- Carson – 27.5%
- Trump – 20.4%
- Cruz – 15.1%
- Rubio – 10.1%
- Bush – 9.0%
- Fiorina – 4.1%
- Christie – 2.3%
- Kasich – 1.9%
- Huckabee – 1.7%
- Paul – 1.6%
- Jindal – 1.3%
- Gilmore – *
- Graham – *
- Santorum – *
- Pataki – 0%
- Undecided – 3.8%
Survey of a mixture of live calls and robocalls was conducted Oct 29-31 and has a margin of error of ±3.37%.
(h/t to reader Newbie.)
The gold standard has spoken: Trump is losing Iowa, almost by double digits.
- Carson – 28% (18)
- Trump – 19% (23)
- Cruz – 10% (8)
- Rubio – 9% (6)
- Bush – 5% (6)
- Paul – 5% (4)
- Fiorina – 4% (5)
- Huckabee – 3% (4)
- Kasich – 2% (2)
- Jindal – 2% (2)
- Santorum – 2% (1)
- Christie – 1% (2)
- Graham – 0% (0)
- Pataki – 0% (0)
- Gilmore – 0% (0)
Survey of 401 likely caucus goers was done Oct 16-19 and has a margin of error of ±4.9%. Numbers in parentheses are from the August DMR poll.
I’m not a big fan of Walker, or Carly for that matter. But Trump keeps attacking Republicans in the race with the cumulative effect of seriously damaging the party. Without exception he’s been attacking the best and the brightest and his statements about them have been, to put it charitably, mostly false.
“Wisconsin’s doing terribly…First of all it’s in turmoil. The roads are a disaster because they don’t have any money to rebuild them. They’re borrowing money like crazy. They projected a $1 Billion surplus and it turns out to be a deficit of $2.2 billion deficit.”
Let’s evaluate that paragraph. It was said with bluster, as if it was the biggest hellhole in the country, so one would think it must be true, right? Not so much.
If Wisconsin was really in turmoil, would the state have elected Walker three times in the last 4 years? Do they really like to be in turmoil up in Wisconsin? His statement about the roads being a disaster would imply that people can’t drive to work and back, so how could it be that Wisconsin has added more than 100,000 new jobs since Scott has been in office? Do companies create new jobs if people can’t get to them?
If the state was “borrowing money like crazy,” it would have been a violation of the state’s law that every two-year budget has to be balanced. So, no, the state hasn’t been borrowing money, and isn’t allowed to. If you look at it, not only has the budget been balanced throughout his tenure, in 2014 revenues were coming in way above projections and he passed more tax cuts to return the excess money back to the people.
I say “more” tax cuts, because already he’s reduced taxes in the state by more than $2 billion.
So where did Trump pull out that $2.2 billion deficit statistic from? Besides from the obvious, of course. It’s a projection from Walker’s own Wisconsin Department of Administration for the 2015 to 2017 budget period. It’s been revised downward since it was made because it’s being dealt with. By law, Scott will have to make it balance by the end of the two-year period and there’s every reason to believe he will do so. He’s promised to, he has to, and he’s always balanced every previous budget, whether as Governor of the state, or as County executive of Milwaukee County.
With apologies to Martha, Walker has been a very good Governor by any objective standard. In addition to cutting taxes a lot, he’s also cut lots of bureaucratic red tape, has an NRA 100% rating by doing such things as making concealed carry and the castle doctrine happen, helping to get voter ID requirements passed into law, and requiring an economic impact analysis for each and every new regulation. More important than any of these things, he’s faced down government employee unions and eliminated their stranglehold on the future of the state, and signed Right To Work into law for good measure.
Of course, Trump hasn’t simply maligned and lied about Walker. And, of course, this is only one of many defamatory statements he’s made about the good Governor. It pales in comparison to some of what he’s said about Jeb, a man he very recently said he could see himself supporting in the general election. Don’t look for consistency from Donald. You won’t find it. Unless it’s inconsistency that you’re seeking.
