February 25, 2015

Poll Watch: Quinnipiac Iowa 2016 Republican Caucus Survey

Quinnipiac Iowa 2016 GOP Caucus Poll

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

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

Thoughts:

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

-Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

February 24, 2015

Poll Watch: PPP (D) 2016 Republican Nomination Survey

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

PPP (D) 2016 GOP Nomination Poll

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

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

Trend lines:

PPP 2016 GOP Presidential Race

Some thoughts:

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

-Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

February 23, 2015

Poll Watch: YeeHaw! Cruz and Walker Lead in Texas

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

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

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

The Tribune is calling it a tie.

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

-Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

February 20, 2015

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

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

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

-Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

February 16, 2015

Rick Perry Visits New Hampshire

If there was any doubt Rick Perry was serious about running 2016, his new video from Rick PAC showing his visit to New Hampshire should remove some of those doubts.

Will he be able to get over his 2012 campaign? Time will tell, but this is a well done, polished video.

by @ 8:59 am. Filed under 2016, New Hampshire Primary, Rick Perry

February 5, 2015

News Cycle Flavors Just Beginning

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

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

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

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

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

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

Remember Herman Cain?

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

February 3, 2015

Cruz and Bush Admit To Smoking Pot

The Daily Mail reports:

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

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

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

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

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

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

January 29, 2015

Poll Watch: Fox Has Mitt On Top

Fox News released their latest poll.

The horse race (394 Republicans):

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

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

Head to head versus (Hillary)

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

 

January 27, 2015

Charlie Cook’s Brackets

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

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

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

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.

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.

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.

 

January 22, 2015

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 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!

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

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 12, 2015

That Didn’t Take Long

Several supposed hopefuls for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination have weighed in on Obama skipping the huge pro-free-speech rally in Paris.

Rick Perry in the Washington Post:

In an appalling display of the criminal justice mindset that still dominates President Obama’s worldview, he sent already-resigned but not-yet-replaced Attorney General Eric Holder to France (who didn’t even bother to attend the public gathering). Upward of a million turned out in Paris and demonstrations sprang up around the country in displays of national solidarity. England sent Prime Minister David Cameron and Germany sent Chancellor Angela Merkel. Israel sent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Even the Palestinian Authority (disingenuously, perhaps, but then hypocrisy is the tribute vice pays to virtue, right?) sent its president, Mahmoud Abbas. The U.S. sent Holder. Like Inspector Clouseau, he was on the case (!) — as if there is a discrete homicide at issue here — but couldn’t find his way to the mass demonstration. (Our ambassador to France attended, it is reported.)

Ted Cruz in Time:

On Sunday, leaders representing Europe, Israel, Africa, Russia, and the Middle East linked arms and marched together down Place de la Concorde in Paris. But, sadly, no one from the White House was found among the more than 40 Presidents and Prime Ministers who walked the streets with hundreds of thousands of French citizens demonstrating their solidarity against radical Islamic terrorists.

The absence is symbolic of the lack of American leadership on the world stage, and it is dangerous. The attack on Paris, just like previous assaults on Israel and other allies, is an attack on our shared values. And, we are stronger when we stand together, as French President François Hollande said, for “liberty, equality, and fraternity.”

Marco Rubio stated on “CBS This Morning” as reported in the Washington Post:

[I]t was a “mistake” not to send a higher-ranking U.S. official to the event.

“I understand that when the president travels, he brings with him a security and communications package which is intense. And I understand you drop that into the middle of something like this, it could be disruptive,” Rubio said. “There’s a plethora of people they could have sent. I think in hindsight I hope that they would have done it differently.”

by @ 1:26 pm. Filed under Marco Rubio, Rick Perry, Ted Cruz

December 23, 2014

What’s More Important, Character or Ideology?

Jennifer Rubin makes the point that ultimately it is character that determines who gets nominated and who does not:

Too often political insiders, in evaluating presidential prospects, get hung up on ideology or even specific positions. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), they said, couldn’t get the GOP nomination in 2008 because he championed immigration reform, or Mitt Romney was ineligible for the nomination in 2012 because of Romneycare. Whether they should have gotten the nomination in the eyes of hard-line conservatives can be debated, but in fact, they and the mainstream media (which often incorrectly adopt the right-wing assessment of the GOP) made a cardinal error: mistaking individual positions with viability and ignoring the role of character.

