Oct. 5, 2015 — Now, just four months from the first presidential votes being cast in Iowa, developments are occurring in the Democratic race that suggest we are headed for an interesting ride. Though it is unlikely the Dems will go to a brokered convention -– the nomination rules are written to avoid such a conclusion — three points will play a major role in shaping the early outcome of their presidential contest.
As we consistently see in national polling, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton continues to lead, but her margin is smaller than in earlier days. Though holding between 15- and 20-point national leads over Sen. Bernie Sanders (I/D-VT), she now consistently polls below majority support among likely Democratic primary or caucus participants. When the national campaign began last year, Clinton steadily placed in the 60s against the group of potential candidates, including Vice President Joe Biden. Now, she routinely registers only in the low to mid-40s.
The confirmed data also tells us that the former First Lady is finding political trouble in the first two nomination states, Iowa and New Hampshire. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I/D-VT) has taken discernible leads in both places. The effect upon her losing both contests could be major. Her third-place showing in Iowa back in 2008 did not initially kill her campaign, but it certainly put her on the road to defeat. She was commonly viewed as the “inevitable” nominee before the Hawkeye State caucus vote, but not after, as then-Sen. Barack Obama began to steal the spotlight from her.
Sept. 28, 2015 — A new Bloomberg Politics poll conducted by Iowa-based Selzer & Company (Sept. 18-21; 1,001 adults) at least partially explains Donald Trump’s apparent sudden appeal. The poll asks pointed questions about how the respondents perceive various issues, and the results provide supporting data as to why Trump’s message is striking chords with many prospective voters.
In a previous update, we discussed the Bloomberg/Selzer Democratic primary ballot test (375 likely Democratic primary voters – a sample too small to adequately draw national conclusions). This new data reveals that a bare majority would now choose a Dem candidate other than former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Additionally, their underlying issue questions provide us a relatively sound base from which to analyze potential voting patterns.
The key questions surround America’s greatness, a subject that has become the theme of Trump’s national campaign. From his slogan “let’s make America great again”, it becomes obvious that Trump no longer thinks the country is heading toward its apex. According to the Bloomberg/Selzer data, the majority of respondents share that opinion. Their question is reproduced below, with response percentages in adjoining parenthesis:
Do you think the United States today is:
• Greater than it has ever been (6%)
• Equally great as it has been in the past (20%)
• Falling behind (47%)
• Failing (25%)
• Not sure (2%)
Sept. 25, 2015 — Bloomberg News released a survey yesterday delivering more bad news to the beleaguered Hillary Clinton campaign. According to their poll of 1,001 adults, 375 of who are likely Democratic primary voters (conducted by Selzer & Company of Des Moines, Iowa; Sept. 18-21), only 33 percent say the former Secretary of State is their first choice to be the party presidential nominee. Vice President Joe Biden follows closely with 25 percent preference, with Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I/D-VT) 24 percent nipping at the VP’s heels.
Particularly troubling for Clinton is that a majority of surveyed Democrats, when including minor candidates Jim Webb (former Virginia senator; two percent), and Martin O’Malley (ex-Maryland governor and Baltimore mayor; one percent), are definitively choosing another candidate.
Here, as in many Republican national polls we’ve seen, the 375-person sample size is too small to draw a highly accurate conclusion. Though the results appear in a consistent range with other recent polling, it is not fair to base assumptions on this high-error factor data. But, we do know the internal party trends are now turning against the former New York senator and First Lady, meaning she must somehow launch a new offensive to reverse her momentum slide.
Sept. 23, 2015 — The rise and fall of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker ultimately proved meteoric in both directions. After rising to the top of the Republican presidential heap earlier in the year, the nominal former front-runner yesterday departed the presidential race.
His decline, largely at the hands of current GOP front-runner Donald Trump, was as far and fast as his original ascension. All recent polls positioned him dropping to three percent or below, about 1/6th the size of his original support base, but the latest CNN/ORC survey (Sept. 17-19; 924 national registered voters; 444 likely Republican primary voters) portended rock bottom. The CNN study revealed that Walker failed to even record a percentage point.
