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).

Bracket

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.

Race 4 2016 Roundup

It’s only January, 2015, and already the 2016 presidential race seems to be charging forward.

On the upswing today is Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. On the heels of his supremely successful address to conservatives attending the Iowa Freedom Summit, the governor now plans to jumpstart his own PAC, aptly named, “Our American Revival.” Gov. Walker continues to impress me in his ability to use a conservative tone and language without doing so in a way that seems confrontational to those voters not fully aligned with the grassroots base and its perception of things. The use of the word, “revival,” for example, has a religious connotation, but the entire focus of Walker’s PAC and Walker’s message so far has been on freedom, and on limiting and reforming government. Like Bush in 2000, Walker seems to understand how to appeal to social conservatives without actually putting forth the kinds of policies that those in the middle may view as nanny state policies from the Right.

Speaking of the Bushes, the country’s current populist mood is giving the Left an opportunity to paint former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush as a charisma-free dauphin being crowned by the establishment. From The New York Times today:

Moments after Jeb Bush delivered what many in the audience described as an unremarkable talk at a conference in Washington, Rupert Murdoch turned to his seatmate, Valerie Jarrett, the White House adviser, to gush over its content and tone.

Mr. Murdoch was pleased that Mr. Bush, the former governor of Florida, had listed the economic benefits of overhauling the nation’s immigration system, confiding in Ms. Jarrett that Mr. Bush, a likely Republican presidential candidate, had said all the right things on the fraught issue, according to three people with firsthand knowledge of the conversation.

Democrats and their fellow travelers in the media are already attempting to frame Mr. Bush as a candidate who has more in common with the establishments of both parties than with the broad swaths of middle class Americans on the ground, who may have different priorities, concerns, or viewpoints than those held and parroted by the ruling classes in Washington and New York. Mr. Bush’s challenge will be to overcome the notion that he is an out of touch Aristocrat whose policies would further drive down middle class wages, instead of lifting them.

by @ 1:44 pm. Filed under Jeb Bush, Scott Walker

Christie is in Serious Trouble

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

enten-datalab-christiescatter

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 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.

Jeb Bush’s Speaks to the National Automobile Dealers Association

Last night Jeb Bush made his first major address since announcing he was seriously looking into running for President. He spoke to the National Automobile Dealers Association in their annual convention in San Francisco.  The Washington Post reports:

[T]he Republican former Florida governor spoke confidently and in significant detail about the broad range of issues beginning to shape the campaign for the White House. Bush signaled he would offer the country the “adult conversations” he said are lacking in Washington and would focus on people who have been left out of the economic revival.

Bush was sharply critical of Washington — not only of President Obama but also of the Republican-controlled Congress — saying there were too many “academic and political hacks” with “hard-core ideology” who are running the country without making progress.

“They’re basically Maytag repairmen,” he said. “Nothing gets done.” Bush added, “It is time to challenge every aspect of how government works — how it taxes, how it regulates, how it spends — to open up economic opportunity for all.”

The LA Times added:

“Just a lot of reasons to be angry or grumpy and negative and then react to the overreach,” the former Florida governor told a gathering of the nation’s auto dealers in San Francisco after delivering a long and scathing assessment of President Obama’s time in office, both domestically and on the world stage.

But, he went on, “we’re not going to win votes as Republicans unless we can lay out a hopeful, optimistic message that’s based in reality, that’s grounded in a set of policies that are real, that people believe can actually happen. Hope and a positive agenda wins out over anger and reaction every day of the week.”

He was asked at one point about his meeting with Mitt Romney the day before. He replied:

“We talked about the Patriots. We talked a little bit about politics, not as much as you might imagine. We talked about the future of the country. We talked about the need for a more engaged foreign policy..?.?.The awkward side of this, about running and such, we put aside.”

All in all not a bad speech. It is a strong start for a campaign for the Oval Office.

 

by @ 9:10 am. Filed under Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney

Texans Apparently Like to Run For President

How many Texans does it take to run for President? Five apparently.

In the maneuvering preceding the upcoming GOP race for the top, five people with Texas roots have been busy. They are:

  • Rick Perry, the outgoing Governor of Texas.
  • Ted Cruz, the state’s junior Senator.
  • Jeb Bush, former Governor of Florida but born and raised in the Lone Star State.
  • Rand Paul, Senator from Tennessee Kentucky but born and raised in the Houston area. His father was a former Texas Congressman.
  • Carly Fiorina, former head of Hewlett Packard who had an unsuccessful 2010 run for California Senator and the only woman (so far) in the field. She was born in Austin, but raised elsewhere.

Yee-haw!

 

by @ 8:44 am. Filed under Carly Fiorina, Jeb Bush, Rand Paul, Rick Perry, Ted Cruz

January 23, 2015

Hot Air Poll

The Conservative blog, HotAir recently polled its members on the nascent 2016 GOP presidential primary race. The results are as follows:

  • Scott Walker 25% (682 votes)
  • Ted Cruz 25% (671 votes)
  • Mitt Romney 20% (542 votes)
  • Ben Carson 8% (209 votes)
  • Rand Paul 5% (146 votes)
  • Rick Perry 5% (132 votes)
  • Bobby Jindal 3% (77 votes)
  • Marco Rubio 2% (52 votes)
  • John Kasich 1% (36 votes)
  • Jeb Bush 1% (35 votes)
  • Mike Pence 1% (28 votes)
  • Mike Huckabee 1% (25 votes)
  • Chris Christie 0% (11 votes)
  • Rick Santorum 0% (4 votes)
  • —-
  • Other 3% (85 votes)

Some observations:

  • These guys eat, drink, sleep, and breath politics so blaming “Name Recognition” for any of the results just doesn’t cut it.
  • Walker and Cruz came in far stronger here than anywhere else. The HotAir crowd really likes these guys.
  • Romney finishes in a very strong third place. He is only five ppts off the leaders. This is rather unexpected given the makeup of the HotAir readership.
  • No one else broke double digits.
  • Jeb Bush, who is supposed to be Romney’s main competition for the nomination, is way down the list barely registering a weak 1%.
  • Chris Christie, the other supposed big competitor in the Establishment wing is so far down in the mud that he registers a mere 0%.
  • Rick Santorum, as he often does in almost any poll, anywhere, shows up dead last. Nobody drags bottom like Rick.