In 2012, Texas Gov. Rick Perry did not lose the nomination because of in-state tuition for illegal immigrants; he lost because he did not project seriousness and readiness to govern. (He’s working mightily to correct that impression.) In 2012, Newt Gingrich did not lose because he once supported a form of the individual mandate; he lost because voters remembered his erratic personality, penchant for self-destruction and utter lack of discipline. And Herman Cain sure didn’t bomb out because of his 9-9-9 plan, as silly and unworkable as it may have been. He turned out to be a unprepared dilettante with too many personal scandals swirling about him.

She has a point. Presidential campaigns are long, grueling affairs that really try the character of those who would occupy the Oval Office. Those candidates who are found wanting in character seldom make it to the end. It’s not a fool-proof system, but it generally works.

She then goes on to evaluate the presidential character of four possible GOP candidates, Marco Rubio, Chris Christie, Rand Paul, and Ted Cruz. You will note that she had nothing to say about Jeb Bush, arguably the current GOP frontrunner.

by @ 10:04 am. Filed under Chris Christie, Marco Rubio, Mitt Romney, Rand Paul, Rick Perry, Ted Cruz

December 17, 2014

Bush is “Instant Frontrunner”, says Krauthammer

Conservative commentator Charles Krauthammer claims that Jeb Bush is an “Instant Frontrunner”.

I think it is a big deal because those who would be on his wing of the spectrum are going to have to rethink whether they are going to go up against Jeb Bush and how good of a chance they’re going to have. I think it will clear out some of his wing. As for the others, there are a lot of people who would otherwise be on the fringe. It would look like a free for all. It would look like the most open seat in the history of the presidency, so why not throw in your hat. And I think it will, because it creates an instant frontrunner, for good or for ill, it will discourage some of the fringe candidates

Well, maybe. Take a look at these two recent polls, one from the Washington Post, the other from Fox.

Washington Post Fox Poll
w/ Romney w/o Romney
Romney 20 Romney 19
Bush 10 Bush 13 Bush 10
Paul 9 Paul 11 Christie 8
Ryan 8 Ryan 10 Paul 8
Cruz 7 Cruz 9 Huckabee 8
Carson 6 Christie 8 Don’t Know 8
Christie 6 Carson 7 Walker 7
Huckabee 6 Huckabee 7 Carson 6
No Opinion 6 No Opinion 7 Ryan 6
Walker 5 Walker 6 Cruz 5
Perry 4 Perry 5 Rubio 4
Rubio 4 Rubio 5 Kasich 2
Jindal 3 Jindal 4 Perry 2
Kasich 2 Santorum 3 Jindal 1
Santorum 2 Kasich 2 Santorum 1
Other 0 None 0 Other 0
None 2 Other 2 None 2

Bush leads nobody by more than two ppts in either poll — with or without Romney. I don’t know about you, but I have difficulty thinking of someone as a “frontrunner” whose lead is less than the Margin of Error of the poll.

One thing that jumps out at me from either of these polls is the really poor showing of Rick Santorum. These early polls tend to be mainly about name recognition; we all know that. Now remember that Santorum finished the last race solidly in second place. Name recognition should not be a problem for him. So people should know him, and yet his position still sucks.

He has been making noises about running again. Maybe he should save himself some aggravation and a whole lot of money and not bother.

December 16, 2014

More On The Latest McClatchy – Marist Poll

The lastest McClatchy-Marist Poll has been posted already, yet there is still some information to be gleaned from it. For example, on the question to Republicans as to which possible 2016 GOP candidate they would favor:

w/ Romney   w/o Romney
Romney 19 Undecided 18
Bush 14 Bush 16
Undecided 13 Huckabee 12
Christie 9 Christie 10
Huckabee 9 Carson 8
Carson 8 Ryan 7
Paul 5 Paul 6
Cruz 4 Cruz 5
Perry 4 Perry 5
Ryan 3 Rubio 3
Santorum 3 Walker 3
Rubio 3 Kasich 3
Walker 3 Santorum 3
Kasich 2 Jindal 1
Jindal 1 Fiorina 1
Fiorina 1

Note that Bush comes in second whether Romney is included or not. With Romney, Romney is in first place. Without Romney, Undecided leads the pack.

