Tag Archives: Dr. Ben Carson

Denying Trump

March 4, 2016 — The Republicans are at a political crossroads. Now with voting completed in 15 states, Donald Trump finds himself settling into a support zone of between 316-334 committed delegates, depending upon what media count one examines. Sen. Ted Cruz’s support lies in the 224-234 range, while Sen. Marco Rubio falls between 110-113 pledged first ballot tallies. Gov. John Kasich has between 23-28 committed votes, while Dr. Ben Carson, who suspended his campaign Wednesday, has eight delegates according to all renderings. Carson will be speaking today at CPAC in Washington, D.C.

Trump’s high total of 334 is far from the 1,237 needed to secure the nomination, with 41 more states and territories yet to vote. In the next two weeks, culminating with the big Winner-Take-All primaries in Florida (99 delegates) and Ohio (66 delegates), voters from 17 entities will visit the polls. At the end of voting on March 15, 1,466 of 2,472 Republican delegates (59.3 percent) will be assigned to a candidate or placed in the unbound category. Therefore, the next two weeks will prove critical toward determining the GOP resolution.

Without changing the present course, Trump is likely to win the Republican nomination because no one opponent has unified the anti-Trump coalition. If the early front runner were to score another plurality victory in Florida and Ohio, an additional 165 delegates would come his way in addition to what he gains in places like Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, and Missouri, all of which will vote on or before March 15.

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Trump, Clinton Knocking on Door

March 3, 2016 — Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump delivered strong performances Tuesday night in their respective Super Tuesday primaries and caucuses, but neither could land the knockout punch for which they hoped.

Clinton continued her dominance in the south, but surprisingly stumbled in Oklahoma. She won seven of the 11 Democratic voting entities Tuesday night (with American Samoa still to report at this writing). Sen. Bernie Sanders, in addition to his 51-41 percent win in Oklahoma, took his home state of Vermont, and the Colorado and Minnesota caucuses.

Clinton was again dominant in the states with large African-American populations and it is probable that she once more attracted approximately 90 percent support within the black community. Sanders, however, is in the superior position among white Democratic voters. Massachusetts was the only northern state that Ms. Clinton carried, but it was close. She finished with 50.3 percent of the Bay State popular vote.

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Bloomberg Super Tuesday Poll;
Arizona Rep. Salmon To Retire

Feb. 29, 2016 — Last week during the Republican presidential debate from the University of Houston, Donald Trump made reference to “loving” a Bloomberg Poll forecasting the candidates’ prospects for the upcoming Super Tuesday primaries. But the poll does little to provide much useful information.

Bloomberg News and the Purple Strategies consulting firm again teamed up to release a political survey. But this online poll, which questions 1,254 respondents over the Feb. 22-24 period in the seven “SEC Primary” states – the name given for Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia, all that are holding primary elections on March 1 and most of which belong to the Southeastern Conference collegiate sports league – as one unit. Therefore, the conclusions reflect a region result that has no relevance in how people in the individual states will vote or apportion delegates.

Trump mentioned it in the debate because the data finds him leading his Republican competitors region-wide, 37-20-20-8-6 percent over senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, Dr. Ben Carson, and Gov. John Kasich, respectively, but does little to portray anything of significance since the states are not voting as a unified block.

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Super Tuesday, But for Whom?

Feb. 26, 2016 — The next presidential voting event occurs this Saturday for Democrats in South Carolina, but that race is close to an end. When Hillary Clinton easily wins the Palmetto State primary, and then launches into a southern Super Tuesday sweep, the nomination will effectively be hers. But, the real action is with the Republicans.

Next Tuesday, March 1, Republican voters in 12 states will go to the polls to possibly begin officially crowning a presidential nominee, at least according to most news stories.

The media is promoting Donald Trump’s Nevada victory as possibly more than it is, however. Though his 46 percent margin was impressive and anyone’s best showing to date, Nevada has just 30 total delegates and the turnout was only about 18 percent of the total registered Republican universe. Therefore, contrary to popular opinion, the GOP nomination campaign is not yet over.

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Trump Takes Nevada

Feb. 25, 2016 — As expected, Donald Trump placed first in the Nevada Caucuses scoring just under 46 percent of the attender preference; his strongest performance to date, though the turnout was only in the 75,000 range. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) was second with 24 percent, followed by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz at 21 percent. Dr. Ben Carson and Gov. John Kasich (R-OH) trailed with five and four percent, respectively.