 

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.

 

Romney and Bush Meeting No Big Deal

The Salt Lake Tribune reports:

Two of the Republican Party’s top presidential talents met privately in Utah on Thursday, raising speculation they may have cut some sort of political deal. But those close to Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush said instead it was simply a cordial, political conversation between friends and potential rivals.

“It has absolutely no strategic implications. Period,” said former Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt, a close adviser to Romney. “I think it is two people who know each other, who like each other, who have common interests and who realize they may be in an awkward place soon.”

Bush hopped a Delta flight from Washington, D.C., to Salt Lake City International Airport, where a KUTV reporter talked to him. The former Florida governor said the meeting wouldn’t be uncomfortable.

“Nah, not at all,” Bush said. “I respect him a lot. I admire him a lot. He is a great American. I look forward to seeing him.”

Asked what they would talk about, Bush said: “The future.”

After the meeting at an undisclosed location, possibly one of Romney’s two homes in the state, Bush aides wouldn’t shed any light on what was said.

“Governor Bush enjoyed visiting with Governor Romney and has great respect for him,” offered Bush spokeswoman Kristy Campbell.

The Deseret News reported:

Thursday’s private meeting in Utah between potential 2016 presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush shouldn’t be seen as any sort of showdown, one of Romney’s top advisers said.

“There’s none of that,” said former Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt, who headed the transition team that would have prepared Romney to take over the White House had he defeated President Barack Obama in 2012.

“There are two men who have known each other a long time and like each other, and they want to make sure there’s good communications between the two of them,” Leavitt said. “And absolutely nothing beyond that.”

So much for Allahpundit’s “RINO Yalta”. Both of the parties involved are playing down the importance of the meeting, and nobody appears to be changing the trajectory of their pre-campaign campaign. It is an unusual move to be sure, but it is nice to see two potential competitors being nice to each other. It shows a fair amount of class.

by @ 12:01 am. Filed under Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney

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.

 

Poll Watch: Rasmussen Bush/Romney Head-to-head

Rasmussen asked 787 Likely Republican Voters on January 18-19, 2015, the following question: If the 2016 Republican presidential primary were held in your state today, … [and] it was a contest between Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney, whom would you choose?

Here are the results, bearing in mind that this is a poll of Republicans:

Romney Bush Margin Neither
All 49 32 17 19
Conservatives 51 30 21 19
Moderates 49 31 18 20
Liberals 35 55 20 10

So Mitt easily out polls Bush with all Republican likely voters save liberal Republicans. With them, Jeb is the big favorite. Not only does Bush lead Romney in the raw liberal vote, but the liberals seem more certain of their choice. They want Bush.

How interesting is that?

Romney should temper his elation at this poll, however. Nearly 20% of the Republicans want neither he nor Bush even if they were the only two names on the ballot. That’s hardly an overwhelming vote of confidence.

All the same, this is the sort of result that will make the upcoming Utah meeting between Mitt and Jeb all the more interesting, don’t you think?

by @ 11:53 am. Filed under Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney, Poll Watch

A Possible Bush Scandal?

The Washington Post reports:

One of Jeb Bush’s many new business ventures after he left the Florida governor’s mansion in 2007 was InnoVida, a Miami-based company marketing a composite panel that could be used to quickly assemble temporary housing without the need of cement, steel or wood.

Bush joined the company as $15,000-a-month consultant in late 2007 and then as a board member in 2008. He stayed on until September 2010, when he resigned after another board member expressed suspicion that its chief executive, Claudio Osorio, was mismanaging its funds.

Osorio was later indicted by federal prosecutors on nearly two dozen fraud and money laundering counts. He accepted a plea deal in 2013 and was sentenced to 12 1/2 years in federal prison. InnoVida’s chief financial officer, Craig Toll, was convicted at trial and sentenced to four years.

There is no evidence that Bush had any knowledge of the fraud. Spokeswoman Kristy Campbell said that “as soon as concerns regarding the company were brought to Governor Bush’s attention, he took action to address them immediately.”

It could well be that Jeb truly didn’t know anything about the fraud. However, the man was a member of the company’s board for two whole years and yet never once took a serious look at the company’s operations?

I’m not impressed.

 

by @ 9:49 am. Filed under Jeb Bush

Jeb to Meet Mitt in Utah

The New York Times reports:

Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney are scheduled to meet privately this week in Utah, raising the possibility that the two former governors will find a way to avoid competing presidential campaigns that would split the Republican establishment next year, two prominent party members said Wednesday night.

The meeting was planned before Mr. Romney’s surprise announcement two weeks ago to donors in New York that he was considering a third run for the White House.

Mr. Bush proposed the meeting, according to one of the party members familiar with the planning, who did not want to be quoted by name in discussing a secret meeting.

The original idea was for Mr. Bush, who announced his presidential ambitions in December, to show his respect for Mr. Romney, the Republican Party’s 2012 nominee. The meeting stayed on both men’s calendars even as Mr. Romney took steps to test the presidential waters, moves that could make the meeting awkward.

