November 24, 2015

Poll Watch: Trump Leads Rubio in Massachusetts by 14

  3:19 pm

Suffolk University Massachusetts Republican Primary

  • Trump – 32%
  • Rubio – 18%
  • Cruz – 10%
  • Bush – 7%
  • Carson – 5%
  • Christie – 4%
  • Fiorina – 4%
  • Kasich – 2%
  • Paul – 1%
  • Graham – 0%
  • Huckabee – 0%
  • Pataki – 0%
  • Santorum – 0%
  • Undecided – 14%

134 Republican voters / Nov 19-22 / MoE ±8.4%

This is the first Suffolk poll we’ve gotten out of Massachusetts, but by way of reference, an Emerson College poll one month ago showed Trump leading by 34 points over Ben Carson, 48-14, with Rubio at 11 percent.


Republicans: For The Win!

  12:05 pm

Josh Kraushaar in The National Journal:

“Nearly every fun­da­ment­al meas­ure—with the not­able ex­cep­tion of the coun­try’s demo­graph­ic shifts—fa­vors the Re­pub­lic­ans in 2016. The pub­lic over­whelm­ingly be­lieves the coun­try is headed in the wrong dir­ec­tion (23/69, a his­tor­ic low in Bloomberg’s na­tion­al poll). Pres­id­ent Obama’s job-ap­prov­al rat­ing has been con­sist­ently un­der­wa­ter, with the op­pos­i­tion in­tensely re­ject­ing his policies. Any eco­nom­ic growth has been un­even, with more Amer­ic­ans pess­im­ist­ic than op­tim­ist­ic about the fu­ture. The pub­lic’s nat­ur­al de­sire for change after eight years of Demo­crats in the White House be­ne­fits the op­pos­i­tion. Mean­while, the party’s likely stand­ard-bear­er has been saddled with weak fa­vor­ab­il­ity rat­ings of her own, with her email scan­dal drag­ging down her trust­wor­thi­ness in the minds of voters. This is not the en­vir­on­ment in which the party in power typ­ic­ally pre­vails.”

This would all seem so obvious as to not bear repeating, except that the media consensus is that Dems will win in 2016. Nate Silver’s 538, the betting markets, the remains of the MSM, and, of course, the Left-wing journals are unanimous in thinking that Republicans are self-destructing and generally falling apart at the seams. How many mentions of “the Republican clown car” have there been? To exacerbate the situation, these outlets have trumpeted Trump at every opportunity, and have monotonously made  fun of Ben Carson, while ignoring the candidates with rock-solid chief executive experience and very real foreign policy chops.

The fact is that according to a rich electoral history in democracies throughout the world, any time a multi-term incumbent steps down, his party’s would-be successor has a less than 20% chance of winning.  It seems that the need for a change is built into human psychology, something that Obama was actually right about in 2008.  Conflate that need with further evidence that this is especially true if the incumbent stepping down has an approval rating of less than 50%, as Obama’s has been consistently since 2013.

Then along comes ISIS, who has actually caught the attention of the slumbering American electorate.  Kraushaar points to a poll that shows that 60% of American voters want The United States to send in ground troops to defeat ISIS in Syria and Iraq.  That is shocking since Obama was elected not that many years ago to get us out of the Middle East and never risk American lives again.

The public seems to have picked up on the absurdity of sending in 50 members of the Special Forces, and in spending more than $50 Million finding, equipping, and training four Syrian soldiers willing to fight.  Add them together and the U.S. effort to bring down ISIS in Syria consists of 54 men on the ground.  This, when a solid majority of Americans thinks we are at war with ISIS.  While there is much evidence that Islamic terrorists are at war with US, there is very little that we are at war with THEM.   The polling evidence is that Democrats are not part of the majority on the issue, but that evidence also shows that they are relatively unenthusiastic about voting, period.  With their top two candidates being Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, of course, how could they be?

Kraushaar again:

“The Demo­crats’ hopes of hold­ing the White House rest on: a) re­mo­bil­iz­ing the Obama co­ali­tion of mil­len­ni­als, single wo­men, and non­white voters; and b) hop­ing that Re­pub­lic­ans nom­in­ate someone out­side the main­stream, like Don­ald Trump. In short: If the Re­pub­lic­an Party doesn’t split in two—which is a dis­tinct pos­sib­il­ity if Trump is either nom­in­ated or runs as a third-party can­did­ate—Re­pub­lic­ans have a clear ad­vant­age.”

