May 21, 2015

Is Jeb Bush Following in Rudy Giuliani’s Footsteps?

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.

Campaign sources in the Bush camp have indicated that not only will Governor Bush skip the Iowa Straw Poll, he will also not contest the Iowa caucuses:

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.

by @ 9:17 am. Filed under Iowa Caucuses, Jeb Bush, Rudy Giuliani

May 4, 2015

Jeb’s Challenge is Not His Name

It is by now conventional wisdom.

Jeb Bush’s greatest obstacle in the 2016 Republican presidential nomination battle is his last name.

The candidate himself; his mom, his brother; his rivals; the pundits; have all said as much.

Americans are tired of cementing a dynasty that has already claimed two presidents within the past 25 years. Were it not for that, Jeb’s stellar resume’ and skills would propel him to a more sure footed frontrunner position.

That’s misguided.

Sure, the prospect of another Bush in the White House is a turn-off to many voters. However, history has proven that the extended presidential campaign calendar tends to get voters to replace their esoteric opinions of candidates with judgments over their performance on the ground.

Whichever candidate appears to be most ideologically agreeable and readiest to run a strong general election campaign, wins at the end of the day. You betcha that Republican voters were far from enamored about nominating Bob Dole, John McCain or Mitt Romney in the abstract. There just seemed to be no better credible alternative for them to unite under.

Pining for Jeb Smith?

Enter Jeb. If the former Florida governor dwarfs his rivals during the primary campaign season – message, poll performance vs. Hillary, media appearances, debates, etc. – his last name would be irrelevant by the time voters hit the booth.

The problem for Jeb is that, name aside, he is not necessarily the most credible and intriguing candidate. A wealthy 60 plus year old white male, from a privileged background, who last held elective office in 2006, is not exactly what Republican voters are craving for after eight years in the wilderness – regardless of whether anyone in his family was ever president.

Marco Rubio, Scott Walker – to name two – would easily beat Jeb in the generic profile primary. They are arguably ideologically agreeable to a broader swath of the party than him. They pulled off impressive electoral feats a lot more recently. They have adequate governing and political credentials, and are untainted by major scandal. At the same time, their blue collar roots, young age, and freshness on the national scene, are major advantages over Jeb. Already now, some of Jeb’s rivals are doing roughly as well as him, or even better, versus Hillary in polls.

Jeb’s primary advantages over his major rivals are his depth and seasoning. He knows the issues – both foreign and domestic – cold. He is bright and knows how to handle the media, voters and the debate stage. He is unlikely to make any major gaffes or be caught flat-footed during the campaign. (His Hispanic family and fluency in Spanish are advantages over Walker, but not over Rubio.)

These advantages could be enough to carry him over the finish line, just as they were for Mitt Romney in 2012. But that depends more on Jeb’s rivals than on him.

Both Walker and Rubio have had their share of green moments in recent years –Walker’s more recently than Rubio’s. If the two newbies haven’t matured enough by the time the primary is in full gear, the nomination is Jeb’s to lose. On the other hand, there is a great chance that one or both of them will be ready for prime time by then. They are a superior bunch compared to Santorum, Gingrich, Perry, Pawlenty, and company.

Rubio’s smooth campaign launch should be particularly encouraging to his supporters. Even if the two of them aren’t ripe enough, there’s always room for someone like John Kasich to fill the niche.

If Jeb’s credible – and arguably superior – rivals hold their own under the spotlight, his chances diminish considerably.

Money Alone Won’t Do It

Jeb will no doubt raise more money and gather more endorsements than his primary rivals. That won’t be enough.

All the talk about money and the establishment buying elections is overdone. Yes, you need a lot of money and organization to run a credible major campaign. But having more money than your rivals – even by a lot – is far from a guarantee of success. Just ask President Steve Forbes, Governor Meg Whitman, Senator Linda McMahon, among others. Or Mitt Romney circa 2008, for that matter.

It is easy to forget just how close Romney came to losing the 2012 primary. Were it not for his rivals’ gaping flaws and gaffes, he would likely have lost the nomination – despite his lopsided monetary and establishment support advantage. Rick Santorum won Iowa. Newt Gingrich won South Carolina and would likely have won Florida if he weren’t decimated by Romney in the pre-primary debates. Santorum came within a hair of beating Romney in Ohio.

All indications are that Bush’s major rivals – even Ted Cruz – will amass enough dough and competent operatives to run very credible campaigns. Jeb’s prayer is for his rivals to self-destruct. That’s far from where his father and brother were at this stage in their victorious campaigns.

__________________________________________________________________________

-Simon Blum is a freelance journalist and marketing copywriter. Follow Simon on Twitter @sbpundit.

by @ 11:15 am. Filed under Jeb Bush, Opinion

April 28, 2015

Acceptability and the Big Three

The Cook Political Report, run by Charlie Cook, is one of the most well-respected political organizations in the country — not to mention one of the most impressively accurate in its electoral predictions. So we should all sit up and take note when they publish an article by their national editor, Amy Walter, with this sentence:

At the end of the day, when you put all the assets and liabilities on the table, it’s hard to see anyone but Rubio, Bush or Walker as the ultimate nominee.

That may seem like a no-brainer to some of us, but in a field that will potentially have 20 challengers, for a prediction made ten months before any actual voting takes place, and for such a reputable organization, this qualifies as a pretty significant assertion.

The futures betting sites (or what’s left of them after Intrade got shut down after the last presidential election) generally agree with Ms. Walter. Sites like PredictWise and Betfair give the trio of Rubio, Bush, and Walker a combined 70% chance at the nomination. (Bush currently comes in at 31%, with Rubio at 20 and Walker at 19.) In fact, the only other two candidates who are even given more than a 2% shot are Rand Paul (4%) and Mike Huckabee (6%).

In the latest Quinnipiac poll (a survey where Rubio, Bush, and Walker have all taken a turn leading the pack in the past several months), we can see just how strong the support for the trio is: they are the only three candidates in double digits in the topline results. But it goes even further than that: when Bush supporters were asked who their second choice was, Rubio and Walker were the only ones in double digits again (at 18% and 12%, respectively). When Walker supporters were asked their second choice, Rubio and Bush again clock in as #1 and #2, with 20% and 12% respectively.

In other words, if you chop of one of the three heads of this hydra, the others will only get stronger.

That’s a good reason to predict that one of those three will end up as the Republican nominee. It’s also one of the reasons I will go on record as predicting this primary will be less divisive than many think it will be.