Aides to Mr. Romney and Mr. Bush did not reply to requests for comment.

Oh to be a fly on the wall in that meeting!

by @ 8:49 am. Filed under Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney

POWER RANKINGS: January *UPDATED*

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

Bush Reaches Out To Iowa’s GOP Chairman

The Des Moines Register reports:

Jeb Bush buoyed Iowa Republican leaders hopes today that he won’t spurn Iowa if he runs for president in 2016.

During a telephone call with Iowa’s Republican party chairman, Bush repeatedly said he’s not a candidate, he’s just exploring a bid for the presidency.

“But there was a resolve in his voice,” Chairman Jeff Kaufmann told The Des Moines Register this afternoon. “What I heard is a man that’s ready to come out and tackle the Hawkeye state.”

Kaufmann said he thinks Bush lined up the telephone conversation because he’d commented recently in the media that only two major candidates from the GOP potential 2016 lineup had yet to contact him: Bush, a former governor of Florida, and Mitt Romney, the party’s 2012 nominee.

 

by @ 5:35 pm. Filed under Iowa Watch, Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney

Bush Uses Facebook To Critique SOTU

NBCNews reports:

Likely presidential contender Jeb Bush used Facebook Tuesday night to register his critique of President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address. On Wednesday morning, his medium of choice was an Instagram video.

Repeating much of his Tuesday night message, Bush appeared in the brief video to blast Obama’s tax proposals “really sad” and divisive.

“This nation needs to create economic opportunity for all Americans,” he said in the video shot near the Capitol in Washington D.C. “It’s really sad that President Obama wants to use the tax code once again to divide us. What we need is broad based reforms so that all people can rise up.”

by @ 5:30 pm. Filed under Jeb Bush

January 20, 2015

Free To Run

This is the time of presidential trial balloons. With a new president certain to be elected in 2016, hopefuls and aspirants in both major parties are testing the waters, rounding up staff members, and appealing to major donors. It is an old ritual with contemporary procedures and techniques. It is big-time American politics on a grand scale.

The establishments of both parties have a tendency to try to control this process. In the case of the Democrats, they have a frontrunner, Hillary Clinton, who is way out in front, with no one yet in sight who can wrest the nomination from her. She leads in all polls, not only against potential Democratic rivals, but also against every Republican opponent. The Democratic establishment therefore would like to end this contest early, and prepare for the general election. When Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren began making competitive waves from Mrs. Clinton’s left, the liberal establishment got nervous, and started trying to warn Mrs. Warren off the contest. Their nervousness was increased by the fact that Mrs. Clinton’s initial campaign roll-out has been notably less than successful. There are several other Democratic wannabes, including Vice President Joe Biden, former Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer, former Virginia Senator James Webb and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. Should Mrs. Clinton falter or pull out, other big names in the party could enter, including notably New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

On the Republican side, there is no true frontrunner, but there is an establishment favorite, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. Another major candidate would be New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Also potentially serious candidates include Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, Ohio Governor John Kasich, Indiana Governor Mike Pence, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, former Texas Governor Rick Perry and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum. Less serious, there are a number of hopefuls who might take a crack at the nomination. (Abraham Lincoln was at the bottom of the list of nine GOP candidates as late as February, 1860, and look what happened only six months later when he won his nomination.)

Then there is Mitt Romney. In 2008, he was runner-up to John McCain in the GOP nominating contest, and in 2012, he was the Republican presidential nominee. He lost to Barack Obama that year by a relatively small margin, but as it turns out, most of what he said on the campaign turned out be right, or rather more right, than what Mr. Obama said. Nevertheless, the GOP establishment does not want Mitt Romney to run in 2016, and are saying so out loud.

It so happens I agree with those who say Mitt Romney is not likely to be the best Republican nominee in 2016, but I do disagree that he should be told not to run. I don’t agree with much that Elizabeth Warren has been saying, but I also don’t think she should be told not to run.

After all, it’s a free country, isn’t it?

Some folks in both parties fear open contests with many candidates. Republicans particularly point to the large field and numerous debates in 2012 as having hurt their ticket in November. I disagree with that strongly. There were perhaps too many debates (27), but the process, in my opinion, made Mr. Romney a better and stronger candidate. Newt Gingrich, for example, was by far the best debater in 2012; Mr. Romney held his own in the debates, but he had to face someone who was formidable early in the process. Romney did not lose because of the number of GOP rivals he had or the debates. He lost because of the successful (and unanswered) personal attacks on him made by the Democrats early and often, and because the Democrats had a much superior get-out-the-vote effort. (That the GOP did not have a better one, truth be told, was Mr. Romney’s responsibility.)

The nation and its political process is best served, as I see it, by open and competitive nomination contests. The number of candidates does not really matter because the process is designed to weed out those who cannot win very early.

So I say to Elizabeth Warren, Mitt Romney, and anyone else who thinks they should and can be president: Be free to run!

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

Poll Watch: NBC/WSJ 2016 Presidential Poll — *Updated

NBC News and the Wall Street Journal recently released a poll on the 2016 Presidential Race. The full poll has not be released yet, but here are the numbers that we know so far:

Romney Bush Clinton
Fav Unf Fav Unf Fav Unf
Americans 27 40 19 32 45 37
Republicans 52 15 37 12
Conservatives 45 30
Tea Party 52 29
Democrats 75 7

Americans as a whole do not like either Mitt Romney or Jeb Bush, but they don’t seem to mind Hillary Clinton.

A majority of Republicans and Tea Party members approve of Mitt, but they don’t seem to be all that keen about Jeb.