That’s a very big “if.”  Had Trump not shown up, the upcoming election would be all but in the bag, but with him it’s not.  When plans were made not many days ago to raise funds on a significant scale to bring The Donald down, he lapsed into the time-honored tradition of whining:  “That wasn’t in the deal!”  In other words, he thinks that the Republican Party as a whole has to play nice with him or he will run on a third party ticket.  He might.  It was always clear that he probably wouldn’t keep his word when he signed a pledge saying he wouldn’t run if he lost the nomination.

The problem is that polls show that Hillary has at least 40% against any Republican in a general election contest, so Trump running 3rd Party would only need something like 15% to ensure a Hillary victory.  One poll showed that him leading a 3rd Party effort would only take two percent from Hillary’s total, with the rest coming from Republicans.

But, barring that, we should win.


Rubio Ad: “Bartender”

  11:57 am

Marco Rubio released his second campaign ad this morning, and it’s the traditional sixty-second biographical spot that’s become a staple in American politics — only infused with the power of Senator Rubio’s story:

This ad is being aired on broadcast television in the early states, to go with the national cable ad that began yesterday.


Poll Watch: Trump Back in the Lead in Iowa, Cruz Rockets to a Close Second

  10:21 am

Quinnipiac Iowa Republican Caucus

  • Donald Trump 25% [20%]
  • Ted Cruz 23% [10%]
  • Ben Carson 18% [28%]
  • Marco Rubio 13% [13%]
  • Rand Paul 5% [6%]
  • Jeb Bush 4% [5%]
  • Carly Fiorina 3% [5%]
  • Chris Christie 2% [1%]
  • Mike Huckabee 2% [2%]
  • Rick Santorum 2% [1%]
  • John Kasich 1% [3%]
  • Jim Gilmore 0% [0%]
  • Lindsey Graham 0% [0%]
  • George Pataki 0% [0%]
  • Undecided – 2% [3%]

Survey of 600 likely Iowa Republican caucus participants was conducted November 16-22, 2015. The margin of error is +/- 4 percentage points. Results from the poll conducted October 14-20, 2015 are in square brackets.

Data courtesy of the Argo Journal.


Open Thread: Tuesday, Nov 24

  5:00 am

This is the Open Thread for Tuesday.

At this moment, the laurel bush, which had hitherto not spoken, said “Psst!”

This is a good place for new polls or articles you think might be of interest.


November 23, 2015

Iowa and New Hampshire Strategies Come Into Focus

  5:41 pm

We are now, today, exactly ten weeks away from the Iowa caucuses on February 1. As the date of the first actual votes draws closer, the strategies in the early states are slowly coming into focus. Today, two articles show how the races in Iowa and New Hampshire are shaping up behind the scenes.

First, the Hawkeye State, where Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz are setting up for a Battle Royale. As Politico notes with their lede, “Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz weren’t the only candidates in Iowa this weekend, but they might as well have been.” But what about Trump and Carson? Let’s let an Iowa resident explain it:

“Trump’s out there in the front, but he’s not presidential. He’s not going to make it. So it’s shifting. Ted Cruz has been more available and he has quite a following, especially the younger generation. And he comes here regularly,” said Greg Crawford of Des Moines, who along with his wife Julie listened to seven GOP presidential hopefuls for three hours Friday. “But there is a lot of interest in seeing more of Rubio, because we’ve all seen in the debates how smart he is and how he can be inspiring. Everyone is starting to sense it coming down to those two.

Politico notes that Iowans’ “expectations” are “that Trump and Carson are near the apex of their support – or will soon be in eclipse” and that they have started moving on to real candidates now. That means Rubio and Cruz. So how do these two plan to win the caucuses?

For Cruz, it’s simple: rebuild the same coalitions that gave Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum their caucus victories in ’08 and ’12. So far, it appears to be working: Cruz is solidifying his hold on the evangelical community and the conservative grassroots activists. As one Iowan pastor noted, “If you go to my church on Saturday, every car will have a Cruz sticker on it.” Cruz is also seen as having an inside track to Bob Vander Plaats’ endorsement, which, coupled with Steve King, could be more than enough to put him over the top on caucus day.

So what is Rubio’s strategy? He entered this race as the compromise candidate – everyone’s second choice – and that’s how he’s planning to win Iowa as well. He’s meeting with pastors and doing some Christian conservative events, such as the Family Leader Forum last Friday, but he knows he won’t win that demographic and he’s hoping to peel off just enough support from that group to keep Cruz from winning. Meanwhile, he is also racking up support from “governance-minded establishment conservatives [and] Tea Party-oriented fiscal conservatives.” In other words, Rubio is attempting to build a wide coalition of support while Cruz focuses on a narrow but deep well of support.