Though he didn’t emphasize Nevada at all, Gov. Kasich’s dead last finish behind Carson cannot be good for his pre-Ohio staying power.

Nevada apportions 30 delegates on a straight proportional basis with a zero percent vote threshold. With these percentages, Trump is expected to commit 14 delegate votes, Rubio seven, Cruz six, Carson two, and Kasich one. The small totals mean that Nevada is only partially determinative regarding GOP nomination direction.

Trump didn’t score a knockout punch, but no one expected any different. Trump adds incrementally to his delegate advantage but is the undisputed leader heading into the 12-state Super Tuesday bonanza on March 1. Those contests, mostly in the south, will go a long way to deciding whether Trump can best position himself to capture the party nomination.

Though he was projected to be the top finisher just after the Caucus meetings closed, Trump still failed to clear a 50 percent majority, and the aggregate total for Rubio and Cruz virtually equaled the current leader’s Nevada total. To win the nomination, a candidate must secure a delegate majority, meaning 1,237 from the universe of 2,472 total Republican convention delegate votes.

The important upcoming Super Tuesday states to watch are the five that require 20 percent of the vote to qualify for delegate apportionment: Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Texas and Vermont. All use the 20 percent threshold system, meaning a candidate must attain this vote percentage to qualify for vote distribution. Now that Dr. Carson and Gov. Kasich are fading, it is likely that the three top contenders, Trump, Rubio, and Cruz, will break 20 percent in four of those states, just as they did tonight in Nevada. Gov. Kasich, who is targeting the northern tier states for Super Tuesday, could well qualify in Vermont, but the delegate pool there is small.

If such a result occurs in those five states along with Arkansas, Oklahoma, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Virginia, Alaska, and the non-binding Wyoming precinct caucuses, Trump may well score further first place finishes, but he still won’t be near the majority mark necessary to clinch the nomination. Therefore, the primaries and caucuses will continue on through 17 more states and territories through March 15, culminating with the big Winner-Take-All states of Florida and Ohio.

On the evening of March 15, 32 voting entities will have cast their ballots and a clear pattern will have formed. Under the present vote and delegate commitment ratios, it appears that no candidate, including Trump, will have the necessary delegate votes to effectively clinch the nomination. Therefore, assuming both Cruz and Rubio remain able to attract significant delegate support, having a brokered Republican convention still looms as a possibility.

Next Steps in the Presidential Race

Feb. 23, 2016 — South Carolina Republicans went to the polls in record numbers (737,924 voter turnout, far surpassing the previous high of 601,166; a 23 percent increase) on Saturday to give Donald Trump all 50 of the state’s delegates.

Because South Carolina uses a Winner-Take-All by congressional district system, Trump placing first in all seven seats gave him a combined 21 delegates. Matched with the 29 at-large delegates he received for winning the statewide count, a backdoor Winner-Take-All result occurred.

In Nevada, while Hillary Clinton’s 53-47 percent win in the Democratic Caucuses was close, the psychological effect and momentum swing prove greater than her percentage margin. A Bernie Sanders victory could have begun to seriously unravel the Clinton campaign just when the former Secretary of State was fighting to overcome the aftermath of a frayed early start. Safely clearing Nevada, she is now has the chance to score big in her strongest geographical region: the South.

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Nevada and SC Numbers

Feb. 19, 2016 — All of the presidential campaigns head to the Nevada Caucus next Tuesday: the Republicans immediately after their South Carolina primary Saturday, and the Democrats before their own Palmetto State vote on Feb.  27.

A new Nevada Caucus CNN/ORC survey (Feb. 10-15; 1,006 adults; 282 likely Nevada Democratic Caucus attenders, 245 likely Nevada Republican Caucus attenders) finds Sen. Bernie Sanders (I/D-VT) pulling into a virtual tie with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, trailing 48-47 percent.

Even a Sanders victory in Nevada would do little to help him close the delegate gap, however. It is likely that Clinton will actually gain a greater advantage, win or lose, because of her dominance within the Super Delegate category. Whether increased Sanders’ momentum from another strong electoral performance will help him in the Deep South is questionable. Such won’t be known until the following Saturday in South Carolina and throughout the southern region including Texas, the third-largest delegate pool (252) within the Democratic universe, on March 1.