In future posts we will expose his verbal abuse of other candidates as well. And, of course, he spouts this garbage faster than it can be countered, so there’s no way to keep up. But one post per victim should suffice to learn what needs to be learned about Trump’s credibility, or unbelievable lack thereof.
As for comments, have at it.
On one hand, it’s We Ask America — a polling outfit that doesn’t have a great track record. On the other hand, it’s a sample of 1,000 likely caucus goers:
- Walker – 18%
- Bush – 12%
- Huckabee – 10%
- Paul – 10%
- Rubio – 9%
- Cruz – 8%
- Trump – 7%
- Carson – 5%
- Christie – 5%
- Perry – 4%
- Santorum – 4%
- Fiorina – 3%
- Jindal – 2%
- Kasich – 1%
- Undecided – 3%
Survey of 1,000 likely caucus goers was conducted June 27-29 and has a margin of error of ±3.1%.
On an interesting sidenote, they didn’t even include Graham and Pataki in the survey. Wonder how long it will be before other polling outfits follow suit…
- 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.
The Republican field appears to be settling at 16 candidates.
We started our candidacy tracker at 20 potential candidates back in April, then narrowed it slightly to 18 last month when Mike Pence and Rick Snyder announced they wouldn’t be running. Now it looks like everyone else on the tracker, with the exception of Bob Ehrlich and Peter King, are set to join the fray (and even if Ehrlich and King did decide to run, their effect on the race at this point would be negligible).
So sixteen it is. But that historically massive field will be winnowed down to a manageable size by one contest with outsized importance this campaign year: the Iowa caucuses.
Traditionally, one or two candidates drop out of the race after the votes are counted in the Hawkeye State every campaign season. This time around, however, the caucuses may force as many as seven or eight candidates out of the race — (assuming they all even make it to next February). The reason is simple — expectations.
A primary campaign can be an exercise in managing expectations and favorably spinning less-than-desired results. No matter how hard they might spin, however, every candidate has their must-win state: contests in which they absolutely must place first or else their campaign is over. This time around, whether they’ll admit it or not, Iowa is a must-win for roughly half our field.
Let’s start with the two obvious ones: Senator Rick Santorum and Governor Mike Huckabee. They’ve both won the caucuses once before, so to place any lower than first this time around would send their presidential aspirations to the dustbin. But they’ll have plenty of competition: Iowa is also a must-win for Governor Scott Walker because he is a socially conservative governor from a neighboring state. Just because of geography and ideology, he’ll be expected to place first. Compounding that expectation are early polls showing him with a sizeable lead there already, before he’s even announced his candidacy. Joining those three are Senator Ted Cruz, Dr. Ben Carson, and Governor Rick Perry, all of whom are basing their campaigns on a conservative firebrand style designed to appeal to Iowa Republicans. You could potentially add Governor Bobby Jindal to the list, depending on how he positions himself during his campaign rollout and initial wave of messaging. So far, he’s chosen to shed his wonkish/pragmatic image in favor of a direct appeal to social and religious conservatives, which, if continued, would make Iowa a must-win for him as well. Carly Fiorina could be turning Iowa into a must-win for herself as well with the amount of time and resources she’s pouring into the state at this early stage.
Obviously, only one candidate can win Iowa. The seven or eight out of that group who lose will be forced to hang up their skates and call it a day. (Even if they stay in the race officially, they will see their money and votes dry up for later contests.) By bedtime on February 1, we will see this massive field sliced in half.
For the rest of the candidates who can survive without winning Iowa, these are the states shaping up to be must-wins for them:
Get out the popcorn, ladies and gentlemen – we are about to see a Battle Royale go down in the Hawkeye State.