Also notice that Christie is always fourth behind Undecided, Bush, and either Romney or Huckabee. I’m not seeing a real big mandate for Christie here. That’s really not much of a vote of confidence in Christie trying to run as the “Establishment” choice.

With Bush essentially throwing his hat into the ring, that pretty much slams the door on Christie, Rubio, and any other candidate wishing for the backing of the “Establishment”. Perry comes to mind. The only other candidate who would stand a chance is Romney, but Bush’s announcement pretty much closes the door on any Romney 2016 run. Why?

  • One, the “Establishment” likes to consolidate behind their candidate as quickly as possible. If Romney were to run, he’d have to announce before the year is out. He’d then appear as the spoiler, and the “Establishment” doesn’t like spoilers. He’d have to provide very good reasons why they shouldn’t back Bush, and I don’t think Mitt could do that.
  • Two, Bush could crash and burn, and the establishment would go looking for a white knight. This highly unlikely scenario only happens in the movies. Bush would really, REALLY have to screw up before that happened.

So Romney is about 99.9% likely NOT to run.

December 14, 2014

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

PPP (D) North Carolina 2016 GOP Primary Poll

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

Among Men

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

Among Women

  • Jeb Bush 18% {23%} [15%] (21%) {11%} [13%] (13%) {16%} [18%] (8%)
  • Ben Carson 17%
  • Mike Huckabee 16% {16%} [26%] (24%) {24%} [25%] (16%)
  • Paul Ryan 11% {9%} [4%] (9%) {5%} [12%] (11%) {8%} [9%] (12%)
  • Chris Christie 9% {10%} [9%] (12%) {13%} [7%] (17%) {19%}[20%] (10%)
  • Rick Perry 8%
  • Marco Rubio 6% {5%} [4%] (5%) {7%} [7%] (11%) {10%} [10%] (19%)
  • Ted Cruz 4% {11%} [13%] (7%) {11%} [9%] (9%) {10%} [9%]
  • Rand Paul 3% {9%} [11%] (11%) {10%} [9%] (14%) {11%} [8%] (4%)
  • Someone else/Not sure 8% {10%} [10%] (7%) {14%} [13%] (17%) {15%} [17%] (10%)

Survey of 390 Republican primary voters was conducted December 4-7, 2014. The margin of error is +/- 5.0 percentage points. Political ideology: 39% {40%} [45%] (39%) {37%} [35%] (38%) {37%} [36%] (44%) Very conservative; 38% {37%} [35%] (32%) {35%} [33%] (40%) {39%} [36%] (35%) Somewhat conservative; 18% {20%} [13%] (21%) {20%} [22%] (16%) {16%} [21%] (13%) Moderate; 5% {2%} [4%] (6%) {4%} [7%] (4%) {7%} [4%] (6%) Somewhat liberal; 1% {1%} [4%] (3%) {3%} [3%] (2%) {1%} [3%] (1%) Very liberal. 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, 2012 are in parentheses.

-Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

December 10, 2014

Perry Is Looking for Redemption

The Washington Post reports:

Rick Perry is trying to show that he is not the Rick Perry you remember. Gone, it seems, is the blustery bravado, the empty rhetoric, the cowboy boots — and, yes, the “oops” moments. This Perry comes across as studious, contemplative and humble. He said he is at peace with his 2012 presidential campaign, in which his shoot-first-aim-later approach proved catastrophic, but is hungry to redeem himself.

As Perry packs his belongings at the governor’s mansion after 14 years in office, he is undergoing exhaustive preparations to run again for president in 2016. He is striving to make a better second impression than his first one.

“We are a substantially different, versed candidate,” he said. He noted that other politicians who endure such humiliation might “scurry off to the quietness and the comfort of some obscure place, and I wasn’t interested in doing that. I think that this country is begging for leadership.”

