with the establishment, and will likely struggle to build a significant national operation with both his senate colleagues and the business wing of the party working against him. With both Jeb Bush and Rick Perry likely to run, Cruz may also struggle to rally support in his own backyard. The conservative darling will need to rely on a strong grassroots effort, his network of evangelical leaders, and his debating and media savvy to break through against the support aligning against him.

9. Bobby Jindal  Governor of Louisiana
Bobby Jindal has been one of the more active potential candidates, leaving little doubt that the term-limited governor will launch a 2016 bid. Jindal’s campaign will be centered around his record as a conservative reformer with real achievements in education and tax policy. He has worked hard to win over the evangelical and activist base of the party without burning bridges to the establishment. The Louisiana governor will have to over come doubts about his stage presence and slipping numbers in his home state if he is to climb into the top tier.

10. Mike Pence  Governor of Indiana
The conservative governor of Indiana is a rare find in GOP politics; he is someone both well liked by the establishment and grassroots. The former congressman has a strong fiscal conservative record to match his staunch but friendly social conservatism. Pence is a gifted communicator with a background as a talk radio show host prior to entering politics. Despite a solid resume of experience, he will likely be criticized for a lack of accomplishments as a governor with a strong GOP majority in the legislature. Still, if the establishment and grassroots are looking for a compromise candidate, Pence could be their man.

Honorable Mention: Ben Carson, John Kasich, Rick Perry, Carly Fiorina

No Chance: Lindsey Graham, Rick Santorum, Donald Trump

Dropped Out: Rob Portman, Paul Ryan

January 21, 2015

Christie Will Not Be Squeezed Out, Says Supporter

The Washington Times reports:

Republican donors say Chris Christie won’t be squeezed out of the Republican presidential race even if Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush dive in because there is plenty of money to go around among the three men viewed as the establishment’s candidates and the New Jersey governor has advantages the other two don’t have.

Some analysts are wondering whether Mr. Christie, who has been eyeing a run for years but hasn’t been as forthcoming as Mr. Bush or Mr. Romney, could be left out of the race.

Chris Vincze, a Republican donor from Boston and Romney backer in 2012, said it is far too early to write off Mr. Christie, whom he plans to support if he runs.

“The notion that he is going to be squeezed out is so premature and invalid from my perspective,” Mr. Vincze said.

He added that the donor community in the Northeast is “very open” to all three candidates.

If Christie chooses to run, I am confident he will have plenty of money. Having said that, I have a hard time believing he has much chance of succeeding. While his loud, bellicose personality might be a hit in New Jersey, I have a hard time seeing it succeed elsewhere, especially when you consider his record.

And how many Republicans will forget his embrace of Obama the week before the 2012 election? Even if they have, his competitors and their supporters surely won’t. And they will take every opportunity to remind people of it.

And then there is his liberal record…

Good luck, Mr. Christie. You’re going to need it.

by @ 5:49 pm. Filed under Chris Christie, Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney

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