- Walker – 17% (16)
- Carson – 10% (10)
- Paul – 10% (15)
- Bush – 9% (9)
- Huckabee – 9% (13)
- Rubio – 6% (4)
- Santorum – 6% (5)
- Cruz – 5% (6)
- Christie – 4% (6)
- Trump – 4% (1)
- Perry – 3% (3)
- Fiorina – 2% (1)
- Kasich – 2% (1)
- Graham – 1% (-)
- Jindal – 1% (2)
- Pataki – 0% (-)
- Undecided – 11% (7)
First & Second Choice Combined:
- Walker – 27%
- Rubio – 18%
- Huckabee – 17%
- Bush – 16%
- Carson – 15%
- Paul – 15%
- Cruz – 13%
- Santorum – 12%
- Perry – 9%
- Christie – 8%
- Trump – 6%
- Fiorina – 5%
- Jindal – 5%
- Kasich – 3%
- Graham – 2%
- Pataki – 1%
Favorability Ratings (Among Republican Caucus Voters):
- Walker – 66/11 +55 (+48)
- Rubio – 60/17 +43 (+37)
- Carson 56/15 +41 (+38)
- Cruz – 59/20 +39 (+37)
- Huckabee – 61/30 +31 (+38)
- Perry – 59/29 +30 (+38)
- Santorum 56/28 +28 (+27)
- Jindal – 43/19 +24 (+19)
- Fiorina – 41/19 +22 (-4)
- Paul – 55/34 +21 (+39)
- Kasich – 25/16 +9 (+8)
- Bush – 43/45 -2 (+3)
- Graham – 22/38 -16 (-)
- Pataki – 10/35 -25 (-)
- Christie – 28/58 -30 (-18)
- Trump – 27/63 -36 (-42)
Survey of 402 likely Republican caucus-goers was done May 25-29 and has a margin of error of ±4.9% at 50%. Numbers in parentheses are from the January DMR poll.
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%
- Rubio – 52%
- Walker – 47%
- Bush – 45%
- Paul – 42%
- Carson – 42%
- 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.
In the 2008 race for the Republican nomination, Rudy Giuliani banked on a unique, never-before-attempted strategy: ignore the early states and focus on large states like Florida, New York, New Jersey, and Illinois. The thinking was clear: for the first time, the new front-loaded calendar potentially offered the chance for a well-funded national candidate to get the necessary delegates. Theoretically, the calendar was so packed at the front end of the campaign that a candidate could absorb losses in the early contests without much damage, and Mayor Giuliani wasn’t a natural fit (to say the least) for Iowa and South Carolina, anyway.
So Florida became Rudy’s de facto firewall. Sure, in the winter of 2007 he said he wasn’t giving up on Iowa, New Hampshire, or South Carolina, but as time went on and those contests drew closer it became obvious to any armchair pundit what his strategy really was. The only early state he even put up any modicum of a fight in was New Hampshire, and even there he eventually gave up and withdrew.
Of course, reality came crashing down around the Giuliani campaign as Romney, McCain, and Huckabee — the three candidates who finished first, second, and third in the early states (give or take a sputtering Fred Thompson campaign) — sucked up all the press, all the momentum, and all the votes. Giuliani would eventually place a distant third in Florida, sending his Great Experiment to the trash heap of modern political history.
But those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it, and it seems this election cycle may well feature a candidate who is unwittingly following in Mayor Giuliani’s footsteps: Jeb Bush.
According to three sources with knowledge of Bush’s campaign strategy, the likely Republican presidential candidate does not plan to seriously contest the first-in-the-nation caucuses — and may ultimately skip the state altogether.
While some politicos are applauding this decision, or saying it was the obvious one for Governor Bush to make, in reality it wouldn’t be too dramatic to say this early decision could mark the beginning of the end for the Bush campaign. Before he has even officially announced his candidacy, Jeb Bush has essentially doomed it.
There’s an old political axiom that there are only three tickets out of Iowa. That axiom has held true for both parties in every election going back 44 years to the beginning of the caucuses, with the exception of John McCain in 2008. (But even then, McCain finished essentially tied for third just a couple hundred votes behind Fred Thompson — and the momentum of his campaign coming back from the dead was the headline coming out of the caucuses afterward.)