I have repeatedly stated on these pages that running for President requires a great deal of exhaustive hard work just to prepare for it. Serious candidates, those that have any chance at all of making it to the end to claim the prize, simply cannot just show up and expect to win as Perry tried to do in 2012. They have to start early preparing for the run.

It ain’t easy, folks. Voters who maintain romantic notions of their favorite candidate swooping in and carrying off the nomination by virtue of their smarts, charisma, and/or virtue simply are not living in reality. The article describes some of the intense preparations a person (in this case Perry) must undertake just to be ready to run for President. I highly recommend reading it.

Perry is for real this time. He will be a force to be reckoned with.

by @ 7:46 am. Filed under Rick Perry

December 7, 2014

What’s Been Happening in Iowa?

Iowa is home to the Iowa Caucuses, the first real contest on the road to becoming the next President. The Des Moines Register recently published a tally of what possible future Presidential primary candidates have been up to in their state:

Fifteen Republican potential presidential candidates are on Iowans’ radar, ranked here by their events in Iowa since the 2012 elections. Also presented: their support in an Oct. 1-7 Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics Iowa Poll.

Candidate Trips Events Days Caucus Support % First Choice % Second Choice %
Rick Perry 8 *33* *15* 13 7 6
Rand Paul 6 24 10 18 10 8
Rick Santorum *9* 19 12 8 3 5
Ted Cruz 6 12 8 13 7 6
Bobby Jindal 4 10 7 5 1 4
Chris Christie 4 8 4 11 6 5
Marco Rubio 4 8 5 5 2 3
Mike Huckabee 5 7 6 17 9 8
Rob Portman 1 7 2 0 0 0
Ben Carson 2 6 3 18 11 7
Paul Ryan 3 4 3 18 8 *10*
Mitt Romney 2 4 3 *25* *17* 8
Scott Walker 2 3 2 9 4 5
Mike Pence 1 1 1 1 0 1
Jeb Bush 0 0 0 12 4 8

Thoughts on the above:

  1. Rick Perry appears to be serious about running. He’s been to more Iowan events in the past two years than anybody else — eleven more than his closest rival, Rand Paul.
  2. Rand Paul has as much support as either Ben Carson and Paul Ryan, yet he has made more trips and has more than doubled the events that they have done put together.
  3. Rick Santorum was the last ABR (Anybody But Romney) standing in 2012. He’s made more trips to Iowa than anybody else. He even won the caucuses last time, yet he registers only single digits in support.
  4. Mike Huckabee has only made a handful of trips to the state yet pulls in a respectful 17% support. He’s a man to watch.
  5. Rob Portman has been to seven events in Iowa during a two day marathon, yet he is the only person with 0% support.
  6. Ben Carson and Paul Ryan only have a small number of visits and events yet each pulls a respectful 18% support. They are definitely men to watch.
  7. Mitt Romney has only made a couple of trips to Iowa. He continues to say he’s not planning on running, yet he has considerable more support in Iowa than anybody else. If you recall in 2012, he didn’t even campaign in Iowa except in the last week or two before the caucuses were held, yet he finished second by less than 25 votes.
  8. Scott Walker doesn’t seem to be doing that well in spite of being a fellow Midwesterner. (Shades of Pawlenty and Bachmann perhaps?)
  9. Jeb Bush has not visited Iowa at all in the past two years yet pulls down double digit support.


Edited to add Jeb Bush line to chart and the comment about his level of support in my thoughts.
MBL

December 3, 2014

Rick Perry Has Been Busy

Politico reports:

Texas Gov. Rick Perry is inviting hundreds of prominent Republican donors and policy experts to a series of gatherings next month that are intended to rebuild his damaged national brand and lay the foundation for a potential 2016 presidential campaign, fundraisers and organizers confirmed to POLITICO.

The small-group sessions kick off Tuesday and Wednesday in Austin with a pair of lunches and dinners held in the governor’s mansion wedged between policy briefings at the nearby office of Perry senior adviser Jeff Miller. In all, Perry’s team expects he will meet in person with more than 500 major donors and bundlers from around the country in December as well as a slew of operatives, Republican National Committee members and policy experts.