Hillary is running away with the Democrat vote.

*Updated:

CraigS pointed out in the comments that 40% of Americans viewed Romney unfavorably. I originally had 49% disapproving of him. I regret the error, and thank CraigS for catching it.

 

by @ 11:43 am. Filed under Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney, Poll Watch

January 19, 2015

Poll Watch: Democracy Corps (D) 2016 National Presidential Survey

Democracy Corps (D) 2016 National Presidential Poll

  • Hillary Clinton (D) 49%
  • Mitt Romney (R) 43%
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 52%
  • Jeb Bush (R) 40%

National survey of 950 likely voters was conducted January 7-11, 2015. The margin of error is +/- 3.2 percentage points.

-Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

by @ 8:00 am. Filed under 2016, Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney, Poll Watch

January 17, 2015

Jeb-Pac: The Right to Rise

Say what you will about Jeb Bush, but the tone and messaging being utilized by his PAC seem to adequately capture the zeitgeist of our times. The fear of middle class stagnation and pessimism in perpetuity seem to be the backdrop against which the next election will be fought, and Mr. Bush seems to “get” this, making the right of all Americans to rise the theme of this precursor to his presidential campaign.

On the Left, Hillary Clinton, while still the likely Democratic nominee, will probably be wounded during the primaries by populist candidates Elizabeth Warren and Jim Webb, both of whom will address the lack of a middle class rise, just in different ways, with Warren focusing on young people and minorities and Webb touting the struggles of working class whites. Each of these candidates will seem far more in touch with the concerns of the middle class than Hillary, who is the embodiment of the well-connected and the establishment. As such, it may benefit Republicans to field a nominee who seems more in touch with middle class concerns than Hillary, especially if she is savaged for being out of touch during the primaries. It’s hard to imagine someone named Bush running as a middle class hero, but half the battle in politics is knowing where the battle lines are actually drawn, and Jeb is at least giving off the impression that he understands that the country hungers for optimism and opportunity.

by @ 12:00 am. Filed under Jeb Bush

January 16, 2015

Poll Watch: The Economist/YouGov 2016 Presidential

Here’s an interesting poll. It is one of those polls where people volunteer to be polled. Zogby became infamous for them. So take the results with a grain of salt.

The numbers below are for registered Republican voters.

If you had to choose one, which of these individuals would you want to be the Republican nominee for president in 2016?

Mitt Romney 28
Jeb Bush 12
Ben Carson 10
Ted Cruz 9
Rand Paul 8
Mike Huckabee 8
Scott Walker 6
Chris Christie 3
Paul Ryan 3
Marco Rubio 2
Rick Perry 2
Lindsey Graham 0
Other 3
None 6

If the choice was between Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush, which one would you want to be the Republican nominee for president in 2016?

Mitt Romney 60
Jeb Bush 29
No Preference 11

Do you have a favorable or an unfavorable opinion of the following people?

Fav Unf D/K
Mitt Romney 82 12 6
Paul Ryan 75 14 11
Mike Huckabee 72 15 14
Rand Paul 70 15 15
Rick Perry 65 13 21
Marco Rubio 62 15 23
Jeb Bush 61 24 15
Ted Cruz 56 26 18
Ben Carson 54 10 36
Chris Christie 54 32 15
Scott Walker 49 16 34
Lindsey Graham 44 18 38

The full poll is found here.

January 15, 2015

Is There Enough Oxygen Left For Christie?

With both Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney stating they are seriously looking into running for President, the path ahead for Chris Christie is getting a lot tougher. Politico reports:

As Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush engage in an increasingly bitter fight over big donors and fundraisers, another Republican eyeing the presidency could get squeezed out: Christopher James Christie.

A quick editorial aside: “Bitter”? I haven’t noticed the current Bush/Romney maneuvering being all that bitter — not yet, at any rate. It’s heating up to be sure, but if the polite scrimmaging that is going on right now is what they call “bitter”, what word do they use to describe knock-down, drag-out, eye-gouging fights? Anyway, back to the article.

Many … on Wall Street … may like and admire Christie, and might even support him in a scenario without Romney and Bush, but they now don’t see a path for the New Jersey governor.

“I think Christie is the odd man out right now. He’s in serious trouble,” said one senior Wall Street executive. … Another executive said of Christie: “I like him, and under other circumstances, I could support him. But not with Mitt and Jeb in the race. And Christie has so many other issues.”

So, what do you guys think? With both Bush and Romney in the race, is there a reasonably viable path to the nomination for Christie?

by @ 12:49 pm. Filed under Chris Christie, Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney

January 13, 2015

An Interesting Take on Romney’s Latest Moves

Jamelle Bouie over at Slate sees Romney’s latest maneuverings in an interesting light. First, he says that Romney would make a very strong candidate in 2016, then he ends with this:

I’m not sure if Romney is actually running for president, or if he’s playing a different game. In a story for BuzzFeed, McKay Coppins talks to Romney advisers who give this take on the former nominee’s thinking:

“Look, Jeb’s a good guy. I think the governor likes Jeb,” the adviser said. “But Jeb is Common Core, Jeb is immigration, Jeb has been talking about raising taxes recently. Can you imagine Jeb trying to get through a Republican primary? Can you imagine what Ted Cruz is going to do to Jeb Bush? I mean, that’s going to be ugly.”

Romney thinks Bush can win a general election, but he’s much more skeptical about the primary and worries that Bush could lose, elevating a candidate who might fail in a fight against Hillary Clinton or Sen. Elizabeth Warren. But instead of criticizing Bush and bringing these questions into the open, he is making a more subtle move. By announcing interest in the Republican nomination, Romney is freezing his donors in place and blocking a rush to the Bush camp. In essence, he’s asking the moneymen of the GOP to wait and see before they join the Bush bandwagon.

