Author Archives: Jim Ellis

Cruz; A Tie; Rubio the Surprise

Feb. 3, 2016 — The Iowa Caucuses ended in a bit of a surprise. Despite the last 10 public Republican contest polls all finding Donald Trump leading the Iowa vote by anywhere from one to eight points, it was Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) who claimed first place last night with a 28 percent preference. Trump finished a close second with 24 percent, followed by Sen. Marco Rubio’s (R-FL) stronger than expected 23 percent.

It is the latter number that few saw coming. Sen. Rubio had been consistently scoring a third place finish in most polls, but a distant one. Of the final 10 Iowa polls from nine different pollsters, cumulatively conducted during the Jan. 18-31 period, only two — the Emerson College Polling Society and Opinion Savvy — forecast Rubio in as formidable a third position as actually occurred.

The Democratic side turned out equally interesting. In their much different system where voters’ choices translate into state delegates for each candidate, it is former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders ending in a virtual tie. According to the latest available number, the two split the delegate pool almost evenly, with Clinton leading by only three delegates from a pool exceeding 1,300.

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Iowa Monday; Rep. Ribble to Retire

Feb. 2, 2016 — After more than a year of campaigning and anticipation, the first votes of the 2016 open presidential campaign were cast Monday evening. Both Republican and Democratic voters attended precinct caucuses in the Hawkeye State of Iowa to record their presidential preference.

The Iowa Republican precinct caucuses ended in a virtual three-way tie last night, with no candidate receiving even 30% of the vote. Sen. Ted Cruz (28 percent), Donald Trump (24 percent) and Sen. Marco Rubio (23 percent) each are expected to garner a respective 9, 8 and 8 delegates.

The Democratic side turned out equally interesting. In their much different system, where voters’ choices translate into state delegates for each candidate, it was former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders ending in a virtual tie.

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Bloomberg at 29 Percent

Feb. 1, 2016 — Hidden within the hubbub about whether or not Donald Trump would attend the Fox News debate last week, and perched on the cusp of the long-awaited Iowa Caucus voting scheduled for today, we find a Luntz Global poll (Jan. 26-27; 900 national registered voters) that projects former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I) scoring as high as 29 percent in a hypothetical race against Trump and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D). He posts 28 percent if the Republican nominee were Florida Sen. Marco Rubio or Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.

Pollster Frank Luntz makes the argument that Bloomberg has an actual path to national victory and uses Ross Perot’s 1992 independent candidacy to support his analysis. He quotes period surveys that found Perot beginning his first presidential quest with low single-digit voter preference, rising as high as 39 percent in the polls, and ending with 19 percent of the popular vote.

Luntz believes Bloomberg has the potential to do much better, particularly when his data finds the Independent already approaching 30 percent, approximately 10 times better than Perot’s beginning point.

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Bush Surging in NH?

Jan. 29, 2016 — A new Emerson College Polling Society New Hampshire presidential primary poll suggests former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is moving into second place among Republicans ahead of his principle establishment rivals, governors John Kasich (R-OH) and Chris Christie (R-NJ).

According to the ECPS survey results (Jan. 25-26; 373 likely New Hampshire GOP primary voters), Donald Trump maintains a large lead over the Republican field posting 35 percent preference. Bush followed with 18 percent, just ahead of Gov. Kasich’s 14 percent standing. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) scores nine percent; Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) eight percent; and Gov. Christie just five percent among the polling respondents.

However, these numbers are unsubstantiated. No other survey research organization has detected such a Bush forward drive. Though the Polling Society is comprised of students from Emerson College in neighboring Massachusetts, their track record has been impressive, coming closer to the actual final result in the 2013 Virginia governor’s race than the professional firms, for example. The American Association for Public Opinion Research extended the organization membership status in recognition of their previous work.

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Sen. Paul Draws Opponent

Jan. 28, 2016 — With the clock running down to just hours for Democrats to find a credible opponent for Sen. Rand Paul (R), Lexington Mayor Jim Gray (D) submitted his candidate declaration papers Tuesday and will be placed on the May 17 Democratic primary ballot.

Mayor Gray, who runs the second largest city-county consolidated government region in the state, had been a national recruitment target ever since former Gov. Steve Beshear (D) and Louisville Metro Mayor Greg Fischer (D) declined to run. Though six other Democrats had already become senatorial candidates, none can be considered major contenders, thus Gray begins the race with the inside track for the party nomination. Though starting from scratch, Gray could be in position to give Paul serious competition should the latter’s presidential campaign become a debacle.

Originally expected to be one of the major contenders in at least the Iowa Caucuses, Sen. Paul will likely finish in the lower tier in Monday’s first presidential vote, with not much better prospects for New Hampshire. The Kentucky presidential caucus, changed from a primary to allow Paul to simultaneously run for president and Senate, will be held March 5. The senator needs a good showing in his home state to remain alive in the presidential contest, and to shore up his internal base for a re-election campaign.

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