Category Archives: Presidential campaign

Iowa: Trump Falling

Oct. 28, 2015 — Several new Iowa Republican polls — the most stark examples coming from a pair of surveys released yesterday — project Donald Trump now falling behind in preparation for the Hawkeye State’s first-in-the-nation precinct caucus meetings scheduled for Feb. 1.

According to Monmouth University (Oct. 22-25; 400 likely Iowa GOP Caucus attenders, each of whom has voted in at least one of the last two primary elections), Dr. Ben Carson has opened a significant lead over Trump, topping him 32-18 percent in their October study. Looking back at their August poll, the two were tied at 23 percent. The swing represents a net 14-point gain for the retired neurosurgeon and first-time political candidate.

But, Monmouth is not the only pollster to detect a major switch among Iowa Republican poll respondents. Loras College (Oct. 19-22; 500 likely Iowa GOP Caucus attenders), polling just days before Monmouth, arrived at a similar conclusion. They find Carson ahead of Trump by an almost identical 31-19 percent.

The CBS News/YouGov survey (Oct. 15-22; 529 likely Iowa GOP Caucus attenders), again in the field during the same basic period, arrives at a much different result, however. This data finds Carson and Trump tied at 27 percent, but still points to the fact that latter is losing steam while the former is gaining within the Iowa Republican cell samples.

Interestingly, the three polls also detect similar second-tier findings. All show significant increases in support for Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. Monmouth finds Rubio and Cruz tied for third with 10 percent apiece. Loras also has Rubio at 10 percent, but Cruz following with six percent. CBS/YouGov predicts Cruz doing better than Rubio, leading him 12-9 percent. All three studies find Jeb Bush in a like position, still lagging in single-digits as he has been beginning in early summer, recording eight percent (Monmouth), seven percent (Loras), and six percent (CBS/YouGov).

The Iowa swing toward Carson again reveals the early volatility in the Republican race. From a national perspective, current events have not yielded a drastic change in the campaign but this shows us that what may be happening on the ground in small states can be different than what we see in the national media.

These results again reinforce that the there is no candidate, including Trump and Carson, anywhere close to dominating the field to the point where he or she can attract majority delegate support. Therefore, the race culminating in a brokered convention remains a distinct possibility.

Additionally, it is important to remember that in the Iowa system, individuals attend evening precinct meetings to cast their ballots in the middle of a cold winter; it is difficult to poll and the actual results could be much different than pre-election polling might indicate.

The Numbers Behind Dr. Ben Carson’s Upward Move in the Polls

Oct. 26, 2015 — Two new state polls released at the end of last week find Dr. Ben Carson breaking Donald Trump’s stranglehold on first place. The Quinnipiac University Iowa survey (Oct. 14-20; 574 likely Iowa Republican Caucus attenders) and the Norbert College Strategic Institute results for Wisconsin (Oct. 14-17; 600 Wisconsin state residents) reveal Carson snatching first place, though the latter poll has a questionable methodology.

Iowa, holding 30 proportional Republican delegates, is the first state to host a nominating event and will do so on the first day of next February.

According to the new Q-Poll, Carson has opened up a 28-20 percent advantage over Trump, with Sen. Marco Rubio jumping to third place (13 percent), and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz landing in fourth with 10 percent preference. Sen. Rand Paul follows at six percent, with Jeb Bush and Carly Fiorina each attracting five percent support. And in a disappointing performance for a Midwestern regional candidate — a prototype that normally fares well in Iowa — Ohio Gov. John Kasich falls to just a three percent standing.

Dr. Carson has been inching closer to Trump for the past few weeks, so it’s not altogether surprising to see him beginning to move past the flamboyant international businessman. Now, Dr. Carson faces a staying power test. Thus, the upcoming Oct. 28 Republican debate may be this first-time candidate’s most important early campaign appearance.

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Webb Out; Jolly Crashes

Oct. 23, 2015 — Democratic presidential candidate Jim Webb, the former US senator (Virginia) who spent most of last week’s debate time complaining that he wasn’t getting enough attention, has dropped his bid for the party nomination. He leaves the door open to enter the general election campaign as an Independent.

The move does little to affect the race. The three most irrelevant presidential participants in this 2016 contest are the trio of Democratic minor candidates: Webb, former governor and senator, Lincoln Chafee (D-RI), and ex-Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley. None of them have moved the political needle one iota since joining the race months ago.

Webb running as an Independent is also likely to have little impact. Qualifying for the ballot in all 50 states as an Independent presidential candidate is not an easy task. Therefore, there is no guarantee that the former Democratic presidential candidate will be able to raise the money and develop a national organization strong enough even to obtain ballot position.

Should he qualify, he is unlikely to become a major factor, and not the type of Independent candidate that will take a large share of the vote away from a particular candidate. Because he has straddled the ideological spectrum, first as a Republican US Navy Secretary in the Reagan Administration, and then all the way to becoming a Democratic senator, it is plausible that Webb’s few general election votes could potentially be evenly split between the two major party nominees.

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Biden Out; Hillary Wins

Oct. 22, 2015 — Despite media reports predicting that Vice President Joe Biden would enter the presidential race early in the week, yesterday he officially announced that he will not, saying his “window of opportunity had closed.”

As we had stated here earlier, Biden had three obstacles to overcome, none of which appeared easy to traverse. First, to which he referred in his Rose Garden announcement, the time was fast elapsing when he could reasonably develop a campaign from the ground up, in terms of building both a fundraising and grassroots political organization.

Because of his longstanding career in national politics, Biden wouldn’t have been starting a national campaign at political ground zero, but would have been uncomfortably close. The vice president already realized that he was likely past the point of no return to compete in Iowa and New Hampshire, thus leaving South Carolina as the state where he could make his first stand against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I/D-VT). This would have made generating any serious momentum very difficult when already two highly publicized voting events would be completed before a Biden campaign even realistically began.

Second, constructing an organization that could raise millions of dollars quickly in $2,700 maximum increments during such a short time frame would also have been an arduous task regardless of his current political position. Yes, Super PACs would have quickly formed to support him and could have bundled large sums in short order, but he would still need a sizable amount of funding to directly control. As we know, candidates and their staffs can have no say in how Super PAC money is spent.

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Biden: Not Quite Yet

Oct. 21, 2015 — Twitter has been chirping recently with “insider” tweets that Vice President Joe Biden had decided to enter the 2016 presidential campaign. The Washington Post even ran a draft article quoting unnamed sources denoted with a notation of “XXX” that Biden had made his final decision. It wasn’t long before the editors quickly withdrew the piece, claiming it had been inadvertently placed. Hours later it was determined that the VP is not yet launching his official presidential effort.

The decision is a tough one because Biden is clearly not in a position to simply announce for president and expect everyone to flock to him. In fact, he has several major obstacles to overcome to win the nomination and it is doubtful that he can.

First, all of the early national polling suggests his entrance in the race would only earn him support in the high teens to low 20s, slightly trailing Sen. Bernie Sanders (I/D-VT), and about 20-plus points behind front-runner Hillary Clinton.

The Monmouth University poll results, for example, released only Monday and fielded after the first Democratic presidential debate (Oct. 15-18; 1,012 adults, 340 self-identified Democrats or Democratic Party leaners), is typical of the numbers we see.

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