And if Team Bush isn’t as strong as it looks? Then, maybe, Romney will give the game one more try.

Chris Cillizza over at the Washington Post made a similar observation:

By making very clear that he’s on the fence about another race, Romney freezes some not-insignificant portion of the Republican major donor base — especially in New York and New Jersey. Rather than signing on with Jeb in the next weeks or months, many of those money men and women will wait to see what Romney does before doing anything.

So, Romney is really buying himself — and, whether intentionally or not, the rest of the potential field — some time. He’s taking the Bush pot off of boil and turning it down to simmer.

Cilizza goes on to say that apart from personal ambition, Mitt isn’t sure that Jeb Bush is up to becoming the nominee and then going on to win the election — a scenario that Romney is all to familiar with, I might add. So a little breathing time is in order.

It’s an interesting idea. I do like the idea that Mitt might be slowing Bush’s train down without coming out and publicly criticizing him as Santorum has been doing recently to his fellow Republicans. What do you guys think?

by @ 8:27 pm. Filed under Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney

Thomas Fitzgerald’s Analysis of Rick Santorum

From the Philadelphia Inquirer:

Rick Santorum won the Iowa Republican caucuses in 2012 with a sweater vest, a gray Dodge Ram 1500 pickup, and a prayer. … Now, poised to run again, Santorum finds himself facing a crowd of competitors for the loyalties of social conservatives — former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a Baptist preacher who won Iowa in 2008, and others.

Santorum has been focusing on economic issues, saying that Republicans need to address income stagnation and inequality and the economic anxieties of the middle class.

He probably won’t have the working-class message to himself, as several elements in the GOP are pushing the party in a more populist direction. The Heritage Foundation think tank, for instance, is hosting a conference next week on conservative policy ideas that would address the concerns of middle-class and working-class Americans rather than corporations.

Even Bush, the son and brother of presidents, has gestured in this direction.

The clash of the social conservative candidates will be a primary within the primary, and some analysts believe that the Iowa caucuses, the first nominating contest next January, will be crucial. Social conservatives have outsize influence in Iowa because caucuses attract fewer participants than primaries.

“There’s room for a social conservative, but not three or four of these guys,” said Craig Robinson, former political director of the Iowa GOP and founder of a conservative news website.

For Santorum and Huckabee, the state will be especially tricky.

“Even if one of them wins in Iowa, it will be discounted a bit, because they won it before,” Robinson said. “And if they don’t win in Iowa, it’s game over.”

by @ 10:42 am. Filed under Jeb Bush, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum

January 12, 2015

Thoughts on Mitt Running

I have made no secret of the fact that I think Mitt should not run. As I said five weeks ago:

Mitt, as a former card-carrying Romney supporter, I’ve got to say this, “Please don’t run!” You had your shot. You muffed it. You went up against a very beatable opponent and lost by more than just a few percentage points. You had him against the ropes after the first debate, but you let him slip through your fingers in the second. Yes, the moderator put her thumb on the scale, but that was only one answer to one question. One shot and you folded like a cheap tent. Your campaign went downhill from there.

You never gave us a reason for America to vote for you except you weren’t Obama. If your opponent is Mrs Clinton, are you only going to run on, “Vote for me, I’m not Hillary”? Sorry, Mitt, we need somebody who isn’t afraid to push their opponent to the ropes, and keep him there, if not finish him. Sadly you do not appear to be it.

I still feel that way. I would love to see him in the White House, but unless he really shows some fire in the General Election, he might as well stay home because 2016 would only be a repeat of 2012. He has to give us a reason to vote FOR him, not AGAINST his opponent. He did that just fine in the primaries going up against fellow Republicans, but for some unknown reason he just collapsed like a deflated balloon after the first debate with Obama. The country simply cannot afford a repeat of that in 2016. So, Mitt, either go for it, or stay home. Fish or cut bait. One or the other.

With that out of the way, I have to say that I am looking forward to the primary contest between Jeb and Mitt — the two so-called “Establishment” guys. What is going to happen when there is no one clear “Establishment” candidate. Who will come out on top, I wonder. Old, established dynasty resting on their laurels versus up-and-coming earned-his-own-money nouveau riche. It should be quite the show. Bring popcorn. :)

Oh, and allow me a bit of a “I told you so” gloat. Exactly one month ago I said the following:

That is why I am saying that the window of opportunity for Mitt is essentially the end of the year. After that, the movers, shakers, and big money people will have started inexorably to coalesce behind Jeb Bush.

I missed the “end of the year” prediction by less than two weeks. It was, however, right around the first of the year that Mitt began going out of his way to let potential backers know to keep their powder dry, that he was earnestly examining the possibility of running again.

On that note, Let the games begin!  :)

by @ 5:32 pm. Filed under Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney

January 7, 2015

Opinion: The Plank in the GOP’s Eye

I happen to be a follower of Jesus. Have been since my junior year of high school more than 15 years ago. I’ve served two different churches as a pastor and been on the leadership team and worship team in a couple of other churches and parachurch ministries. I believe humanity is in need of a savior and Jesus offered himself as a sinless sacrifice to be that savior for us and for all of creation.

I also happen to believe that gay marriage should be legal.

According to recent polls, a majority of Americans share that belief as well. CBS says 56% of Americans support legalizing gay marriage and only 37% oppose it. ABC pegs the split at 56/38. Marist has it at 54/38. Gallup and Bloomberg show 55% support and just 36% opposed. All the polls are remarkably similar in reporting the massive shift in favor of legalizing gay marriage in America. (Only 10 years ago those numbers were almost exactly reversed).