With twenty candidates, it’s easy to imagine a scenario where the party splinters, messy intraparty fighting breaks out, and a brokered convention becomes a reality in Cleveland. Every slice of the Republican electorate will back their preferred candidate until the bitter end, with primary and caucus winners walking away with less than 20% of the vote. It’s going to be a messy, bitter fight, right?

I don’t think so.

A comparison between our potentially massive 2016 field of candidates and the fields of 2008 and 2012 is quite instructive on this point. In 2008, the three-headed frontrunning hydra was comprised of Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, and Mitt Romney. None of the three satisfied the grassroots side of the party — who could forget the campaigns against “Rudy McRomney”? The unease with the three moderate frontrunners led to a shifting groundswell of support, first for Sam Brownback, then for Mike Huckabee, and finally in the epic failure that was the Fred Thompson campaign. Eventually, the activist side of the party gave in to McCain’s inevitable nomination, but not before Huckabee stayed in far longer than he should have (“I didn’t major in math, I majored in God,” anyone?), leaving lasting wounds in the party.

And in 2012, the field only had one legitimate frontrunner: it was Mitt Romney versus everyone else. Some commentators even referred to the GOP primary as “Mitt and the Munchkins.” The fact that Governor Romney had to expend so much effort, time, and resources to dispatch ridiculously weak candidates like Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich displayed again how deeply uneasy and dissatisfied the party was with the GOP frontrunner. The White Knight candidacy of Rick Perry is also illustrative of this fact; likewise, many folks were pining for Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin, Mitch Daniels, Paul Ryan, Jeb Bush, Haley Barbour, or Chris Christie to enter the race late into the campaign.

Our 2016 frontrunners stand in stark contrast to those of 2008 and 2012. In fact, after two elections where “dissatisfied” was the word most often used to describe the field, the opposite might be said of 2016. At this early stage, it seems everyone could be quite satisfied. The establishment-type folks who never like Romney find a champion in Jeb Bush — but even if Bush falters, they are okay with Rubio and Walker. The grassroots folks who never trusted McCain or Romney are finding plenty to like in Walker and Rubio. Even if they may be backing Cruz or Huckabee or Perry right now, when those candidates fall short those voters are generally okay with Walker or Rubio as well.

In 2016, there will be little yearning for a white knight candidate — partially because the field will be so large to start with, but mostly because the three frontrunners are acceptable to the varying factions in the GOP. And so this primary campaign will take on a different look: there will be no “flavor-of-the-month” candidates this time around because voters will not be attempting to find acceptable alternatives. There will be the big three, Bush and Rubio and Walker, who will ebb and flow, but remain the big three. And there will be movement in the second and third tier candidates below them as candidates like Huckabee and Cruz and Perry catch fire and cool off, but that movement will do little to impact the ultimate outcome of the race.

As Amy Walter put it, at this point in the Republican primary race it’s hard to see anyone other than Rubio, Bush, or Walker as the ultimate nominee.

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 21, 2015

Poll Watch: Gravis Insights/Townhall (R) Iowa 2016 Republican Caucus Survey

Gravis Insights/Townhall (R) Iowa 2016 GOP Caucus Poll

  • Jeb Bush 16% [10%] (14%)
  • Scott Walker 13% [24%] (10%)
  • Marco Rubio 12% [7%] (4%)
  • Rand Paul 9% [10%] (8%)
  • Ben Carson 9% [5%]
  • Mike Huckabee 8% [7%] (9%)
  • Ted Cruz 6% [4%] (7%)
  • Chris Christie 5% [9%] (5%)
  • Carly Fiorina 3% [3%]
  • Rick Santorum 2% [6%]
  • Unsure 17% [15%] (18%)

Survey of 388 Iowa Republican voters was conducted April 13, 2015.The margin of error is +/- 5 percentage points. Results from the poll conducted February 12-13, 2015 are in square brackets. Results from the poll conducted January 5-7, 2015 are in parentheses.

Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

by @ 7:45 pm. Filed under 2016, Iowa Caucuses, Jeb Bush, Poll Watch, Republican Party

Poll Watch: CNN/ORC 2016 Republican Nomination Survey

CNN/ORC 2016 GOP Nomination Poll

  • Jeb Bush 17% [16%] (14%) {23%} [14%] (8%) {12%} [13%](9%) {10%} [6%] (10%)
  • Scott Walker 12% [13%] (11%) {4%} [5%] (5%) {5%} [7%]
  • Rand Paul 11% [12%] (10%) {6%} [8%] (12%) {14%} [13%](16%) {13%} [13%] (13%)
  • Marco Rubio 11% [7%] (5%) {5%} [3%] (6%) {8%} [6%] (5%) {9%} [9%] (9%)
  • Mike Huckabee 9% [10%] (16%) {6%} [10%] (12%) {11%} [10%] (10%) {14%}
  • Ted Cruz 7% [4%] (3%) {4%} [7%] (8%) {9%} [7%] (8%) {8%} [10%] (7%)
  • Ben Carson 4% [9%] (8%) {7%} [11%]
  • Chris Christie 4% [7%] (7%) {13%} [9%] (13%) {8%} [9%] (8%) {10%} [24%] (17%)
  • Rick Perry 3% [4%] (3%) {4%} [5%] (11%) {6%} [8%] (11%) {8%} [7%] (6%)
  • Rick Santorum 3% [1%] (3%) {2%} [2%] (3%) {4%} [2%] (3%) {4%} [6%] (5%)
  • Carly Fiorina 2% [0%] (1%)
  • Lindsey Graham 2% [1%] (1%)
  • Bobby Jindal 2% [1%] (1%) {4%} [1%]
  • John Kasich 2% [2%] (2%) {3%} [3%]
  • George Pataki 0%

Survey of 435 Republicans and GOP-leaning Independents was conducted April 16-19, 2015.  The margin of error is +/- 4.5 percentage points. Results from the poll conducted March 13-15, 2015 are in square brackets. Results from the poll conducted February 12-15, 2015 are in parentheses. Results from the poll conducted December 18-21, 2014 are in curly brackets. Results from the poll conducted November 21-23, 2014 are in square brackets. Results from the poll conducted July 18-20, 2014 are in parentheses. Results from the poll conducted May 29 – June 1, 2014 are in curly brackets. Results from the poll conducted May 2-4, 2014 are in square brackets. Results from the poll conducted March 7-9, 2014 are in parentheses. Results from the poll conducted January 31 – February 2, 2014 are in curly brackets.  Results from the poll conducted November 18-20, 2013 are in square brackets.  Results from the poll conducted September 6-8, 2013 are in parentheses.

Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

by @ 4:00 am. Filed under 2016, Jeb Bush, Poll Watch, Republican Party

April 20, 2015

Poll Watch: Mason-Dixon Florida 2016 Presidential Survey

Mason-Dixon Florida 2016 Presidential Poll

  • Marco Rubio (R) 49%
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 43%
  • Jeb Bush (R) 47%
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 43%

Survey of 625 registered voters was conducted April 14-16, 2015. The margin of error is +/- 4 percentage points.

Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

by @ 4:29 pm. Filed under 2016, Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Poll Watch

April 17, 2015

Poll Watch: Mason-Dixon Florida 2016 Republican Primary Survey

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Rubiomentum? A new Mason-Dixon Polling and Research survey of 400 registered Republican Florida voters shows Sen. Marco Rubio with a narrow 31-30 lead over former Gov. Jeb Bush in their home state. Rubio’s well-received campaign roll out and subsequent media appearances have boosted the junior senator into a dead-heat with his political mentor and friend. Rubio famously toppled another moderate Republican governor, Charlie Crist, after initially trailing in the polls on his way to the GOP senate nomination in 2010.

Mason-Dixon Florida 2016 GOP Primary Poll

  • Marco Rubio 31%
  • Jeb Bush 30%
  • Ted Cruz 8%
  • Rand Paul 7%
  • Scott Walker 2%
  • Other 5%
  • Undecided 17%

Survey of 400 registered Republican voters was conducted April 14-16, 2015. The margin of error is +/- 5 percentage points.

Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

by @ 8:49 am. Filed under 2016, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Poll Analysis, Poll Watch

April 12, 2015

Poll Watch: PPP (D) North Carolina 2016 Republican Primary Survey

PPP (D) North Carolina 2016 GOP Primary Poll

  • Jeb Bush 19% {17%} [14%] (15%) {17%} [15%] (18%) {12%} [15%] (14%) {15%} [16%] (9%)
  • Scott Walker 16% {24%} [14%] {5%} (7%) {6%} [4%] (3%) {5%} [1%]
  • Ted Cruz 11% {3%} [6%] (5%) {12%} [17%] (12%) {14%} [8%] (11%) {12%} [12%]
  • Mike Huckabee 11% {15%} [13%] (14%) {17%} [19%] (22%) {19%} [20%] (15%)
  • Marco Rubio 11% {7%} (4%) {5%} [5%] (5%) {5%} [7%] (9%) {10%} [10%] (21%)
  • Ben Carson 9% {12%} [14%] (19%)
  • Chris Christie 7% {5%} [5%] (14%) {12%} [9%] (12%) {15%} [11%] (17%) {19%} [20%] (10%)
  • Rand Paul 6% {5%} [6%] (5%) {12%} [15%] (9%) {12%} [14%] (14%) {13%} [12%] (6%)
  • Rick Perry 2% {3%} [3%] (7%)
  • Not sure 7% {8%} [9%] (7%) {11%} [9%] (6%) {12%} [9%] (13%) {11%} [13%] (8%)

Survey of 351 Republican primary voters was conducted April 2-5, 2015. The margin of error is +/- 5.2 percentage points. Political ideology: 39% {36%} [39%] (38%) {37%} [35%] (32%) {35%} [33%] (40%) {39%} [36%] (35%) Somewhat conservative; 37% {38%} [35%] (39%) {40%} [45%] (39%) {37%} [35%] (38%) {37%} [36%] (44%) Very conservative; 18% {19%} [20%] (18%) {20%} [13%] (21%) {20%} [22%] (16%) {16%} [21%] (13%) Moderate; 5% {4%} [4%] (5%) {2%} [4%] (6%) {4%} [7%] (4%) {7%} [4%] (6%) Somewhat liberal; 1% {3%} [2%] (1%) {1%} [4%] (3%) {3%} [3%] (2%) {1%} [3%] (1%) Very liberal. Results from the poll conducted February 24-26, 2015 are in curly brackets. Results from the poll conducted January 29-31, 2015 are in square brackets. Results from the poll conducted December 4-7, 2014 are in parentheses.  Results from the poll conducted May 9-11, 2014 are in curly brackets.  Results from the poll conducted April 26-28, 2014 are in square brackets.  Results from the poll conducted April 3-6, 2014 are in parentheses.  Results from the poll conducted March 6-9, 2014 are in curly brackets.  Results from the poll conducted February 6-9, 2014 are in square brackets.  Results from the poll conducted January 9-12, 2014 are in parentheses.  Results from the poll conducted December 5-8, 2013 are in curly brackets.  Results from the poll conducted November 8-11, 2013 are in square brackets. Results from the poll conducted December 6-9, 2012are in parentheses.

Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

by @ 4:13 am. Filed under 2016, Jeb Bush, Poll Watch, Republican Party

April 10, 2015

Poll Watch: Monmouth University 2016 Republican Nomination Survey

Monmouth University 2016 GOP Nomination Poll

  • Jeb Bush 13%
  • Scott Walker 11%
  • Ted Cruz 11%
  • Mike Huckabee 9%
  • Ben Carson 7%
  • Donald Trump 7%
  • Rand Paul 6%
  • Chris Christie 5%
  • Rick Perry 5%
  • Marco Rubio 5%
  • Carly Fiorina 1%
  • Lindsey Graham 1%
  • Bobby Jindal 1%
  • John Kasich 1%
  • Rick Santorum 1%
  • John Bolton 0%
  • George Pataki 0%
  • Other (vol.) 1%
  • No one (vol.) 2%
  • Undecided (vol.) 14%

National survey of 355 registered voters who identify themselves as Republicans or lean toward the Republican Party was conducted March 30 – April 2, 2015. The margin of error is +/- 5.2 percentage points. 

Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

by @ 8:00 am. Filed under 2016, Jeb Bush, Poll Watch

April 9, 2015

Poll Watch: Quinnipiac Florida 2016 Republican Primary Survey

Quinnipiac Florida 2016 GOP Primary Poll

  • Jeb Bush 24% [32%] (21%) {27%} [25%] (22%)
  • Scott Walker 15% [9%] (2%) {4%} [5%] (2%)
  • Marco Rubio 12% [15%] (18%) {11%} [16%] (18%)
  • Ben Carson 8% [8%]
  • Ted Cruz 7% [4%] (10%) {6%} [9%] (12%)
  • Mike Huckabee 6% [11%] (7%) {6%}
  • Rand Paul 4% [3%] (8%) {14%} [11%] (9%)
  • Rick Perry 2% [1%] (5%)
  • Chris Christie 1% [3%] (6%) {7%} [9%] (14%)
  • John Kasich 1% [0%] (1%)
  • Lindsey Graham 0%
  • Bobby Jindal 0% [3%] (1%) {1%} [3%] (3%)
  • Rick Santorum 0% [3%] (1%)

Survey of 428 registered Republicans was conducted March 17-28, 2015. The margin of error is +/- 4.7 percentage points. Click here to view crosstabs. Results from the poll conducted January 22 – February 1, 2015 are in square brackets. Results from the poll conducted July 17-21, 2014 are in parentheses.  Results from the poll conducted April 23-28, 2014 are in curly brackets.  Results from the poll conducted January 22-27, 2014 are in square brackets. Results from the poll conducted November 12-17, 2013 are in parentheses.

Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

by @ 8:00 am. Filed under 2016, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Poll Watch, Republican Party

April 4, 2015

Poll Watch: ABC News/Washington Post 2016 Republican Nomination Survey

ABC News/Washington Post 2016 GOP Nomination Poll

  • Jeb Bush 21% (14%) {13%} [12%] (18%)
  • Scott Walker 13% (7%) {2%} [5%]
  • Ted Cruz 12% (8%) {4%} [7%] (12%)
  • Mike Huckabee 8% (7%) {12%} [14%]
  • Rand Paul 8% (10%) {12%} [15%] (11%)
  • Marco Rubio 8% (7%) {8%} [6%] (10%)
  • Chris Christie 7% (7%) {8%} [9%] (14%)
  • Ben Carson 6% (8%) {7%}
  • Rick Santorum 2% (3%) {4%}
  • Carly Fiorina 1%
  • Lindsey Graham 1%
  • Bobby Jindal 1% (3%) {2%} [2%]
  • John Kasich 1% (2%) {2%} [1%]
  • Rick Perry 1% (5%) {6%} [5%]

Survey of registered Republican and GOP-leaning voters was conducted March 26-29, 2015. The margin of error is +/- 6 percentage points. Results from the poll conducted December 11-14, 2014 are in parentheses. Results from the poll conducted October 9-12, 2014 are in curly brackets. Results from the poll conducted April 24-27, 2014 are in square brackets. Results from the poll conducted January 20-23, 2014 are in parentheses.

Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

by @ 8:00 am. Filed under 2016, Jeb Bush, Poll Watch, Republican Party

April 3, 2015

Poll Watch: Fox News 2016 Presidential Survey

  • Hillary Clinton (D) 45% [48%] (49%) {52%} [51%] (51%)
  • Jeb Bush (R) 45% [43%] (42%) {39%} [42%] (38%)
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 47% [47%] (51%) {52%} [51%]
  • Rand Paul (R) 45% [44%] (40%) {41%} [42%]
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 47%
  • Marco Rubio (R) 43%
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 48% (52%)
  • Ted Cruz (R) 42% (36%)
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 48%
  • Scott Walker (R) 42%

National survey of 1,025 registered voters was conducted March 29-31, 2015 under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R). The margin of error is +/- 3 percentage points. Results from the poll conducted January 25-27, 2015 are in square brackets. Results from the poll conducted December 7-9, 2014 are in parentheses.  Results from the poll conducted July 20-22, 2014 are in curly brackets.  Results from the poll conducted April 13-15, 2014 are in square brackets.  Results from the poll conducted March 2-4, 2014 are in parentheses.

Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

by @ 10:00 am. Filed under 2016, Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush, Poll Watch, Republican Party

April 1, 2015

Poll Watch: Boston Herald/Franklin Pierce University New Hampshire 2016 Republican Primary Survey

Boston Herald/Franklin Pierce University New Hampshire 2016 GOP Primary Poll

  • Jeb Bush 15%
  • Scott Walker 15%
  • Rand Paul 13%
  • Chris Christie 10%
  • Ted Cruz 9%
  • Mike Huckabee 7%
  • Ben Carson 4%
  • Marco Rubio 4%
  • Rick Perry 2%
  • Rick Santorum 2%
  • John Bolton 1%
  • Bobby Jindal 1%
  • John Kasich 1%
  • Carly Fiorina 0%
  • Lindsey Graham 0%
  • George Pataki 0%
  • Other 5%
  • Unsure 10%

Survey of 429 likely Republican primary voters was conducted March 22-25, 2015.  The margin of error is +/- 4.7 percentage points.

Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

by @ 8:00 am. Filed under 2016, Jeb Bush, New Hampshire Primary, Poll Watch, Republican Party, Scott Walker

March 31, 2015

Poll Watch: Quinnipiac Florida 2016 Presidential Survey

Quinnipiac Florida 2016 Presidential Poll

  • Jeb Bush (R) 45% (43%) {42%} [41%] (43%) {45%} [43%] (40%)
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 42% (44%) {49%} [49%] (49%) {47%} [50%] (51%)
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 46% (49%) {53%} [52%] (51%) {50%} [53%] (52%)
  • Marco Rubio (R) 44% (39%) {39%} [40%] (41%) {43%} [41%] (41%)
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 46% (50%) {53%} [55%] (53%) {51%}
  • Rand Paul (R) 43% (38%) {37%} [37%] (38%) {41%}
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 44% (51%) {54%} [52%] (51%) {45%}
  • Chris Christie (R) 39% (33%) {33%} [34%] (35%) {41%}
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 46%
  • Scott Walker (R) 40%
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 48% (51%) [53%]
  • Mike Huckabee (R) 40% (34%) [35%]
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 48% (57%) (54%) {52%}
  • Ted Cruz (R) 39% (31%) (34%) {36%}

Survey of 1,087 Florida voters was conducted March 17-28, 2015. The margin of error is +/- 3 percentage points. Party ID: 32% (33%) {31%} [31%] (30%) {32%} [34%] (35%) Democrat; 29% (28%) {28%} [25%] (27%) {29%} [28%] (27%) Republican; 30% (30%) {32%} [34%] (35%) {32%} [30%] (31%) Independent; 9% (8%) {9%} [11%] (7%) {7%} [8%] (7%) Other. Click here to view crosstabs. Results from the poll conducted January 22 – February 1, 2015 are in parentheses.Results from the poll conducted July 17-21, 2014 are in curly brackets. Results from the poll conducted April 23-28, 2014 are in square brackets.  Results from the poll conducted January 22-27, 2014 are in parentheses.  Results from the poll conducted November 12-17, 2013 are in curly brackets.  Results from the poll conducted June 11-16, 2013 are in square brackets. Results from the poll conducted March 13-18, 2013 are in parentheses.

Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

by @ 11:07 am. Filed under 2016, Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Poll Watch, Republican Party

Poll Watch: Emerson College Massachusetts 2016 Republican Primary Survey

Emerson College Massachusetts 2016 GOP Primary Poll

  • Jeb Bush 18.7%
  • Scott Walker 18.5%
  • Ben Carson 12.5%
  • Rand Paul 7.3%
  • Chris Christie 5.9%
  • Ted Cruz 5.6%
  • Mike Huckabee 3.3%

Survey of 216 Republican primary voters was conducted March 14-19, 2015.

Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

by @ 4:00 am. Filed under 2016, Jeb Bush, Republican Party, Scott Walker

March 30, 2015

Poll Watch: Quinnipiac New York 2016 Republican Primary Survey

Quinnipiac New York 2016 GOP Primary Poll

  • Jeb Bush 13%
  • Scott Walker 13%
  • Chris Christie 12%
  • Marco Rubio 10%
  • Rand Paul 8%
  • George Pataki 6%
  • Ben Carson 6%  
  • Ted Cruz 3%
  • Mike Huckabee 3%
  • Bobby Jindal 1%
  • Rick Perry 1%
  • John Kasich 1%
  • Rick Santorum 1%
  • Lindsey Graham 0%

Survey of 327 registered Republicans was conducted March 11-16, 2015. The margin of error is +/- 5.4 percentage points.

Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

by @ 4:00 am. Filed under 2016, Jeb Bush, Poll Watch, Republican Party, Scott Walker

March 27, 2015

Poll Watch: PPP (D) Florida 2016 Republican Presidential Primary Survey

PPP (D) Florida 2016 GOP Presidential Primary Poll

  • Jeb Bush 25% [30%] (30%) {26%} [28%] (22%)
  • Scott Walker 17% [7%]
  • Marco Rubio 15% [14%] (29%) {31%} [22%] (24%)
  • Ben Carson 12%
  • Mike Huckabee 7% [7%] (9%) {11%} [11%] (10%)
  • Ted Cruz 6% [9%]
  • Chris Christie 4% [8%] (8%) {7%} [9%] (10%)
  • Rand Paul 4% [11%] (11%) {5%} [3%] (4%)
  • Rick Perry 3% (1%) {2%}
  • Not sure 6% [10%] (6%) {5%} [5%] (4%)
Survey of 425 Republican primary voters was conducted March 19-22, 2015. The margin of error is +/- 4.8 percentage points. Political ideology: 39% [41%] (40%) {36%} [42%] (40%) Somewhat conservative; 34% [28%] (27%) {35%} [34%] (33%) Very conservative; 20% [22%] (24%) {19%} [19%] (20%) Moderate; 5% [6%] (6%) {9%} [3%] (5%) Somewhat liberal; 2% [2%] (2%) {2%} [2%] (3%) Very liberal.  Results from the poll conducted June 6-9, 2014 are in square brackets. Results from the poll conducted March 15-18, 2013 are in parentheses.  Results from the poll conducted January 11-13, 2013 are in curly brackets.  Results from the poll conducted November 3-4, 2012 are in square brackets.  Results from the poll conducted August 31 – September 2, 2012 are in parentheses.

Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

by @ 4:00 am. Filed under 2016, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Poll Watch, Republican Party

March 26, 2015

Poll Watch: PPP (D) Florida 2016 Presidential Survey

  • Hillary Clinton (D) 48% (49%) {48%} [56%] (50%)
  • Marco Rubio (R) 46% (42%) {44%} [40%] (46%)
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 47% (46%) {46%} [53%] (49%)
  • Jeb Bush (R) 44% (44%) {45%} [40%] (44%)
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 46% (48%) {48%}
  • Rand Paul (R) 42% (40%) {42%}
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 49% (49%) {48%}
  • Mike Huckabee (R) 44% (40%) {41%}
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 48% (46%) {46%}
  • Chris Christie (R) 41% (38%) {38%}
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 49% (51%) {50%}
  • Ted Cruz (R) 42% (36%) {39%}
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 50%
  • Rick Perry (R) 42%
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 49%
  • Ben Carson (R) 41%
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 49%
  • Scott Walker (R) 41%
  • Joe Biden (D) 43%
  • Scott Walker (R) 43%
  • Elizabeth Warren (D) 42%
  • Scott Walker (R) 41%

Do you approve or disapprove of Senator Marco Rubio’s job performance?

  • Approve 45% (44%) {45%} [44%] (49%)
  • Disapprove 40% (41%) {40%} [43%] (36%)

Do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of Jeb Bush?

  • Favorable 45% (50%) {51%} [50%] (51%)
  • Unfavorable 42% (35%) {35%} [37%] (35%)

Do you think Jeb Bush should run for President in 2016, or not?

  • He should 37% (31%) {35%} [33%] (32%)
  • He should not 52% (53%) {50%} [51%] (53%)

Do you think Marco Rubio should run for President in 2016, or not?

  • He should 35% (32%) {27%} [37%] (38%)
  • He should not 51% (53%) {59%} [53%] (49%)

Survey of 923 likely voters was conducted March 19-22, 2015. The margin of error is +/- 3.2 percentage points. Party ID: 41% (40%) {38%} [42%] (44%) Democrat; 41% (38%) {37%} [37%] (38%) Republican; 19% (22%) {25%} [22%] (18%) Independent/Other.  Political ideology: 32% (31%) {28%} [32%] (33%) Moderate; 24% (23%) {25%} [21%] (21%) Somewhat conservative; 17% (13%) {15%}[17%] (18%) Very conservative; 16% (19%) {22%} [17%] (17%)Somewhat liberal; 11% (13%) {11%} [13%] (12%) Very liberal. Results from the poll conducted September 4-7, 2014 are in parentheses.  Results from the poll conducted June 6-9, 2014 are in curly brackets.  Results from the poll conducted March 15-18, 2013 are in square brackets.  Results from the poll conducted January 11-13, 2013 are in parentheses.

Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

March 25, 2015

POWER RANKINGS: March

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 19, 2015

The Looming Sunshine State Showdown

Making predictions in politics is a fool’s game. Making predictions in politics at this point in the race, this far removed from any actual voting, is like throwing darts while drunk and blindfolded at a dartboard in another bar. Given that, I’d like to go on the record and fling my dart: before any candidates have even formally announced their candidacy, I predict the 2016 Republican nomination will come down to Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio.

Depending on how you view the current state of the race, this could either be a boring or outlandish prediction. On one hand, Senator Rubio is mired in single digits in every poll, barely registered in the CPAC straw poll last month, and is not expected to be able to out-raise or out-organize Governor Bush. Nothing points to Rubio going anywhere in this crowded field-to-be. In fact, 2-4 times the number of voters are supporting the current hot candidate, Governor Walker, at the moment. The money seems to be on a Walker-Bush race once it actually gets under way.