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Justice Scalia and the Presidential Election; Latest South Carolina Polls

Feb. 16, 2016 — The sudden death of Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia over the weekend will have a major effect upon the 2016 presidential elections. Both sides will now emphasize base issues such as abortion and 2nd Amendment rights in order to energize their respective constituencies. The heightened political atmosphere could lead to the largest electoral turnout in United States history.

Expect the Supreme Court vacancy to dominate the political coverage for the rest of the year. The high court situation not only changes the open presidential campaign, but it puts new importance upon the US Senate campaigns because the Scalia replacement confirmation battle could possibly be delayed to 2017. Since neither party will have close to the 60 seats needed to invoke cloture, we can expect this contentious situation to be unresolved for months.

South Carolina

Two new polls were released over the weekend, from the American Research Group (Feb. 12-13; 400 likely South Carolina Republican primary voters) and CBS/YouGov (Feb. 10-12; 744 likely South Carolina Republican primary voters). GOP voters cast their ballots in the party-run primary this coming Saturday, Feb. 20, while their Democratic Party counterparts will vote a week later on Feb. 27.

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The Changing Presidential Campaign

Feb. 12, 2016 — The presidential candidates are now exiting the race just as fast as they were entering about a year ago. In early to mid-2015, there were 17 Republican candidates and five Democrats, but after yesterday those numbers are now, respectively, seven and two.

Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) and businesswoman Carly Fiorina joined the cavalcade of Republican candidates abandoning their presidential quest, as both came to the realization through disappointing New Hampshire finishes that neither has a path to victory in the national contest. Since the Iowa Caucus ended, ex-Gov. Mike Huckabee, former Gov. Martin O’Malley (D-MD), ex-Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA), Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), Christie, and Fiorina have all left the race.

Breaking 10 percent of the New Hampshire vote was a must for Christie, because that is the minimum vote threshold required in the state’s delegate apportionment formula. Realistically, the New Jersey governor needed a John Kasich-type finish (second place) to jump-start his effort in order to seriously vie for the moderate and establishment sectors’ support. Virtually making New Hampshire a watershed state for his campaign, it was little surprise that Gov. Christie ended his national effort when he failed to achieve his stated Granite State goals.

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Iowa Delegate Count;
Rep. Fincher Announces Retirement;
Virginia Lines Set

Feb. 4, 2016 — The Iowa delegate count released a day after the first-in-the-nation caucus concluded suggested that declaring a “winner” of the nominating event is a bit of a misnomer.

Though Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) finished first in the Republican race, his delegate take appears to be a grand total of eight. Second and third place finishers, Donald Trump and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) are awarded seven delegates apiece. Dr. Ben Carson receives three delegates, and all other participants get one apiece. Therefore, Cruz’s Iowa “victory” is netting him a one-delegate margin. He now needs 1,229 delegate votes to win the nomination, while Trump and Rubio both need 1,230, thus putting the Iowa Caucus vote into perspective.

The Democrats have a much more complicated delegate apportionment formula that rewards margin of victory in geographic regions. Therefore, despite Sen. Bernie Sanders (I/D-VT) pulling into a virtual tie with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton within the state delegate system (701-697), the national delegates break 29-21 in the latter’s favor. This being said, in the face of claims to the contrary, Clinton did actually place first in Iowa because she gained in the all-important national delegate count. Under the Democratic structure a candidate needs 2,383 delegate votes to win the presidential nomination. Continue reading

Cruz Edging Trump in California

Jan. 8, 2016 — The California Field Poll was released early this week and the results show a surge for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz in the Republican presidential race, but their conclusions are largely irrelevant. California polling can’t accurately project the state’s all-important delegate count, hence the statewide ballot test total is less important here than in other places.

Despite Republicans performing poorly in California since the turn of the century, the Golden State still sends the largest delegation to the Republican National Convention (172). The California apportionment system yields a more open contest than most states because finishing first statewide is worth only 10 at-large delegates.

As in six other states (Connecticut, Indiana, Maryland, Missouri, South Carolina and Wisconsin), California apportions upon congressional district vote in addition to the aggregate statewide total. Since the Golden State possesses 53 CDs, California primary day actually yields 54 separate elections: one in each congressional district in addition to the statewide tally. The candidate placing first in each individual district, regardless of vote percentage or raw total, is awarded three delegates in winner-take-all fashion.

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South Carolina Polling Flawed

Dec. 22, 2015 — South Carolina is an important early primary state and may have an even greater role than usual in setting the tone for the 2016 Republican race. Two December polls surveyed the Palmetto State Republican electorate, but the data snapshot does not provide us with a true indication of delegate apportionment and this latter point, from a nationwide perspective, is determinative regarding who wins the GOP presidential nomination.