This morning, Florida became the 36th state to legalize gay marriage. Recent court decisions in Michigan and Ohio have all but guaranteed that SCOTUS will legalize gay marriage on a federal level later this year.

The tide has turned. The culture wars are over.

But there will be a small and continually diminishing number of Americans who will refuse to accept that reality and will continue fighting with increasing levels of fear and anger. Amidst that backdrop, the Republican Party faces the most difficult question for its future in many election cycles: what will they do with the plank in the GOP platform opposed to gay marriage?

The most recent national Republican Party platform, written in 2012, stands vehemently opposed to gay marriage — in other words, firmly in line with just one third of America. By keeping the gay marriage plank in 2016, the GOP would, in one fell swoop, alienate two-thirds of the folks who hold the power to elect them.

Electorally speaking, that’s a problem. The arguments for keeping an anti-gay marriage plank in the party platform, though, are twofold: one, values and morals are not things that can be derived from poll results. They necessarily exist regardless of popular opinion. And two, for many of that new ? majority who are accepting of gay marriage, it’s not a make-or-break electoral issue for them.

In this analyst’s opinion, both arguments are incredibly short-sighted.

First, let’s be honest: gay marriage is not about values or morals; it’s about civil rights. Before anybody goes screaming from the room with their head exploding, consider with me: the main (only?) opposition to gay marriage comes from a small handful of sentences in the Bible. Based on one interpretation of those sentences, Christians hold to the idea that acting on homosexual urges is sinful. In that, I am (reluctantly) in agreement. I do not see anywhere in the Book, however, where we are called to impose our belief system on non-believers via a political process. And I certainly don’t see how denying people benefits, visitation rights, and other civil rights in any way advances the Kingdom of God in their lives or in society as a whole. Thus, the conclusion that a growing number of Christians (including myself) are coming to: we can, in good conscience, support gay marriage as a civil issue and still hold to our personal morals at the same time.

Secondly, it is true the issue of gay marriage does not drive many single-issue voters. However, what it does is lend more fuel to the negative stereotype of Republicans being out-of-touch bigots living in the 1950s. In 2004, George W Bush and Karl Rove famously and successfully used gay marriage as a wedge issue. They promised a federal marriage amendment, which brought anti-gay marriage Christians to the voting booths in record numbers. Of course, everybody except those diehard social conservatives knew that it was an empty promise that would never come to fruition. Bush and Co. used socially conservative Christians to get re-elected. That was ten years ago. Today, the wedge issue will work much the same, only in reverse.

The problem is more than that, however. The Supreme Court will likely offer its decision legalizing gay marriage right in the thick of the 2016 primary season. It will dominate the news for several cycles, and every candidate will be asked about it. Those answers will either resonate with two-thirds of Americans (and growing) or with one-third of Americans (and shrinking).

Many of the Republicans candidates will likely answer with some boilerplate about “traditional families” and “thousands of years of history.” Those answers are woefully inadequate for where we’ve come as a society and have already been picked apart by all but the staunchest anti-gay marriage crusaders. Traditional families dating back through thousands of years of history have included men owning women, men owning as many women as they wanted (including all the best biblical heroes like David, Gideon, Jacob, and dozens of others), and women being second-class citizens both in the marriage relationship and the culture at large. We’ve moved past all of that. It’s time as a society to move past anti-gay marriage sentiments in the same way.

Compounding the problems for the Republicans is the risk of losing what little ground they have left with the youth vote. Recent surveys peg the youth (18-29) support for gay marriage upwards of 80% or higher. Elderly voters are, generally and statistically speaking, some of the only people still opposed to gay marriage. In other words, opposition to gay marriage is literally dying out in America. Even among seniors, though, support for gay marriage has risen from around 10% ten years ago to 40% today. If the Republican Party wants to be a viable national party in the future, something’s got to give.

And so this is my (entirely unsolicited) recommendation to the Republican Party: remove the anti-gay marriage plank from the party platform. It doesn’t necessarily need to be replaced with a pro-gay marriage plank (yet), although that would be a step in the right direction (both because of pragmatics and because it would be the right thing to do). You don’t have to replace it, just remove it — because doing so would send a message to the rest of the country that you’re softening your stance.

To do that, to change a party platform on a major issue like that, will require a candidate who can champion the cause. The party nominee has major influence on what the party platform will look like, and the GOP needs a candidate who can stomach a fight. That is one reason why, for instance, even though this author voted for Mitt Romney twice in the past (in 2012 on the ballot and in 2008 as a write-in) I do not believe he would be the right candidate this time around. Romney has led the charge against gay marriage with one of the more well-thought-out and well-spoken arguments in modern times; he cannot now lead the charge for the removal of the plank. Neither, then could a Santorum, Cruz, Huckabee, or Perry type figure.

Interestingly then, Jeb Bush has already begun moderating his stance on gay marriage. This morning, Bush responded to Florida’s legalization with a statement urging everyone to “show respect for the good people on all sides of the gay and lesbian marriage issue — including couples making lifetime commitments to each other who are seeking greater legal protections and those of us who believe marriage is a sacrament and want to safeguard religious liberty.”

