September 2, 2015

Aggregated Power Rankings

  5:26 pm

This is the latest in our series of aggregations of power rankings from around the web, plus other indicators of political strength. If you know of other sources we can add in the future, let me know. We have added a few more this month, and I think the more credible sources we include, the more indicative our results of the real state of the race.

The results are below, with the sources identified and linked (where possible) below the table.

Power rank
The sources are as follows:
CFP = Center for Politics (Larry Sabato), Aug 13
Kraut = Charles Krauthammers rankings from WaPo, Aug 13
R4 = Max Twain’s most rankings here at R 4 2016, Aug 19
Sean = Sean Trende listed percentages of likelihood for all the majors on his Facebook account. I stole them (about two weeks ago)
538 = A compendium of endorsements, which many consider a key indicator of strength in the ‘invisible primary, as of yesterday
BI = Business Insider’s power rankings, Aug 20
Net Fav = From Pollster, the rankings by net favorability, as of yesterday
RCP = National polling averages according to RealClearPolitics, as of yesterday
USAT = USAToday’s power rankings, Sept 1
Total = Calculated by assigning 10 points for each first, 9 for each second, etc. Points are split for ties.

Here is the most recent previous aggregation.


— OMG! Trump moved down one slot, trading places with Cruz. Don’t get your knickers in a bunch, Trumpettes, this is not a particularly scientific endeavor, and I use different sources each time, so the results aren’t comparable.

— Not surprisingly, Trump causes the most disagreement, sometimes ranked #1, sometimes not ranked at all. Cruz beat him out this time by being consistently ranked just outside the top tier.

— Fiorina and Carson moved up a good bit, as expected.

— Santorum made it!


Race 4 2016 Weekly Readers Poll

  3:00 pm

Greetings all! Below is a link to the weekly readers poll, there are nine questions this week and you need to be logged in to Google to vote.

Last week we got 107 responses and there was little change to the top line numbers with Senators Macro Rubio (27.1%) and Rand Paul (21.5%) and Governor John Kasich (11.2%) taking the top three spots in our presidential preference poll. Only Senator Rick Santorum was unable to garner even a single vote.

Of 10 of the top candidates, only four – Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, Kasich and Rubio, do a plurality of respondents say their opinion of said individuals has improved over the last six months. A majority say that their opinion of Jeb Bush (61.3%), Donald Trump (70.5%) and Scott Walker (66.4%) has worsened over the last six months while a plurality say likewise about Chris Christie (44.9%) and Ted Cruz (37.7%). A plurality, 49.1%, say their opinion of Mike Huckabee has stayed the same.

If Trump wins the GOP nomination, only 35.5% of respondents say they would vote for him in the general election. A plurality (37.4%) would vote third party while 12.1% would vote for the Democrat nominee and 15% would opt to stay home on election day.

Race 4 2016 Weekly Readers Poll


More Bad News for Perry

  2:44 pm

It feels a little like piling-on, but facts are facts. Via WaPo:

Rick Perry’s presidential campaign has lost its entire staff in New Hampshire, according to a former top adviser there to the former governor.

“There is no staff in New Hampshire,” Mike Dennehy said Wednesday, a day after word spread that one of Perry’s remaining staffers in the Granite State had defected to Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s campaign.

Dennehy, who is no longer working for Perry’s campaign in a formal capacity, said he had personally encouraged the New Hampshire staff to look for other work. Dennehy said he does not plan to join another campaign.



Will The Pig Like It?

  2:12 pm

George Bernard Shaw:  “Never wrestle with pigs. You both get dirty and the pig likes it.”

So far in the campaign, Rick Perry, Lindsey Graham, and Rand Paul have all gone after Donald Trump. None have fared well, to put it mildly. After weeks of Donald smearing Jeb Bush, Jeb ran his first counterattack ad this week, and to quote Trump: “Will Jeb sink as low in the polls as the others who have gone after me?”

The reason for Trump’s seeming obsession with attacking Jeb is obvious. Donald’s campaign is essentially a reality show and every good reality show needs an enemy. Jeb is the obvious choice, for a campaign based on the exclusion of Hispanics, to characterize as the enemy. He’s married to a Mexican immigrant, fluently speaks the language of the undesirables, and has even said that the motivation for Hispanics immigrating to the United States is love.  Besides, most major prognosticators consider him the odds on favorite to win the nomination.

Ana Navarro of CNN said “Knowing Jeb, I’m sure he’d prefer to be talking about policy proposals rather than trading verbal jabs with Trump…but what: Is he going to do? Let the guy mischaracterize his record and positions and attack him daily? Enough is enough!”

Bush associate Tim Miller observed that “there’s no path for success in cowering into a corner and hoping for the best. When he released his ad, Jeb said “He attacks me every day with barbarities. They’re not true. What we did today was to put out in his words to show that he’s not conservative.” The ad signaled that he will try to take Trump down in the coming weeks. The debate on the 16th should be interesting.