But on the other hand… nobody should care about actual poll numbers at this early stage of the game. Right now, it’s all about potential, upside, ceiling… and all about impressing the right people (read: party insiders who have more influence over the nomination process than any voter would like to admit). And in those areas, Marco Rubio is absolutely shining while the sheen is already beginning to come off Governor Walker’s and Governor Bush’s campaigns.

Governor Jeb Bush
Bush’s campaign has seen a string of negative press recently, starting with the complete disaster of his major foreign policy speech last month. He mispronounced names, gave incorrect facts, and gave vague, non-descript answers to questions for which he should have been more than prepared. In a speech your campaign dubs as your first major policy speech on a national stage, people describing the end result as “uncertain,” “rushed,” “nervous,” “clunky,” and “vague” simply isn’t good.

Luckily for Governor Bush, nobody was paying attention to that speech so it didn’t hurt him in the polls. But again, actual poll numbers are secondary at this stage in the game. The more important question is this: what does this bumbling speech tell us about Jeb Bush moving forward? This was not an uncontrolled event or a last minute interview. This was a planned, scripted speech which the campaign put together to display Bush’s gravitas and seriousness as a candidate. Instead, what we got was something that looked much more akin to Jeb’s older brother.

Those family ties may end up being the biggest thing weighing down a Bush candidacy at this point, actually. Every speech or interview Governor Bush has done over the past month has included a line to the tune of, “I am my own man,” or “I am not my brother.” It’s a weak attempt to distance himself from the negatives of George W. Bush’s time as President, but what it really does is tell us which of Jeb’s negatives poll the worst with the focus groups.

Speaking of negatives, the latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll delivered more bad news for Governor Bush last week: a larger-than-expected 42% of Republican primary voters said they could not see themselves supporting Jeb Bush in the primary. The only two potential candidates who had higher negatives were Christie (57%) and Trump (74%). In a culture where voters want someone who will look to the future, 60% of voters said Bush represents a return to the past. And among all Americans, Bush’s positive ratings clocked in at a dismal 23% (4% very positive, 19% somewhat positive). That actually put Jeb’s favorability below his older brother’s, who clocked in at 35% in the same poll (and well below Hillary Clinton at 44%). In other words, at this point the GOP would do better running Dubya than Jeb.

So how will Governor Bush remain in the race and be one of the two finalists? Simple: insider support. The Republican Party insiders largely belong to the Bush family, and Jeb is leveraging that support in every way possible. He will have no trouble finding staffers to man his field offices, money men to bankroll his campaign, or organizers to assemble and maintain a campaign structure. All he has to do is hit the trail and be “good enough” for the average voter. He’ll easily last the first few rounds of the fight and be one of the final contenders.

Governor Scott Walker
Meanwhile, Governor Walker’s team has become well acquainted with the harsh reality of what becomes of candidates who rise too quickly too soon. After catching flack for mishandling the Giuliani comments and Obama religion issues, as well as comparing liberal protesters to ISIS terrorists, Governor Walker went on to be slammed for giving vague answers at a Club For Growth event (and appearing to know little about the issues he was answering), flip-flopping on immigration and ethanol subsidies, and most recently, the complete bungling of the Liz Mair/Iowa situation.

All of these missteps coming in such a short window of time have left the party insiders with severe doubts about Walker’s ability to hold up during the rest of the campaign — or, more importantly, during a general campaign against Hillary Clinton. Indeed, leaks have appeared in numerous articles of the past few weeks in which insiders question whether Walker is ready or has what it takes. Those sorts of questions have the potential to doom a Walker candidacy before the actual campaign even begins. To add insult to injury, however, the way in which Governor Walker handled the Liz Mair firing/resignation has turned the conservative blogosphere against him as well: RedState, NRO, HotAir, Ace of Spades, and several other prominent blogs have all attacked Governor Walker, leaving him without a solid base of support any longer. He was supposed to be the candidate who bridged the gap between the grassroots and the establishment, and he has now caused both sides to back away and question him. He was supposed to be the candidate running on strength and honesty, and so the lack of issue knowledge, flip-flopping on issues, and pandering to Iowa voters will be his Achilles’ heel. Unlike Governor Bush, he doesn’t have the apparatus to prop himself back up, either. Which leaves us with…

Senator Marco Rubio
Senator Rubio has yet to break 7% in any Republican primary poll, and often trails the likes of Rand Paul, Ben Carson, Scott Walker, Chris Christie, Mike Huckabee, and others. And yet, I would assert that at this point he is the best positioned of any candidate in the field. Why? Because of three things: what he’s shown during speeches and interviews, the attention he’s getting from GOP insiders, and the relationship he’s cultivating with Governor Mitt Romney.

The first, his speeches and interviews, comes down to his innate ability to communicate. He is clearly and hands down the most effective communicator of the potential Republican field, and every time he gets in front of people to speak it benefits his chances. (This is, obviously, in stark contrast to Hillary Clinton, and to some degree to Governors Bush and Walker as well.) His CPAC speech and subsequent Q&A didn’t result in a straw poll victory, but it did result in several movers and shakers in GOP circles sitting up and taking notice. Where other candidates-to-be majored in vague boilerplate and platitudes, Rubio majored in the specifics. Where others had difficulty differentiating themselves and answering the question, “Why are you running for president?” Rubio made insiders drool while imagining him saying, “I owe a debt to America I could never repay” during a debate with Hillary Clinton. Senator Rubio has been deliberate in limiting his appearances thus far so as not to fall into the same trap as Governor Walker has (and that Governor Romney did in 2007-08). But when he does speak, he makes sure he knows what he’s going to say and clearly anticipates the questions he will receive and practices how to answer them (unlike Governor Bush). Meanwhile, he’s working tirelessly behind the scenes to cobble together a donor network and campaign team that will never rival the size of Governor Bush’s, but will certainly rival (and perhaps best) its tenacity and loyalty.

All of that results in some tectonic movement in the rank-and-file of the GOP. They are watching Senator Rubio very carefully and optimistically, and if he proves to be the real deal during the spring and summer months, could land enough of their support to KO Governor Bush next winter. Just look at the tone of the insiders from this NRO piece:

Insider Buzz Grows for Marco Rubio… “Everybody’s talking about Rubio.” So says a top Republican operative who’s been in touch with nearly every potential presidential campaign, as well as with several top donors… “The Jeb boom is over and people are having second thoughts about Walker…” Marco Rubio, who now has many of the party’s top donors looking at him… his knowledgeable presentations and obvious political talent are nonetheless turning heads or, at least, enough of them.