So far, it’s anybody’s ball game. You can hear how close of a call it is in the way voters describe their choice:

“[Rubio]’s my number one choice right now; Cruz is number two,” said Melissa Hines, who attended Rubio’s first town hall Saturday morning in Oskaloosa. “Marco’s a little more electable in the general, and that’s why we lean a little more to him.”


“I’m more impressed than ever,” said Robert Auld, after hearing Rubio in Oskaloosa. “I’ve been impressed with what I’ve seen in the media, but I’m especially impressed with what I heard today.” Auld names Rubio and Cruz as his two favorites – for now, Rubio has the edge. “I like his youth and his vigor and his ideas. I think he’s right that we need a new generation to make things happen,” Auld said.

At this point, I’d put Cruz as a favorite to win Iowa, but it could go either way depending on how the next 10 weeks shape up. Which then brings us to New Hampshire, where the battle isn’t Cruz and Rubio, but rather Bush and Rubio.

National Review has a glimpse into how Jeb and Marco are strategizing in the Granite State, and it comes down to one thing: age.

Jeb Bush is doing more than 20 points better in favorability ratings (!) among senior citizens than he is among the general electorate. This fact is driving his last-ditch desperation effort in New Hampshire: focus on getting out the senior vote while Rubio is focusing on younger generations. Bush has several factors working in his favor with regards to this improbable gamble: first, New Hampshire’s population is older than the national average; second, Republican primaries tend to draw disproportionate numbers of older voters; and third, older voters have historically been much more likely to go out and actually vote than younger voters.

This confluence of realities — New Hampshire’s aging population, the disproportionate tendency of older voters to vote, and Bush’s popularity among that demographic — explains why half of the “Jeb Can Fix It” bus tour was spent in far-flung Carroll County, 90 minutes north of the Manchester media market. A quarter of all Carroll County residents are 65 or older, according to the Census Bureau, nearly twice the national average.


The median age [at Bush’s event] was Medicare-eligible; nearly every attendee had white hair, though some covered it with caps commemorating service in the conflicts of epochs past.

“These,” Hunt says, looking out over Bush’s audience inside the Wright Museum, “are the reliable voters.”

Meanwhile, Rubio is doing the same thing in New Hampshire that he’s doing in Iowa: attempting to build a broad coalition of voters. Of course, naturally, his events are drawing more millennials:

The event couldn’t have looked or sounded more different from Rubio’s appearance earlier that day at St. Anselm’s in Manchester. There, addressing an overwhelmingly youthful audience that had been warmed up with an unedited version of Tupac’s “Changes,” Rubio related to Millennials with talk of Candy Crush, student-loan reform, NFL football, Uber, and, of course, the forthcoming Star Wars film. It wasn’t without substance; Rubio made his case that the old guard of politicians is peddling “20th-century solutions to 21st-century problems.” America, he told them, “is in desperate need of leaders that understand life in the new economy.”


Rubio explained that his host, the company Granite State Manufacturing, was producing this kind of innovative combat equipment to win the wars America has yet to fight. “We cannot survive the global perils of the 21st century with a military built for the 20th,” he declared. As a political motif, it was consistent with what Rubio had preached the previous afternoon while addressing a roomful of Millennials at St. Anselm’s College in Manchester — right around the time Bush’s campaign bus was touring retirement communities up north.

This contrast, NR notes, is “jarring and highly instructive.” But they also note one glaring flaw in Jeb’s plan: Rubio’s attempt to build a broad coalition in New Hampshire is working so far; in fact, in the crosstabs of the latest polls Rubio is beating Bush among all age demographics – including senior citizens.

In Iowa, Rubio hopes to peel off enough conservative evangelicals to launch him ahead of Ted Cruz, who is focusing on that group. In New Hampshire, Rubio is hoping to peel off enough senior citizens to launch him ahead of Jeb Bush, who is focusing on that group. And in both states, the voters are expecting Donald Trump and Ben Carson (along with Kasich, Christie, and others) to be non-factors by the time February rolls around.

It’s an interesting look into the strategy of these three candidates, but there is another danger inherent in Rubio’s plan that has yet to be illuminated: Rubio will be fighting a two-front war in February. He’ll be battling with Cruz, who has the luxury of focusing on Iowa, at the same time he’ll be battling with Bush, who has the luxury of focusing on New Hampshire. Rubio’s time and resources will be divided, and whatever the results in Iowa, he’ll have to pivot immediately to New Hampshire while Cruz would assumedly head straight to South Carolina.