With current polling suggesting that Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) may place first in the Iowa Caucus and Donald Trump well positioned to top the field in the New Hampshire primary, scoring a big delegate haul in South Carolina will give one of the candidates a clear momentum boost heading into the eleven-state Super Tuesday contests scheduled for March 1.

It’s the South Carolina delegate apportionment system that renders the latest state polls inconclusive. Under Republican Party rules, the state uses a Winner-Take-All by congressional district option, and then awards a large chunk of the at-large delegates to the statewide winner. The polling misses a key point because it does not segment the responses into the state’s seven congressional districts. This is largely because the individual district sample sizes would be too small to produce reliable results.

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More Florida Surprises

Dec. 18, 2015 — St. Pete Polls, not known as Florida’s most reliable pollster but a firm that produces a large volume of research, released a new survey yesterday showing Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) bolting past favorite son Marco Rubio in the Sunshine State. The pollsters selected 2,694 previous Republican primary voters during the December 14-15 period through an automated response system.

The results find Donald Trump leading with 36 percent, followed by the Texas senator at 22 percent, and Rubio posting 17 percent, while former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush only attracts nine percent support. Dr. Ben Carson dropped to six percent. This is the first poll that finds Cruz eclipsing both of the Florida home state politicians, but Trump has been leading everyone here for awhile.

According to this data, Trump polls 40 percent or greater in two regions, Panama City and Gainesville. Rubio does his best in Miami, where he moves into second place and trails the leader 25-31 percent.

Florida hosts the largest Winner-Take-All primary (99 delegates), and will vote on March 15.

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“Cruz-ing”

Dec. 15, 2015 — Two new surveys, both conducted during the Dec. 7-10 period from two different pollsters, find Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) eclipsing Donald Trump in Iowa for the first time in a month. A third poll, that from Monmouth University (Dec. 3-6; 425 likely Iowa caucus attenders) and reported upon last week, also found the Texas senator surging into first place among likely Hawkeye State GOP caucus attenders.

The Selzer & Company poll conducted for the Des Moines Register and Bloomberg News (804 likely caucus attenders; 400 Republican; 404 Democratic) posts Sen. Cruz to his largest lead to date, 31-21 percent over Trump. Dr. Ben Carson, consistently losing support in Iowa since topping Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Trump 27-17-15 percent, respectively, in the Iowa State University poll (Nov. 2-15; 518 likely Iowa Republican caucus attenders), places third with 13 percent. Sen. Rubio follows with 10 percent, the last candidate placing in double-digits. Former Gov. Jeb Bush and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) trail with five percent apiece.

The Fox News poll (807 likely caucus attenders; 450 Republican; 357 Democratic) finds similar results, but with closer margins. Here, we see Cruz leading Trump 28-26 percent, with Rubio and Carson trading places and percentages. This poll finds Rubio at 13 percent and Carson with 10 percent, meaning the two are virtually tied when comparing results. Bush registers six percent, with Sen. Paul, Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ), and ex-Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AR) each drawing three percent support.

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Calculation Politics

Dec. 11, 2015 — A just-released New Hampshire poll gives us meaningful insight into delegate projections and the small size of each candidate’s support basis by the time February concludes. Though the first four voting entities — Iowa caucus (Feb. 1), New Hampshire primary (Feb. 9), South Carolina primary (Feb. 20), and Nevada caucus (Feb. 23) — will be portrayed as trendsetters, in terms of delegate calculation these states will likely have reduced influence upon the 2016 election cycle’s direction.

Early this month, CNN and WMUR television sponsored a University of New Hampshire poll of Granite State voters (Nov. 30-Dec. 7; 954 registered New Hampshire voters; 402 likely New Hampshire Republican primary voters, 370 likely New Hampshire Democratic primary voters), the results of which were released yesterday. On a cautionary note, UNH has not proven itself as a particularly strong pollster, often producing wild results inconsistent with other similar surveys. The liberal Daily Kos Elections organization, for example, rates them as one of the least reliable pollsters on the political scene irrespective of partisanship.

For purposes of our delegate calculation exercise, however, the survey’s accuracy is not particularly relevant. The Republican delegate calculation formula is of prime importance, the actual determining factor about who will win the party’s presidential nomination. Therefore, in order to process New Hampshire’s delegate apportionment we will consider this poll the benchmark.

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