That same WSJ/NBC News poll that delivered troubling data to Governor Bush also gave a glimpse of just how much potential Rubio has in this race: a full 56% of Republican voters could see themselves supporting Rubio — the highest level of support for any of the 14 candidates in the survey. In this primary, slow and steady may end up winning the race, and if that’s the case Senator Rubio will be the one holding the trophy at the finish line. And Rubio may well have a secret weapon up his sleeve — the support he’s receiving from none other than Mitt Romney.

When Romney announced he wasn’t running in 2016, he declared it was time for a new face of a younger generation to lead the party. It is becoming increasingly clear the Massachusetts Governor had Marco Rubio in mind when he said that: the Washington Post reports Romney and Rubio have had at least two “lengthy” phone calls, and many of Romney’s campaign staff and donors have come out praising the Florida Senator, including Lanhee Chen (Romney’s policy director), Spencer Zwick (national finance chairman), Rich Beeson (national political director), and Jim Merrill (New Hampshire strategist). In fact, Rubio’s campaign has already hired the latter two, and it’s probably just a matter of time before more of Team Romney jump aboard Rubio’s ship. Governor Bush will have the big name money bundlers in New York and Florida, and no one will raise more money than him this primary campaign, but if Romney gets the rest of his donor network to back Rubio it may make Rubio at least more competitive financially speaking.

And so as Governor Walker begins to fade due to a series of self-inflicted wounds, and other candidates like Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Ben Carson, and Rick Perry hit their naturally low ceilings, the two serious candidates who will fight for the GOP nomination in 2016 will be Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio. One has inevitability on his side, which is a powerful force in GOP primaries (see McCain, 2008). The other has potential on his side, which can be an equally powerful force if harnessed and realized. I’ll predict those two as the two frontrunners come voting time, but it’s anybody’s guess as to which one will end up winning.

by @ 8:00 am. Filed under 2016, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Republican Party, Scott Walker

March 18, 2015

Poll Watch: CNN/ORC 2016 Republican Nomination Survey

CNN/ORC 2016 GOP Nomination Poll

  • Jeb Bush 16% (14%) {23%} [14%] (8%) {12%} [13%] (9%) {10%} [6%] (10%)
  • Scott Walker 13% (11%) {4%} [5%] (5%) {5%} [7%]
  • Rand Paul 12% (10%) {6%} [8%] (12%) {14%} [13%] (16%) {13%} [13%] (13%)
  • Mike Huckabee 10% (16%) {6%} [10%] (12%) {11%} [10%] (10%) {14%}
  • Ben Carson 9% (8%) {7%} [11%]
  • Chris Christie 7% (7%) {13%} [9%] (13%) {8%} [9%] (8%) {10%} [24%] (17%)
  • Marco Rubio 7% (5%) {5%} [3%] (6%) {8%} [6%] (5%) {9%} [9%] (9%)
  • Ted Cruz 4% (3%) {4%} [7%] (8%) {9%} [7%] (8%) {8%} [10%] (7%)
  • Rick Perry 4% (3%) {4%} [5%] (11%) {6%} [8%] (11%) {8%} [7%] (6%)
  • John Kasich 2% (2%) {3%} [3%]
  • Lindsey Graham 1% (1%)
  • Bobby Jindal 1% (1%) {4%} [1%]
  • Rick Santorum 1% (3%) {2%} [2%] (3%) {4%} [2%] (3%) {4%} [6%] (5%)
  • Carly Fiorina 0% (1%)

Survey of 450 Republicans and GOP-leaning Independents was conducted March 13-15, 2015.  The margin of error is +/- 4.5 percentage points. Results from the poll conducted February 12-15, 2015 are in parentheses. Results from the poll conducted December 18-21, 2014 are in curly brackets. Results from the poll conducted November 21-23, 2014 are in square brackets. Results from the poll conducted July 18-20, 2014 are in parentheses. Results from the poll conducted May 29 – June 1, 2014 are in curly brackets. Results from the poll conducted May 2-4, 2014 are in square brackets. Results from the poll conducted March 7-9, 2014 are in parentheses. Results from the poll conducted January 31 – February 2, 2014 are in curly brackets.  Results from the poll conducted November 18-20, 2013 are in square brackets.  Results from the poll conducted September 6-8, 2013 are in parentheses.

Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

by @ 5:19 pm. Filed under 2016, Jeb Bush, Poll Watch, Republican Party

March 13, 2015

Poll Watch: Quinnipiac Connecticut 2016 Republican Primary Survey

Quinnipiac Connecticut 2016 GOP Primary Poll

  • Jeb Bush 18%
  • Scott Walker 18%
  • Rand Paul 12%
  • Chris Christie 11%
  • Ben Carson 7%  
  • Ted Cruz 5%
  • Marco Rubio 4%
  • Mike Huckabee 3%
  • Bobby Jindal 2%
  • Rick Perry 2%
  • John Kasich 0%
  • Lindsey Graham 0%
  • Rick Santorum 0%

Survey of 323 registered Republicans was conducted March 6-9, 2015. The margin of error is +/- 5.5 percentage points.

Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

by @ 8:00 am. Filed under 2016, Jeb Bush, Poll Watch, Republican Party, Scott Walker

March 8, 2015

Poll Watch: McClatchy-Marist 2016 Republican Nomination Survey

McClatchy-Marist 2016 GOP Nomination Poll

  • Jeb Bush 19% [16%] (15%) {13%} [13%] (8%) {8%} [10%] (10%)
  • Scott Walker 18% [3%] (3%) {4%} [5%] (7%) {4%} [4%] (2%)
  • Mike Huckabee 10% [12%] [13%] (13%)
  • Ben Carson 9% [8%]
  • Rand Paul 7% [6%] (13%) {7%} [12%] (9%) {9%} [12%] (9%)
  • Chris Christie 6% [10%] (12%) {13%} [12%] (13%) {16%} [18%] (15%)
  • Marco Rubio 5% [3%] (6%) {9%} [7%] (12%) {7%} [7%] (12%)
  • Ted Cruz 4% [5%] (4%) {10%} [4%] (5%) {5%} [10%] (7%)
  • Rick Perry 3% [5%] (7%) {7%} [3%] (2%) {6%} [3%] (4%)
  • Rick Santorum 2% [3%] (3%) {3%} [3%] (2%) {5%} [4%] (2%)
  • Carly Fiorina 2% [1%]
  • Lindsey Graham 1%
  • Undecided 13% [18%] (21%) {23%} [14%] (12%) {25%} [13%] (25%)

Survey of 426 registered Republicans and GOP-leaning Independents was conducted March 1-4, 2015. The margin of error is +/- 4.7 percentage points. Party ID: 68% {70%} (67%) {57%} [63%] (64%) {65%} [62%] (65%) Republican; 32% {30%} (33%) {43%} [37%] (36%) {35%} [38%] (35%) Independent. Results from the poll conducted December 3-9, 2014 are in curly brackets. Results from the poll conducted September 24-29, 2014 are in parentheses. Results from the poll conducted August 4-7, 2014 are in curly brackets. Results from the poll conducted April 7-10, 2014 are in square brackets.  Results from the poll conducted February 4-9, 2014 are in parentheses. Results from the poll conducted January 12-14, 2014 are in curly brackets. Results from the poll conducted December 3-5, 2013 are in square brackets.  Results from the poll conducted July 15-18, 2013 are in parentheses.

Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

by @ 11:00 am. Filed under 2016, Jeb Bush, Poll Watch, Republican Party

March 7, 2015

Poll Watch: PPP (D) Ohio 2016 Presidential Survey

  • Hillary Clinton (D) 45% (50%)
  • Jeb Bush (R) 40% (36%)
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 49%
  • Scott Walker (R) 41%

Survey of 946 registered voters was conducted March 2-3, 2015.  Party ID: 41% (42%) Democrat; 36% (36%) Republican; 22% (22%)Independent/Other.  Results from the poll conducted August 16-19, 2013 are in parentheses.

Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

by @ 12:00 pm. Filed under 2016, Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush, Poll Watch, Scott Walker

March 6, 2015

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

PPP (D) North Carolina 2016 Presidential Poll

  • Ben Carson (R) 46% (45%) {44%}
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 45% (45%) {44%}
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 46% {46%} [45%] (45%) {46%} [47%] (48%) {49%} [48%]
  • Mike Huckabee (R) 46% {44%} [46%] (44%) {43%} [43%] (43%) {42%} [43%]
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 45% (46%)
  • Scott Walker (R) 43% (44%)
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 45% {44%} [45%] (45%) {45%} [44%] (46%) {46%} [45%] (42%) {42%} [43%]
  • Chris Christie (R) 42% {42%} [38%] (38%) {41%} [40%] (44%) {42%} [42%] (43%) {45%} [46%]
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 46% [46%] (47%) {46%} [45%] (47%) {49%} [47%] (47%) {48%} [50%] (52%) 
  • Rand Paul (R) 43% [41%] (42%) {43%} [44%] (43%) {43%} [44%] (43%) {44%} [41%] (40%)
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 47%
  • Rick Perry (R) 44%
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 46%
  • Marco Rubio (R) 42%
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 47% [48%] (47%) (47%) {49%} [51%]
  • Ted Cruz (R) 43% [40%] (41%) (41%) {41%} [39%]
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 46% (44%) {46%} [43%] (46%) {45%} [45%] (45%) {47%} [47%] (46%) {46%} [47%]
  • Jeb Bush (R) 42% (44%) {46%} [45%] (42%) {44%} [42%] (44%) {46%} [43%] (44%) {45%} [43%]
  • Jeb Bush (R) 47% {47%}
  • Joe Biden (D) 40% {42%}
  • Jeb Bush (R) 44% {46%}
  • Elizabeth Warren (D) 38% {39%}

Survey of 849 registered North Carolina voters was conducted February 24-26, 2015. The margin of error is +/- 3.4 percentage points. Party ID: 44% (43%) {42%} [45%] (42%) {43%} [42%] (42%) {42%} [39%] (43%) {43%} [45%] Democrat; 35% (34%) {36%} [34%] (31%) {36%} [35%] (36%) {35%} [34%] (33%) {34%} [33%] Republican; 21% (23%) {22%} [21%] (27%) {22%} [23%] (22%) {23%} [27%] (23%) {23%} [21%] Independent/Other.  Results from the poll conducted January 29-31, 2015 are in parentheses.  Results from the poll conducted December 4-7, 2014 are in curly brackets. Results from the poll conducted September 11-14, 2014 are in square brackets. Results from the poll conducted August 14-17, 2014 are in parentheses. Results from the poll conducted June 12-15, 2014 are in curly brackets. Results from the poll conducted May 9-11, 2014 are in square brackets. Results from the poll conducted April 3-6, 2014 are in parentheses. Results from the poll conducted March 6-9, 2014 are in curly brackets. Results from the poll conducted February 6-9, 2014 are in square brackets. Results from the poll conducted January 9-12, 2014are in parentheses.  Results from the poll conducted December 5-8, 2013 are in curly brackets.  Results from the poll conducted November 8-11, 2013 are in square brackets.

Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

by @ 8:00 am. Filed under 2016, Ben Carson, Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush, Poll Watch, Republican Party

March 5, 2015

Poll Watch: Gravis Marketing (R) South Carolina 2016 Republican Primary Survey

  • Jeb Bush 19% {18%} [22%] (16.0%)
  • Scott Walker 17% {11%} [5%] (2.3%)
  • Lindsey Graham 12%
  • Mike Huckabee 10% {11%} [19%] (15.8%)  
  • Chris Christie 8% {8%} [12%] (16.6%)
  • Marco Rubio 6% {9%} [6%] (7.2%)
  • Rand Paul 6% {8%} [8%] (9.7%)
  • Ted Cruz 2% {9%} [8%] (11.1%)
  • Rick Santorum 2% {4%} [2%] (2.8%)
  • Carly Fiorina 2%
  • Unsure 16% {17%} [19%] (18.5%)

Survey of 792 ikely GOP primary voters was conducted February 24-25, 2015. The margin of error is +/- 3 percentage points. Results from the poll conducted January 21-22, 2015 are in curly brackets. Results from the poll conducted March 6-7, 2014 are in square brackets.Results from the poll conducted November 30 – December 2, 2013 are in parentheses.

Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

by @ 2:34 pm. Filed under 2016, Jeb Bush, Poll Watch, Republican Party

March 4, 2015

Poll Watch: Gravis Insights/Howie Carr (R) Florida 2016 Republican Primary Survey

Gravis Insights/Howie Carr (R) Florida 2016 GOP Primary Poll

  • Jeb Bush 23% (33%)
  • Scott Walker 22%
  • Marco Rubio 11% (14%)
  • Mike Huckabee 10%
  • Ben Carson 8%
  • Chris Christie 6% (6%)
  • Rand Paul 5% (11%)
  • Ted Cruz 2% (11%)
  • Rick Perry 1%
  • Unsure 12% (13%)

Survey of 513 Republican voters was conducted February 24-25, 2015. The margin of error is +/- 4 percentage points. Results from the poll conducted November 19-20, 2014 are in parentheses.

Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

by @ 12:14 pm. Filed under 2016, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Poll Watch, Republican Party

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