Monthly Archives: September 2015

Trump Creating an Open Convention?

Sept. 9, 2015 — Now that Donald Trump has pledged to remain in the Republican nomination process and not enter the general election as an Independent, can the current front runner win a majority of pledged delegates? Can he do so outside of a brokered convention?

In actuality, Trump’s current situation makes going to an open convention even more likely than originally believed.

To review what we have previously stated several times during the year, holding a brokered Republican convention for the first time in what will be 96 years could happen if several elements fell into place.

First, a field featuring a large number of candidates is required. No question the 17 contenders who comprise the Republican candidate universe certainly qualify as being “large”.

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Trump’s Pledge; Kline to Retire

Sept. 8, 2015 — A quiet political week ended with national Republican Party officials breathing a huge sigh of relief. Last week, Donald Trump agreed to sign the Republican National Committee pledge, committing candidates to eschew an independent candidacy if failing to win the party nomination. The language includes a statement of support for whoever becomes the GOP standard bearer. Obtaining Trump’s agreement was critical because his widely publicized contemplation about running in the general election was sure to doom the Republican nominee if he sought the presidency as an Independent.

But, it likely wasn’t the RNC chairman and leadership who carried the greatest influence with Trump. Rather, key GOP state chairmen who were beginning to draft legally binding pledges were the ones who made the difference.

The RNC pledge is not an authoritative document, and there isn’t much national party leaders can do if Trump decides to change his mind and reverse course later in the process. Ballot access, after all, is controlled by each individual state. But, state-based ballot qualifying measures and pledges do matter, and can be determinant about whether a candidate appears on a specific ballot.

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Nervous Numbers for Vitter and Trump

Sept. 4, 2015 — It’s basically been a foregone conclusion that Sen. David Vitter (R) would win Louisiana’s open governor’s race later this year, but a new poll gives reason to pause.

Pollster Verne Kennedy’s Market Research Insight just surveyed the Bayou State electorate (Aug. 26; 600 registered Louisiana voters) and finds, as virtually every other pollster has so far discovered, that Sen. Vitter’s numbers are low. Though he leads every poll, including this one, his support figures are not where one would expect for a multi-term incumbent senator engaged in an open statewide campaign.

According to the MRI data, Vitter has a 24-21-21-13 percent edge over state Rep. John Bel Edwards (D), Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle (R), and Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne (R), respectively, in the jungle primary election scheduled for Oct. 24, later this year. Should no one reach the majority plateau, the top two finishers, regardless of political party affiliation, would advance to a Nov. 21 run-off contest.

First, some polling analysis: the numbers are low across the board, which may be a result of survey methodology rather than voters not having a better sense of the gubernatorial contenders.

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Trump’s Impending Obstacles

Sept. 3, 2015 — Donald Trump’s presidential campaign has so far exceeded all expectations, but the rubber will soon meet the road for the wealthy upstart candidate. Continuing to publicly entertain the possibility of entering the general election as an Independent candidate if “the Republicans aren’t nice to me”, the decision whether to do so will likely come sooner rather than later.

The South Carolina primary is one of the most important. It is third on the nomination schedule and will likely hold its vote on Saturday, Feb. 20 of next year. The Palmetto State, like many others in the South and other places, has what is commonly referred to as a “sore loser law”. This means any person entering a partisan primary is ineligible to run as an Independent candidate in the related general election.

Most of these laws do not pertain to the presidential contest, but the South Carolina law does. Therefore, if Trump participates in the state’s primary – and he is leading there according to the latest polling – he would not be allowed access to the SC general election ballot if he fails to become the Republican nominee.

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Iowa – Below the Surface

Sept. 2, 2015 — The Des Moines Register and Bloomberg Politics released a new installment to their regular polling series, and it’s their underlying questions that provide us with the most interesting information. The survey, again conducted by the Des Moines-based Selzer & Company, interviewed 404 likely Democratic caucus attenders and 400 likely Republican participants over the Aug. 23-26 period.

Like most polls currently in the public domain, the respective ballot tests show Donald Trump breaking out for the Republicans. Here, he posts a 23-18-8-8 percent lead over Dr. Ben Carson with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) each claiming a share of third place. For the Democrats, Hillary Clinton’s lead is dissipating as Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is making significant gains. The results project him pulling to within single digits of former First Lady, 37-30 percent. Vice President Joe Biden, not yet a presidential contender, records 14 percent support.

The underlying points reveal a weakening Clinton, no doubt, but not to catastrophic proportions. Though her Iowa support is tepid when compared to the numbers she posted at the end of 2014, the base Democrats do not see her in a negative light.

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