Things would be different if he ran again, say sources who have interacted with the three-term governor. …

“If Gov. Perry is going to run, he’s going to be better prepared, and he’s going to have the resources necessary to compete,” said Henry Barbour, a Republican national committeeman who is helping plan for a Perry 2016 campaign and organizing next week’s donor sessions.

It’s obvious that Perry is very serious about running in 2016. He’s not going to pop in late this time without any preparation like he did last time. That was a total disaster. He left the race looking stupid and incompetent. That’s a mistake he is not going to let happen again.

 

by @ 3:18 pm. Filed under Rick Perry

We Have A Front Runner. Wait, Romney’s Not Running. Never Mind.

Two surveys came out last week polling Republicans as to the 2016 presidential choice. The results are as follows:

Quinnipiac 11/26 CNN 11/24
Romney: 19 Romney: 20
Bush: 11 Carson: 10
Christie: 8 Bush: 9
Carson: 8 Christie:8
Paul: 6 Huckabee: 7
Ryan: 5 Paul: 6
Walker: 5 Ryan: 6
Huckabee: 5 Cruz: 5
Cruz: 5 Walker: 5
Rubio: 2 Perry: 4
Jindal: 2 Rubio: 3
Kasich: 2 Kasich: 2
Perry: 2 Santorum: 2
Santorum: 1 Jindal: 1
Portman: 0 Pence: 1
Portman: 0
Other: 1
Won’t Vote: 1 Other: 6
Undecided: 16 None: 2
No Opinion: 3

• Quinnipac polled 707 Republicans with a MOE of +/- 3.7%
• CNN polled 510 Republicans with a MOE of +/- 4.7%

Both show pretty convincingly that Mitt Romney is currently the undisputed front runner for the 2016 GOP nomination. One problem though, Romney has repeatedly stated that he has no intention of running. So when the polls recalibrate for that and exclude Mitt, the results were anything but clear cut:

Quinnipiac 11/26 CNN 11/24
Bush: 14 Bush: 14
Christie: 11 Carson: 11
Carson: 9 Huckabee: 10
Paul: 8 Christie: 9
Ryan: 7 Ryan: 9
Huckabee: 7 Paul: 8
Walker: 6 Cruz: 7
Cruz: 5 Perry: 5
Rubio: 3 Walker: 5
Jindal: 3 Kasich: 3
Perry:3 Rubio: 3
Kasich: 2 Santorum: 2
Santorum: 2 Jindal: 1
Portman: 1 Pence: 1
Portman: 0
Other:1
Won’t Vote: 1 Other: 6
Undecided: 19 None: 2
No Opinion: 4

Yes, without Romney Jeb Bush leads in both polls, but only by 3 ppts. That’s well within the margin of error of both polls. And if you look even closer, the race is even tighter. The Quinnipiac Poll shows three candidates within five ppts of each other, CNN shows five within five.

The conclusion is inescapable. Jeb Bush might be the current titular leader in the race, but the race is wide open. (And him making comments about not needing conservatives to win won’t help him to pull away from the pack.)

December 1, 2014

The Granite State Still Loves Mitt

A rather surprising poll was released last Monday. It shows Mitt Romney is the overwhelming favorite to win the New Hampshire 2016 primary:

If the 2016 New Hampshire Republican presidential primary were held today and the candidates were:  Mitt Romney, Chris Christie, Rand Paul, Bobby Jindal, Jeb Bush, Rick Perry, Ted Cruz, Paul Ryan, Mike Huckabee, and Ben Carson for whom would you vote?

  • Mitt Romney: 30
  • Rand Paul: 11
  • Chris Christie: 9
  • Jeb Bush: 8
  • Ben Carson: 6
  • Mike Huckabee: 5
  • Paul Ryan: 5
  • Ted Cruz: 5
  • Bobby Jindal: 3
  • Rick Perry: 2
  • None of the above: 3
  • Someone Else: 1
  • Not sure: 11

Mitt Romney has repeatedly stated he isn’t interested in running, especially if Jeb Bush runs, and all indications point to Jeb throwing his hat into the ring. Yet Romney continues to show surprising strength whenever his name is included in polling. He leads his nearest competitor by nearly 20 ppts.