History tells us to win your party’s nomination you must contest and place in the top three in the Iowa caucuses. Governor Bush’s gamble to the contrary looks an awful lot like Mayor Giuliani’s gamble in 2008. In 2008, the calendar was supposed to make things different. It didn’t. This time around, the large and supposedly fractured field is supposed to make things different. It won’t. And none of this takes into consideration the general election, either. Should Bush somehow manage to buck decades of history and reality and become the Republican nominee, Hillary Clinton will begin the general election lightyears ahead of him as far as organizing in the Hawkeye State. In a swing state that will likely have outsized importance in the 2016 presidential election, Republicans are going to need every advantage they can get. Passing on an opportunity to build campaign structure in Iowa is a losing proposition.
By skipping Iowa, Jeb is essentially placing all his primary eggs in the New Hampshire basket — an even riskier move for someone with the last name Bush, given the state’s primary voting history. The New Hampshire primaries are still eight and a half months away, but the latest poll out of the Granite State has Bush in third place and his average in the state has been dropping steadily for two months now. Come February, he may find himself locked in a battle royale with Walker, Rubio, and Paul, all of whom could easily finish higher than him in New Hampshire — and one or more of whom will be riding momentum out of Iowa. All it will take is for one of them to beat Bush in New Hampshire, and his campaign will be over. He will not win South Carolina, and if he fails to win any of the first three states, Rubio will KO a weakened Jeb a couple weeks later in Florida (if he even stays in that long).
Could Jeb Bush win Iowa? Not a chance. Everybody knows that — but this is where Bush is missing his greatest opportunity: those low expectations are already baked into his Iowa results. Jeb placing third in Iowa would be the equivalent of Governor Walker or Governor Huckabee placing first: meeting expectations.
Instead, unless the Bush campaign changes their mind and contests Iowa, we could very well have another Giuliani-like postmortem to deliver come February.
There has been quite a bit of movement and clarification to the 2016 primary calendar already, even at this early stage of the campaign — which means it must be time for a calendar update!
(Also, please note: the most up-to-date version of this primary calendar will always be available by clicking the “2016 Primary/Caucus & Debate Calendar” tab at the top of the page.)
Let’s start at the beginning of the calendar, which for this election cycle means the Ames Straw Poll — or, beginning this year, the Iowa Straw Poll. That’s correct, armchair pundits, the quadrennial circus that is the Iowa GOP’s main fundraiser will no longer be held in Ames. Instead, they’ll be moving down the road a few miles to the town of Boone, which won a bidding process to host the festivities.
After John McCain, Fred Thompson, Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney, and Rick Perry all skipped the straw poll the past couple of elections (with McCain and Romney eventually winning the nomination), and after Iowa Governor Branstad came out publicly in favor of ending the spectacle, everyone wondered if there was even going to be a straw poll this year. But when the Iowa Republican Party got together to vote on it last month, they unanimously agreed: the money it brings in is worth the lowering of dignity it requires of candidates and the electoral process in general. (Okay, so that might be a slightly skeptical angle on it…)
At the meeting where they voted to keep the straw poll alive and award the town of Boone as its host, they also set the date of the festivities: Saturday, August 8. That means in just over one hundred days, the first ballots will be cast that will serve to help winnow this increasingly massive GOP field.
Following the straw poll news, Fox News and the RNC announced the location and date for the first GOP debate on the calendar. Previously, we just knew it would be sometime in August and somewhere in Ohio. Now we know the first debate will take place in Cleveland on Saturday, August 15. The RNC Convention will be held in Cleveland in the summer of 2016, and so the GOP and the city have embraced the slogan, “Start Here. Finish Here.” with this debate announcement.
An interesting side note here: in 2011/12, there were three debates held prior to the Ames Straw Poll, including one in Ames on the eve of the poll itself. Those debates are arguably what helped propel Michele Bachmann to temporary frontrunner status in Iowa and enabled her to win the straw poll (and what helped sink Tim Pawlenty’s candidacy as well). This time around, there will be no debates prior to the Iowa Straw Poll, which will change the dynamics on the ground significantly (assuming, of course, that any candidates actually commit to playing the straw poll game this year).