Josh Kraushaar in the National Journal notes that fundamentally, Trump’s attacks on Jeb have been on his personality. “He’s a very low energy person” he charges. Translation: He won’t fight for you, but I will. “He’ll find out it’s not an act of love.” Translation: He’s about to pay big time for his coddling of Hispanic immigrants.  Even on his wife:  “Jeb Bush has to like the Mexican illegals because of his wife.”  Translation:  What would you expect from someone who would marry one of them.

So it’s on.  Under similar circumstances Mitt had to take out Gingrich after Newt won the South Carolina Primary, and he obliterated Gingrich in the Florida Primary debate, and in the primary itself as it shaked out.  Kraushaar, in his article in the Journal article entitled “Jeb Bush’s Donald Trump Distraction” says that Jeb’s real adversary in the campaign isn’t Trump, it’s John Kasich and Marco Rubio.  He has to get past them to emerge as the establishment candidate before gong on to win the nomination.  It’s inconvenient that Donald is in the race, but there it is.

You might think that Jeb going up against Donald is like David going up against Goliath, but Ed Rogers in the Washington Post disagrees:  ” I think Jeb Bush wins this exchange.”  He reasons that in the long term it’s beneficial to the Bush campaign for Trump to acknowledge that Jeb is his chief competition.  And Trump’s recent anti-Jeb ad linked Jeb’s “gentle tone and practical approach to immigration reform” with “the actions of a few horrific murderers everybody knows Bush would actually send to the chair if he could.”

Rogers  goes on:  “Trump and his campaign probably don’t get this–at this stage in the game, the Republican Primary race is actually composed of a relatively small number of informed observers and participants.  Most Republican activists  won’t buy the message that this ad is selling.”  In fact Bloomberg did a focus group featuring 10 Trump supporters that ultimately revealed that only 2 of them would actually vote for Donald when push comes to shove.

The Primary will determine whether Jeb’s coming battle with Donald will achieve what Mitt achieved in his battle with Gingrich, or whether it’s a kamikaze mission; one where you destroy the target and die in the process.  But whatever happens the pig will enjoy it while it lasts.

He lives for that stuff.



Rubio Outlines Policy on China

  1:19 pm

In a speech in Charleston, SC, Rubio outlines his policy positions on China. The video is below:


Poll Watch: Trump Leads by 16 in Iowa; Walker & Bush Collapse

  1:08 pm

There’s a lot to be skeptical about here – Gravis has always shown Trump and Jindal at much higher levels than any other phone surveys out there, and RCP doesn’t trust Gravis enough to include them in their averages [edit: they do include Gravis state polls, but not national polls]. But at least they allowed undecideds this time… and in this polling desert, we’ll take what we can get — just take it with a grain of salt:

Gravis Marketing (R) Iowa Republican Caucus

  • Trump – 32% (31)
  • Carson – 16% (5)
  • Cruz – 7% (6)
  • Rubio – 6% (3)
  • Walker – 6% (17)
  • Fiorina – 5% (4)
  • Jindal – 5% (7)
  • Bush – 4% (10)
  • Huckabee – 3% (6)
  • Christie – 2% (*)
  • Kasich – 1% (5)
  • Paul – 1% (*)
  • Perry – * (2)
  • Santorum – * (3)
  • Graham – * (1)
  • Pataki – * (*)
  • Undecided – 11% (0)

Survey of 507 Republican voters was conducted Aug 29-31 and has a margin of error of ±4.4%. Numbers in parentheses are from the July Gravis survey.


Wednesday Open Thread

  5:00 am

This is the Open Thread for Wednesday. This is where all comments should go if they would be off-topic on other threads. This is also a good place for new polls or articles you think might be of interest.


September 1, 2015

CNN Amends Debate Rules, Fiorina Likely to Be Eleventh Person on Stage

  6:10 pm

We’ve pointed out before — along with the rest of the political world — the inherent unfairness in CNN’s original debate criteria. That criteria stipulated CNN would use an average of national polling from July 16-Sept 10 to determine who the top ten candidates on stage would be, leaving candidates who surged after the Cleveland debate, like Carly Fiorina, high and dry. This afternoon, though, after great pressure, CNN amended their debate criteria by adding Rule 7a.

Here’s the new criteria: the top ten will still be determined by an average of polls taken from July 16-Sept 10; however, in addition to that CNN will also look at the average of only the post-Cleveland debate polls. If anyone makes the top ten in the post-debate average who didn’t make the original top ten, they will be added to the stage.

In other words, welcome aboard, Carly.

Currently, the “original” top ten includes the following candidates:

  1. Trump – 22.8
  2. Bush – 12.0
  3. Walker – 10.3
  4. Carson – 7.3
  5. Cruz – 6.0
  6. Rubio – 6.0
  7. Huckabee – 5.8
  8. Paul – 5.1
  9. Kasich – 3.4
  10. Christie – 3.3

The top ten of only the post-debate polls looks a bit different:

  1. Trump – 25.7
  2. Carson – 11.0
  3. Bush – 9.7
  4. Cruz – 7.3
  5. Walker – 6.7
  6. Rubio – 6.3
  7. Fiorina – 5.0
  8. Kasich – 4.7
  9. Huckabee – 4.3
  10. Paul – 3.7

Carly and Christie both have something to be thankful for. If CNN had changed course and simply decided to exclude the pre-Cleveland polls, Christie would find himself off the stage (and, likely, out of the race). Instead, both candidates get to be on stage now (which would also, incidentally, seem to be a benefit to the Romney-led coalition as a whole).