How does Walker leaving the race affect the remaining candidates? If he has his way, others would follow his lead exiting the contest in order to allow those with the true ability to overtake Trump and unify the conservative movement the opportunity to do so.
Walker’s mistakes did not occur on the actual campaign trail. Rather, they were strategic and administrative in nature. Waiting too long to officially enter the race, failing to stand out at the debates, and spending too much money on staff overhead proved to be his downfall even though he uttered only minor public gaffes.
Sept. 22, 2015 — Two national media polls were released this weekend. Though the methodologies employed in each survey were very different, both arrived at remarkably similar conclusions.
NBC News ran an online survey and CNN/ORC conducted one of their regular research studies of the post-debate national Republican electorate. The two found confirmation of what was developing before the debate – the trio of never-elected Republicans: Donald Trump, Dr. Ben Carson, and businesswoman Carly Fiorina attracting more than bare majority support – also happening after the forum.
According to NBC Online, 54 percent of the GOP primary voting sample chose one of the non-politicians. The top elected or former elected official, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, scored a mere eight percent. CNN/ORC reported a similar finding: 53 percent, with one elected official, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, actually breaking into double-digits at 11 percent.
NBC developed their 5,113 person polling sample with SurveyMonkey on Sep. 16-18, from a pool of more than the three million people who answer SurveyMonkey questions each day. The NBC officials classify this as a “non-probability survey” that was demographically weighted with data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. Of the 5,113 adult sample, 2,070 are registered or self-identified Republican voters. The reported GOP segment ballot test responses follow:
Sept. 21, 2015 — West Texas Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-Lubbock) became the fifth House member this month to announce his retirement, making public his decision yesterday. The congressman is not exercising his prerogative to seek an eighth term in the House, and will end his congressional career when the legislative session concludes at the beginning of 2017.
Neugebauer was first elected in a 2003 special election, replacing resigned-Rep. Larry Combest (R-Lubbock) who had left the House mid-term from his agriculture dominated district. Combest was the former chairman of the House Agriculture Committee when he retired from Congress.
Neugebauer, previously a Lubbock City Councilman, won a difficult special election in a very different 19th CD. At the time, both the cities of Lubbock and Midland were housed in the same CD. Neugebauer defeated Midland businessman Mike Conaway (R) in that election, but the latter would then win his current post-redistricting 11th District in 2004. Conaway is now the current House Agriculture Committee chairman.
The same redistricting plan that elected Conaway forced the just-elected Neugebauer into a district with 13-term Rep. Charlie Stenholm (D-Abilene). But, the new boundary configuration was not kind to the veteran Democrat, and the freshman handily defeated him 58-40 percent. Rep. Neugebauer would never again experience a close election.
Sept. 17, 2015 — Tuesday, before last night’s Republican debate, Public Policy Polling released their new Florida survey (Sept. 11-14; 814 registered Florida voters; 377 likely Republican Florida primary voters; 368 likely Democratic Florida primary voters) and delivered what could be haunting news to both former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Sen. Marco Rubio. The new ballot test result finds Donald Trump and Dr. Ben Carson leading the pair of home state politicians.
According to the PPP numbers, Trump takes 28 percent of the Florida Republican vote, followed by Dr. Carson who secures 17 percent. Trailing in third place with only 13 percent support from his home state GOP electorate is Bush, while Sen. Rubio drops to 10 percent. Though the percentages are not as dramatic as polls witnessed in Iowa and New Hampshire earlier in the week, Trump and Carson total 45 percent of the Sunshine State GOP vote. The third outsider candidate who is part of the trio never holding an elective office, Carly Fiorina, garners seven percent from this sampling universe, which again gives the never-electeds a majority (52 percent).
Looking at the delegate count, the Florida winner takes the primary season’s biggest prize because the state’s 99 Winner-Take-All delegates would be assigned to the person finishing first, regardless of the percentage attained.