Following the Fox News debate, CNN and the Reagan Library have also now announced the date of the next GOP debate in Simi Valley: Wednesday, September 16. Given the old axiom (which largely holds true) that people don’t pay attention to politics before Labor Day, this will most likely be the first debate that Americans really watch. It will be interesting to see how many candidates make it through the summer to actually attend the debate, and also how many candidates CNN invites.
No other debates have announced specifics yet, but what we do know is on the calendar below.
There are some updates to the 2016 side of the calendar as well, when actual votes start being cast. First, down south it appears that the so-called SEC primary is not going to happen now due to some political hardball. If you’re new to these discussions, Georgia, who is holding its primary on March 1 (the first legal date mandated by the RNC), has been trying to convince all of its neighbors to join them on the same date to create a de facto regional primary which would benefit southern candidates. This “SEC Primary” was supposed to include six states: AR, TN, LA, MS, AL, and GA. Well, Georgia and Tennessee are already on board and have legally committed to March 1. Legislation is going through the Alabama legislature right now to move to March 1, and everyone expects it to pass. That leaves Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi, where the picture isn’t so rosy if you’re an SEC primary proponent.
In Arkansas, a bill was introduced in the state legislature to move the presidential primary to March 1, and Governor Hutchison expressed strong support for it. The bill, however, died in the House after representatives expressed concern over the extra cost of creating another primary (the bill would have left the other state primaries in their current slot in May). There’s a second bill that would move all of the primaries together from May up to March 1, but there’s little support for it, and the Governor would have to call the legislature into special session to pass it — so it looks like Arkansas is the first to RSVP “No” to the party.
In Mississippi, the opposite happened: the bill to move the primary to March 1 cruised through the legislature, but was then squashed by the Lieutenant Governor in a strange political power play that stretches far beyond this one piece of legislation. There is a whole messed up web of political intrigue currently going on in Mississippi state government, and their spot in the SEC primary looks to be collateral damage in the war. Mississippi will remain one week later on March 8.
And in Louisiana, they are in the midst of budget fights that might result in the Bayou State not even holding a primary at all. Remember, primaries are generally paid for by the state, whereas caucuses are generally paid for by political parties. In Louisiana, they have long had an odd system where some of their delegates are chosen via primary and some via caucuses; this year, due to budget constraints, the state is on the verge of eliminating the primary and just letting the parties pay for caucuses to elect delegates. If Louisiana does hold a primary, it will likely remain on March 5, in between the mini-SEC primary and the Mississippi primary.
Aside from all that mess down south, the following states have been updated on our 2016 calendar today:
Phew. With all that being said, here is the most up-to-date 2016 calendar yet:
|August 8, 2015||Iowa Straw Poll||Boone, IA|
|August 15, 2015||Fox News/Ohio GOP Debate||Cleveland, OH|
|September 16, 2015||CNN/Ronald Reagan Library Debate||Simi Valley, CA|
|November||Fox Business Debate||WI|
|January 2016||Fox News Debate||IA|
|February 1, 2016||Iowa Caucuses||—|
|February 2016||ABC News Debate||NH|
|February 9, 2016||New Hampshire Primary||—|
|February 20, 2016||Nevada Caucus||—|
|February 2016||CBS News Debate||SC|
|February 27, 2016||SC Primary||—|
|February 2016||NBC Debate||FL|
|March 1, 2016||Super Tuesday: AL, CO, GA, MA, MN, NY, TN, TX, VT, VA||—|
|March 5, 2016||Louisiana Primary||—|
|March 8, 2016||Idaho, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina Primaries; Hawaii Caucuses||—|
|March 15, 2016||Florida, Illinois, Missouri, Ohio Primaries||—|
|March 22, 2016||Arizona, Oklahoma Primaries; Utah Caucuses||—|
|March 2016||Fox News Debate||TBD|
|March 2016||CNN Debate||TBD|
|April 5, 2016||Maryland, Wisconsin Primaries||—|
|April 26, 2016||Connecticut, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island Primaries||—|
|May 3, 2016||Indiana Primary||—|
|May 17, 2016||Oregon Primary||—|
|May 24, 2016||Arkansas Primary||—|
|June 7, 2016||California, New Jersey, South Dakota Primaries||—|