This could end one of two ways for Rubio: like Romney 2008, or like Romney 2012. In both cases, Romney decided to contest both states against opponents who focused only on one. In one case, Romney was soundly defeated; in the other, he ended up as the Republican nominee. In about ten weeks, we’ll find out which path Marco Rubio will be taking.


Rep Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA) Endorses Marco Rubio

  3:32 pm

The endorsement train keeps rolling as momentum builds for Marco Rubio: today is Jaime Herrera Beutler’s turn to announce her support:

“I am proud to endorse Marco Rubio as he will focus on strengthening our economy and creating jobs” Herrera Beutler said in a statement. “Marco understands that preparing the workforce for the changing economy continues to be a primary focus in the Pacific Northwest and across our country.”

This marks the 17th congressional endorsement for Rubio, compared to 28 for Jeb Bush and 11 for Ted Cruz (who are in first and third place, respectively). Unless Bush gets some fresh endorsements (he’s had one in the last month compared to nine for Rubio), the Florida Senator is positioned to pass the former Governor in the endorsement race with all the support he has yet to reveal.


John Kasich Taking One for the Team, Taking Down Donald Trump

  3:19 pm

John Kasich has come to the (easy) conclusion that he will never be president of the United States.

This campaign is not going his way, and he is an intelligent man. He sees it and understands it. The natural thing to do after coming to that realization is to drop out of the race — and eventually, he will. But first, he’s unloading his warchest on one of his opponents.

Kasich is taking one for the team and launching a blitz to take down Donald Trump.

We’ve talked before about how Mitt Romney has assembled an alliance of center-right candidates in this race, and Governor Kasich is one of those on the team. In order to clear a path for the eventual winner from that team (most likely Marco Rubio), Kasich has agreed to do the dirty work on his way out of the race. Coming into this quarter, Kasich had a few million dollars cash on hand and his Super PAC had over $11 million. That ~$14 million warchest will now be unloaded with the purpose of removing the cancer of Donald Trump from the GOP race.

It began with an ad from Kasich’s campaign entitled “Freedom Matters,” hammering Trump for his stance on Russia and friendliness with Vladimir Putin:

Then it continued with an ad from Kasich’s Super PAC today entitled “Trump’s Greatest Hits – Part I”:

To be continued, indeed. Millions in the bank, all aimed at exposing Donald Trump – expect more ads in the days and weeks to come that put Trump’s insanity front and center before the voters. And before you say the ads will have no effect because the voters already know about all these ludicrous moments, remember: a very small percentage of voters are actually paying attention at this point in the race (Nate Silver over at FiveThirtyEight pegs it at around 20%) and only a small minority of voters actually know all of the crazy things Trump has said and done. Just as the Club for Growth ads made a dent in Trump’s Iowa numbers, these ads have the potential to do the same if Kasich and his Super PAC play it properly.

Trump says publicly he’s not afraid of Kasich, of course, but upon learning that Kasich was planning to take him down Trump launched a bizarre Twitter tirade against Kasich that might indicate otherwise. Now, Kasich might prove to be more valuable to the GOP as he exits the race than he ever was while he was still in it.


PredictWise Monday Market Update: The Final Four

  10:57 am

After rising for ten straight weeks on the futures markets, Marco Rubio’s ascent has finally leveled off this week. Meanwhile, Ted Cruz is quietly rising – his value has gone up for six weeks in a row now, jumping 11 points during that time frame. Donald Trump has reached his highest point in PredictWise history this week as well, jumping to 22 points and remaining in second place. Trump remains a mystery to the investors – at Betfair and Bookie, Trump is well ahead of Ted Cruz for second; however, at PredictIt the bettors have pushed Cruz ahead of Trump and knocked Donald down to 15.9.

On the other end of the spectrum, both John Kasich and Carly Fiorina joined the zero percent club, and Ben Carson, who is still in the top two or three in all the polls but sliding downward now, is in danger of the same. In the past three weeks, Carson has collapsed from 9% to 2 percent.

Despite the fact that there are 14 candidates still in the GOP race, the polls are all showing the same thing right now: a four-person race between Rubio, Cruz, Trump, and Carson. Interestingly, the investors also see a four-person race, but replace Ben Carson with Jeb Bush. The top four candidates on the PredictWise amalgamation equal a 94% chance of winning the nomination.




pw 11-23-15


Rubio’s First TV Ad of the Primary: A Civilizational Struggle

  10:22 am

The spot is airing nationwide on cable networks, and debuted yesterday during Fox News Sunday.


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