Jeb’s non-answer hedged all the bets he could, and it’s managed to upset Democrats and Republicans alike. It is illustrative of the dangerous tightrope GOP candidates are going to have to walk in 2016. Given that the Republican nominee is going to get blasted with a full assault from one side or the other on this issue, in order to set themselves up for the future, Republicans ought to nominate a candidate who supports gay marriage and can take the intense firebombs from their hardcore base. It’s too bad that Rob Portman, who was on my radar early as a potential candidate, has decided not to run. Whoever leads this charge in the GOP now will have to change their public position on the issue. Even then, it shouldn’t be a tough sell since so many Americans have changed their opinions in the past few years as well.

by @ 12:00 am. Filed under 2016, Jeb Bush, Opinion, Republican Party

January 2, 2015

POWER RANKINGS: January 2015

1. 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 rival, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, to get in sooner than he may have wanted. With Christie still on the sidelines and former nominee Mitt Romney likely only to enter the race if the establishment candidates falter, Bush has become the frontrunner, which is now reflected in the early polling.

2. 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 some party elites are shifting their support to the more familiar and less unpredictable former Florida governor. However, the tough-talking, battle-hardened New Jersey governor has the talent and the resources to regain his frontrunner status.

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 like Bush and Christie 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. 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 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.

6. 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.

7. 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 have to do so again if he is to return to the top tier in 2016.

8. 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.

9. John Kasich  Governor of Ohio
Any politician who wins a swing state by 31% deserves some serious consideration for president. Kasich’s economic success in Ohio, his memorable career as a budget-balancing congressman, his private sector business experience, his communication skills and media savvy, and a tragic and moving personal story make the governor an interesting dark horse candidate with potential to move up.

10. Ben Carson  retired neurosurgeon from Maryland
Dr. Carson, the former director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital, burst onto the national political scene with his now famous prayer breakfast rebuke of President Barack Obama. Since then he has become a conservative media darling and is an interesting wild card candidate in the early stages of the 2016 race. Still, a brilliant career in medicine doesn’t preclude the mistakes suffered by many novice politicians, and he will have to learn quickly to make up for his lack of experience.

Honorable Mention:  Paul Ryan, Mike Pence, Rick Santorum, Rick Perry, Carly Fiorina

January 1, 2015

We really don’t need this.

The Daily Mail lists some of the skeletons that are in Jeb Bush’s closet:

  • His Mexican-American wife, Columba, was detained at U.S. Customs in 1999, at the Atlanta airport, for under-reporting $19,000 worth of clothing and jewelry she bought in Paris – signing a declaration for just $500.
  • His daughter, Noella, has a serious history of drug-abuse. While she is clean now, in 2002 she:
    • was arrested for attempting to buy Xanax using someone else’s prescription.
    • was sentenced to a drug treatment center.
    • was caught with pills stolen from a cabinet while there
    • was later found with cocaine hidden in her shoe at the same center

The media went apoplectic about Romney strapping his dog’s kennel to the roof of his car — something that most dogs love. They love putting their heads into a vehicle’s slipstream. Can you image what the media will do with this?

 

by @ 11:10 am. Filed under Jeb Bush

December 29, 2014

Poll Watch: CNN/ORC 2016 Republican Nomination Survey

CNN/ORC 2016 GOP Nomination Poll

  • Jeb Bush 23% [14%] (8%) {12%} [13%] (9%) {10%} [6%] (10%)
  • Chris Christie 13% [9%] (13%) {8%} [9%] (8%) {10%} [24%] (17%)
  • Ben Carson 7% [11%]
  • Mike Huckabee 6% [10%] (12%) {11%} [10%] (10%) {14%}
  • Rand Paul 6% [8%] (12%) {14%} [13%] (16%) {13%} [13%] (13%)
  • Marco Rubio 5% [3%] (6%) {8%} [6%] (5%) {9%} [9%] (9%)
  • Paul Ryan 5% [9%] (11%) {10%} [12%] (15%) {9%} [11%] (16%)
  • Ted Cruz 4% [7%] (8%) {9%} [7%] (8%) {8%} [10%] (7%)
  • Bobby Jindal 4% [1%]
  • Rick Perry 4% [5%] (11%) {6%} [8%] (11%) {8%} [7%] (6%)
  • Scott Walker 4% [5%] (5%) {5%} [7%]
  • John Kasich 3% [3%]
  • Rick Santorum 2% [2%] (3%) {4%} [2%] (3%) {4%} [6%] (5%)
  • Mike Pence 0% [1%]
  • Rob Portman 0% [0%]
  • Someone else (vol.) 5% [6%] (6%) {6%} [4%] (6%) {8%} [6%] (6%)
  • None/No one (vol.) 5% [2%] (2%) {2%] [4%] (4%) {3%} [2%] (4%)
  • No opinion 3% [4%] (3%) {5%} [7%] (5%) {4%} [6%] (6%)

Among Republicans

  • Jeb Bush 28% [20%] (10%) {10%} [15%] (11%) {10%} [6%] (13%)
  • Chris Christie 14% [11%] (13%) {8%} [8%] (6%) {8%} [28%] (17%)
  • Mike Huckabee 9% [11%] (12%) {14%} [12%] (9%) {17%}
  • Bobby Jindal 6% [2%]
  • Paul Ryan 5% [7%] (14%) {15%} [14%] (19%) {9%} [11%] (17%)
  • Marco Rubio 5% [2%] (6%) {9%} [6%] (5%) {12%} [10%] (10%)
  • Ted Cruz 5% [7%] (6%) {9%} [6%] (11%) {5%} [9%] (7%)
  • Ben Carson 5% [6%]
  • Rand Paul 5% [6%] (12%) {8%} [12%] (10%) {13%} [12%] (9%)
  • Scott Walker 4% [5%] (4%) {4%} [7%]
  • Rick Perry 3% [4%] (10%) {7%} [7%] (11%) {8%} [8%] (7%)
  • Rick Santorum 1% [2%] (4%) {3%} [2%] (4%) {5%} [7%] (3%)
  • John Kasich 1% [1%]
  • Mike Pence 0% [0%]
  • Rob Portman 0% [0%]
  • Someone else (vol.) 2% [7%] (5%) {7%} [3%] (8%) {5%} [6%] (7%)
  • None/No one (vol.) 5% [2%] (1%) {2%} [2%] (3%) {4%} [1%] (4%)
  • No opinion 3% [4%] (3%) {4%} [8%] (5%) {3%} [3%] (5%)