This is extraordinary. McCain didn’t have nearly this level of support four years ago in 2010. Everyone was more than glad to let the good Senator from Arizona disappear off the national screen after losing to Obama in 2008. Yet four years later, his successor continues to enjoy fairly wide support among GOP voters. He isn’t too popular with the conservative activists who have never much cared for the man, but the rank-and-file voters still seem to like him.

(more…)

November 21, 2014

OPINION: Help Us, Chris Christie, You’re Our Only Hope

The 2014 midterm elections were long expected to go well for Republicans. What was surprising was just how good a night the GOP wound up having, and that is in large part due to the extraordinary success of Chris Christie and the RGA.  Long thought to be the Democrats’ silver lining in 2014, the governors races ended up delivering a succession of crippling blows to the President’s party. Holding key states like Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Florida, while adding blue states like Massachusetts, Maryland, and Illinois, was the unexpected highlight of the election and the crowning achievement of Christie’s record-breaking tenure as RGA chairman. This accomplishment has rightly put Christie back in the frontrunner’s position for 2016.

Naturally, his return to the top has angered some on the far right, as well as some Bush loyalists in the establishment. But despite the naysayers, Christie is still better positioned and better suited to be the party’s standard bearer in 2016 than anyone else. This is due not only to Christie’s strengths, but also the profound weakness of his competition. Here are a few reasons why the 2016 field doesn’t stand much of a chance against the New Jersey governor:

1. Bush Baggage – The notion of Jeb Bush as a frontrunner has been a perplexing one for me. True, his family connections and donor base will give him a early jump on some of the new faces looking at the race, but other than that what does a third Bush run offer? The former Florida governor has been out of office for over a decade, a lifetime in politics. He champions a number of policies despised by the conservative base and attempts to sell these positions with a stage presence and style that would make Al Gore seem exciting. Worst of all, after painstakingly moving the party out of the shadow of George W. Bush, brother Jeb would pull us right back in. In a field of candidates unburdened by votes for the Iraq War or a bailout for the financial industry, Jeb Bush will be made to defend both. He is uniquely positioned to be the only Republican still carrying those albatrosses around his neck.  Add that to the fact that the Democrats are relying on a dynastic relic of their own for 2016, and it all seems incredibly stupid for the GOP to do the same. Why would we want to create a contrast between the Clinton economy of the 1990’s and the Bush economic collapse of 2008? Why hinder ourselves with the burden of the Bush family when we can finally run a new generation candidate in a change election? Without question, Jeb Bush is the worst possible option for 2016.

2. Empty Resumes – After two terms of Barack Obama and years of complaining from the GOP faithful about how unqualified and unprepared this half-term senator was for the job, the conservative base seems eager to offer up even less qualified candidates of their own. Senators Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Marco Rubio all have resumes even weaker and devoid of accomplishments than Sen. Obama offered in 2008. While some would argue that Rubio doesn’t belong in this group due to his short time in the Florida legislature, I would argue his flip-flop on immigration reform (a bill he helped write) has damaged his credibility even more so than his unqualified fellow senators. If these three were not unfit enough, conservatives are also pushing Dr. Ben Carson, a man with no political or governing experience whatsoever. None. Zip. Zilch. The shocking lack of qualifications among this group would be funny if it wasn’t so pathetic.

3. Untested Governors – The common refrain among Republicans is that the 2016 field is so deep and talented. This notion seems to stem from the accomplished crop of governors that the party has cultivated. At first glance this seems to be the case, but upon further review, this group of big talents appears to be a collection of paper tigers. Take Rick Perry, the outgoing governor of Texas, who humiliated himself in the last presidential race despite his state’s good economic record. There is Bobby Jindal, often cited as a big thinker, who has also made himself a punch-line on the national stage when he wasn’t busy being the South’s most unpopular Republican. Even Mary Landrieu, the about-to-be-ousted senior senator from Louisiana boasts a high approval rating. Gov. Mike Pence checks a lot of boxes for the GOP, but he has a stunning lack of accomplishment for someone who has been in office as long as he has. Compare his record as governor to his predecessor and you will quickly see that Pence is as big a do-nothing governor as he was a do-nothing congressman. He also has no real experience dealing with the opposition, a gaping hole in the resume shared by Perry and Jindal.