The new rule does not redefine how the podiums will be arranged when an eleventh candidate is added to the stage. We don’t know whether or not Carly will get a podium towards the middle (as per her post-debate standing) or, more likely, if she will be relegated to the edge of the stage. As we’ve said before, the optics in these televised debates have the potential to send powerful subconscious messages.

The other piece of interesting news that came from CNN’s press release was sad for the poll nerds among us — CNN said this:

“We learned this week that there will likely be only two more polls by the deadline of September 10th.”

Reliable public polling has been a wasteland this year compared to years past. It makes sense – it’s more expensive and more difficult to do, especially given the necessity to make cell phone contacts. But only two more polls over the next ten days? Ouch. CNN notes there have historically been more than 15 national polls released during this time period in previous races.

(This would be a good time to remind folks that online surveys are not scientifically or statistically accurate, even though some companies are trying to work out ways to make them so. In other words, Morning Consult, Reuters/Ipsos, SurveyMonkey, YouGov, and Zogby surveys don’t count. Yet. There’s a reason CNN is excluding all of those, among others, from the debate averages.)

Having Fiorina and Christie both on stage will make for a potentially very interesting evening. There is no love lost between the two of them and Donald Trump, and Christie has already talked about the possibility of going “nuclear” during the September debate (taking one for the team while he takes Donald down, perhaps?). Fiorina has sharpened her teeth on the campaign trail by effectively and powerfully attacking Hillary Clinton, but coming off calm and likeable while she does it; if she attacks Trump it could cause damage — and he could be goaded into more inappropriately misogynistic comments. CNN may have just orchestrated an evening that could top even Fox’s Cleveland debate.


USA Today Power Rankings, Week One

  4:32 pm

USA Today is putting a unique spin on political power rankings for this primary: rather than assign it to their lead political writer or columnist like most publications, they are doing it college-football poll style. Thirty-one of their political editors, contributors, and analysts will rank the candidates, and the consolidated results will be the new USA Today Power Rankings each week. Week One results just came out — check them out (first place votes are in parentheses):

  1. Trump (25)
  2. Carson (2)
  3. Rubio (3)
  4. Bush (1)
  5. Cruz
  6. Fiorina
  7. Walker
  8. Kasich
  9. Huckabee
  10. Paul
  11. Christie
  12. Santorum
  13. Jindal
  14. Perry
  15. Graham
  16. Pataki
  17. Gilmore

Race 4 2016 Weekly Readers Poll (Re-Post)

  1:42 pm

Since it had dropped off the front page and I wanted to re-post the weekly readers poll for anyone who has not yet had a chance to vote.


Hello Race family. Below is a link to our weekly readers poll. There are 12 questions this week and you have to be logged in with Google to vote.

Last week we got a whopping 141 responses! Thanks to all who participated.

Florida Senator Marco Rubio continues to lead the pack among Race readers for their top choice for the Republican nomination for president. Mr. Rubio garnered 27% support, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul placed second with 21.3% and Ohio Governor John Kasich received 12.8%. Governor Jim Gilmore and Senator Rick Santorum were the only candidates to receive zero support in this week’s poll.

Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina (40.4%) and businessman Democrat Party contributor and Planned Parenthood supporter Donald Trump (21.3%) were the top two vote-getters when respondents were asked whose campaign has been the biggest, positive surprise this cycle. Mr. Trump and Mr. Paul (18.4%) were listed as the biggest disappointments while Governors Jeb Bush (17.7%) and Scott Walker (14.2%) also reached double-digits on the “biggest disappointment” question.

Mr. Trump was the candidate who the most Race readers, 66.4% to be precise, said they could NEVER support. Mr. Santorum (52.2%) was the only other candidate who a majority could never support. Only 17.9% said they could never support Mr. Paul and 18.7% said likewise about Mr. Kasich.

Taxes/fiscal policy/government spending appears to be the most important issue to Race readers with 79.4% responding that such issues are “very important” to them and only 2.8% said the issue is “not very” or “not at all” important to them. 55.3% said foreign policy is very important, 26.2% said the same about social issues (though it is worth noting that the exact same number listed social issues as “not very” important) and 25.7% said illegal immigration was “very important” to them. Unsurprisingly, 73.3% of those who chose Mr. Trump as their first choice said illegal immigration was very important to them.

In a hypothetical general election match-up featuring Hillary Clinton (D), Rick Santorum (R), Bernie Sanders (G) and Donald Trump (I), Mr. Santorum won a small plurality (29.8%) while Mr. Trump was picked by 22.7% of respondents. 23.4% of us said that, when faced with such a putrid roster of candidates, we would pack our bags and move to Canada.

Race 4 2016 Weekly Readers Poll


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