Among GOP-Leaning Independents

  • Jeb Bush 18% [7%] (5%) {14%} [10%] (7%) {10%} [6%] (6%)
  • Chris Christie 13% [6%] (12%) {7%} [10%] (11%) {13%} [20%] (18%)
  • Ben Carson 9% [15%]
  • Rand Paul 7% [10%] (13%) {21%} [15%] (22%) {13%} [15%] (17%)
  • Marco Rubio 6% [4%] (6%) {7%} [6%] (5%) {5%} [7%] (9%)
  • Rick Perry 6% [6%] (12%) {5%} [8%] (12%) {7%} [7%] (6%)
  • Paul Ryan 5% [11%] (7%) {5%} [8%] (11%) {10%} [12%]  (15%)
  • John Kasich 5% [4%]
  • Scott Walker 4% [6%] (5%) {6%} [6%]
  • Rick Santorum 4% [2%] (3%) {4%} [2%] (2%) {3%} [5%] (7%)
  • Bobby Jindal 3% [1%]
  • Mike Huckabee 2% [10%] (13%) {8%} [7%] (11%) {10%}
  • Ted Cruz 2% [7%] (10%) {9%} [9%] (6%) {13%} [12%] (7%)
  • Mike Pence 1% [2%]
  • Rob Portman 0% [0%]
  • Someone else (vol.) 7% [6%] (7%) {5%} [5%] (3%) {12%} [6%] (4%)
  • None/No one (vol.) 5% [1%] (3%) {3%} [6%] (6%) {2%} [3%] (4%)
  • No opinion 2% [3%] (4%) {7%} [7%] (5%) {4%} [8%] (7%)

Among Men

  • Jeb Bush 23% [11%] (7%) {12%} [14%] (7%) {9%} [2%] (9%)
  • Chris Christie 14% [9%] (12%) {7%} [8%] (9%) {6%} [23%] (16%)
  • Rand Paul 8% [10%] (14%) {17%} [17%] (17%) {17%} [15%] (13%)
  • Ben Carson 6% [12%]
  • Scott Walker 6% [9%] (6%) {7%} [8%]
  • Ted Cruz 6% [8%] (10%) {10%} [9%] (10%) {10%} [12%] (12%)
  • Paul Ryan 5% [8%] (12%) {9%} [7%] (15%) {12%} [10%] (14%)
  • Mike Huckabee 5% [8%] (11%) {11%} [8%] (11%) {14%}
  • Rick Perry 4% [5%] (9%) {8%} [11%] (10%) {7%} [8%] (7%)
  • Bobby Jindal 4% [2%]
  • John Kasich 4% [1%]
  • Marco Rubio 3% [3%] (5%) {6%} [4%] (6%) {7%} [11%] (11%)
  • Rick Santorum 3% [1%] (3%) {4%} [1%] (2%) {2%} [6%] (6%)
  • Mike Pence 1% [0%]
  • Rob Portman 0% [0%]
  • Someone else (vol.) 4% [7%] (7%) {5%} [3%] (7%) {8%} [6%] (5%)
  • None/No one (vol.) 3% [2%] (2%) {1%} [4%] (2%) {4%} [2%] (3%)
  • No opinion 3% [5%] (1%) {3%} [6%] (3%) {4%} [4%] (5%)

Among Women

  • Jeb Bush 24% [16%] (9%) {10%} [12%] (11%) {10%} [10%] (11%)
  • Chris Christie 12% [9%] (13%) {8%} [9%] (7%) {15%} [24%] (19%)
  • Mike Huckabee 8% [13%] (15%) {12%} [12%] (9%) {14%}
  • Ben Carson 7% [9%]
  • Marco Rubio 7% [4%] (7%) {11%} [8%] (5%) {11%} [7%] (7%)
  • Paul Ryan 6% [10%] (9%) {12%} [17%] (13%) {6%} [13%] (19%)
  • Bobby Jindal 5% [1%]
  • Rick Perry 5% [5%] (13%) {3%} [4%] (13%) {9%} [6%] (6%)
  • Rand Paul 5% [6%] (10%) {10%} [10%] (14%) {9%} [11%] (12%)
  • Scott Walker 3% [2%] (3%) {3%} [6%]
  • Ted Cruz 2% [6%] (6%) {8%} [5%] (6%) {7%} [8%] (3%)
  • John Kasich 2% [4%]
  • Rick Santorum 2% [2%] (3%) {3%} [2%] (4%) {7%} [6%] (4%)
  • Mike Pence 0% [2%]
  • Rob Portman 0% [0%]
  • Someone else (vol.) 6% [6%] (5%) {7%} [4%] (4%) {8%} [6%] (6%)
  • None/No one (vol.) 6% [2%] (1%) {4%} [3%] (7%) {3%} [2%] (6%)
  • No opinion 1% [3%] (5%) {8%} [9%] (6%) {3%} [7%] (7%)

Survey of 453 Republicans and GOP-leaning Independents was conducted December 18-21, 2014.  The margin of error is +/- 4.5 percentage points. Party ID: 54% [62%] (59%) {55%} [61%] (50%) {52%} Republican; 46% [38%] (41%) {45%} [39%] (50%) {48%} Independent. 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

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