4. Retreads – The rest of the field of pretenders is full of candidates who have run and lost before, and in some cases multiple times. Rick Santorum is planning to run again, despite having spent the last 15 years losing elections and saying embarrassing, bigoted nonsense every time he’s on television. Mike Huckabee, a moderately successful television and radio entertainer, is pondering another run to be President of Iowa, but like his previous campaign proved, he has little appeal outside the tiny, caucus electorate.  Mitt Romney has seen a bit of a comeback in the media, almost entirely due to the failures of the man who soundly defeated him. While he would have a few “I told you so” points to make in another race with Obama, he has no real appeal in a race against anyone else. Paul Ryan could be considered the “next-in-line” candidate due to his role as Romney’s defeated running mate, but he faces the same daunting realities that plagued other defeated VP nominees. Add in the fact that no member of the House has won the presidency in over a century and his path becomes even more unrealistic.

5. Real competitors – For all the problems the field has, there are a few bright spots who could lead to real challenges for Christie. Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin and Gov. John Kasich of Ohio can claim to be just as tested and even more accomplished than the New Jersey governor. True, only Christie has a powerful Democratic legislature to deal with, but Kasich and Walker faced fierce opposition from labor unions, and came out winners. While neither can command a stage or a late night show with Christie’s charisma, their mid-western charms may be compelling to voters in search of candidates to relate to. Most importantly, both men have shown they can win in purple states, which is one of Christie’s biggest assets. Both men have a long way to go to be able to stand toe-to-toe with the New Jersey governor, but they have a better shot than anyone else considering a run.

When you really examine this “deep bench” you begin to see that it doesn’t live up to the hype. Gov. Christie became a national star for a reason; he possesses the intangibles and talent that often accompany successful politicians. He can masterfully play both wrecking ball and common man, someone who can both feel your anger and your pain. He has accomplished a lot in a state long bereft of leadership, and with a mountain of problems thirty years in the making. He showed real leadership during a natural disaster that tore through his state. He demonstrated a level of accountability unseen on the presidential level in years during his marathon Bridgegate press conference. He has withstood a full-court assault from the media in an attempt to destroy his 2016 prospects. Through it all he has shown a remarkable resiliency, even more amazing considering just how blue his home state is. Some will nitpick about New Jersey’s economic numbers, or they’ll attempt to hype non-scandals, but these efforts will likely fail, just as they did when they were used to attack Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton.

Gov. Chris Christie is the best chance the GOP has at defeating Hillary Clinton and taking back the White House, and it will take an extraordinary effort by someone far less talented to change that reality.

November 20, 2014

Rick Perry: Texas May Sue Obama

From Politico:

Texas Gov. Rick Perry said the Lone Star State might sue Barack Obama’s administration over the president’s planned executive order to grant relief to as many as 5 million undocumented immigrants.

“I think that’s probably a very real possibility,” Perry said during a panel here at the Republican Governors Association’s annual meeting.

Perry, who is considering another presidential bid in 2016, said the cost of illegal immigration is “extraordinary.” He said his state spends $12 million a month on securing the border.

by @ 1:01 pm. Filed under 2016, Rick Perry

Kasich Draws First Blood

It looks like John Kasich and Scott Walker had a bit of a set-to at the RGA, with Kasich coming out on top (if this article can be relied upon).

Kasich drew upon his deeper experience in Washington, which will be an asset if he decides to run.

The occasion was a panel discussion at the RGA meeting in Florida featuring five possible presidential contenders – Kasich, Walker, Bobby Jindal, Rick Perry, and Mike Pence.

Read the article, it’s not that long, but it will provide plenty of fodder for everyone’s viewpoints in the comments.

by @ 12:52 pm. Filed under Bobby Jindal, John Kasich, Mike Pence, Rick Perry, Scott Walker

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