Category Archives: Presidential campaign

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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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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Joe Biden’s Best Move

Sept. 1, 2015 — An idea for Vice President Joe Biden has begun to float around while he considers whether to run for the nation’s top office. A suggested Biden strategic move would not only rob Hillary Clinton of significant support, but also simultaneously neutralize Sen. Bernie Sanders (I/D-VT).

The strategy comes in three parts. First, Biden would announce for president and immediately name Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) as his running mate. This would be an overt attempt to cover the female base, thereby giving voters who want a woman on the ticket some reason to consider ditching Clinton in favor of Biden.

Additionally, identifying Warren as his vice presidential running mate would assuage the Democrats’ liberal base, including the growing far left sector. This voter segment is where Sen. Sanders draws the bulk of his support. Thus, adding Warren to Biden’s presidential ticket would act as a wedge designed to weaken both the former First Lady and the self-proclaimed socialist lawmaker.

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Hassan Waiting Too Long?

Aug. 31, 2015 — New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan (D) continues to remain non-committal about whether she will seek re-election or challenge Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R), and her ambivalence could be hurting her. Long saying she would decide when the state budget situation was resolved (she signed the budget bill on July 9), Hassan has yet to give any indication of what she might do. Refusing to wait any longer, others are stepping up.

Earlier this week, state Rep. Frank Edelblut (R) announced his gubernatorial candidacy regardless of what Hassan decides. Previously, US Rep. Annie Kuster (D-NH-2), long thought of as a challenger to Sen. Ayotte should Hassan stay put, announced that she will seek re-election next year irrespective of what statewide position may or may not be open.

Now a new Public Policy Polling survey (Aug. 21-24; 841 registered New Hampshire voters) that skews decidedly to the Democratic side finds Hassan making no gains against Sen. Ayotte, still trailing her by just one point, 44-43 percent. Normally, this would be considered good news for a potential challenger but, in this case, the opposite might well be true.

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Biden Making Moves

Aug. 27, 2015 — Major speculation continues to swirl around Vice President Joe Biden. Meetings of key potential supporters now occur with great frequency, and talk of a ticket involving Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren was jump-started when the two held a private meeting just last week. Therefore, it appears only a matter of time before a Biden for President campaign formally launches.

Hillary Clinton continues to stumble along the campaign trail, which is making Democratic leaders nervous, and willing to consider alternatives. But could a late-forming Biden campaign actually be successful? The answer is: possibly. It is conceivable that VP Biden could end up being in exactly the right place at exactly the right time … at least as far as the Democratic nomination is concerned.

The Democrats choose their convention delegates very differently than Republicans. Their process features greater party leadership control, so Clinton is in more trouble in the Democratic process than she might be running on the Republican side. While the GOP, featuring 17 candidates with a current front-runner who can’t reach 50 percent, could well be headed to a brokered convention, it is unlikely that Democrats will find themselves embroiled in such a predicament even though they will have three major candidates fighting through a grueling primary and caucus schedule.

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Q-Poll: Rubio Best Against Democrats

Aug. 24, 2015 — Quinnipiac University simultaneously polled the swing states of Florida (1,093 registered voters), Ohio (1,096 registered voters), and Pennsylvania (1,085 registered voters) during the Aug. 7-18 period and found that neither Donald Trump nor Jeb Bush is the strongest Republican against a trio of potential Democratic nominees. Rather, it is Florida Sen. Marco Rubio who scores the highest in ballot test pairings opposite his Democratic counterparts.

The young senator, however, isn’t quite as strong on the Republican primary ballot test, placing third in all three states including his own. The Q-Poll’s three state combination does show that Rubio would be the Democrats’ most formidable opponent, therefore suggesting he has the potential of likewise creating a surge among Republicans.

The pollsters paired three Democrats: Hillary Clinton, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, and Vice President Joe Biden, with three Republicans: Trump, Bush, and the Florida senator. The data finds that Rubio is the only one of the trio who leads Clinton in each of the three places. In fact, he tops all three Democrats everywhere in the tested region with the exception of trailing VP Biden in Ohio, but by just one percentage point, 42-41 percent.

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