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.
Jan. 26, 2016 — For the third time, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is considering a potential Independent run for president.
The New York Times is reporting that Bloomberg has hired a team of political consultants to begin examining his ability to qualify for the ballot as an Independent candidate in all 50 states. Doing so is no easy feat –- the major parties constructed and passed laws at the state level that effectively limit easy ballot qualification to the Democrats and Republicans -– and the Times reports the advisors are telling Bloomberg that he would have to launch his effort no later than March if he is to have any chance of attaining national ballot placement.
The same reports suggest that Bloomberg would be willing to spend as much as $1 billion of his personal fortune – his personal wealth is estimated to be in the $41 billion range – on a national campaign. But, can even a well-funded Independent have any chance of winning the presidency? Probably not.
We turn back to 1992, the last time an Independent attracted any significant vote. Then, businessman Ross Perot, running on the Reform Party ticket, captured 19 percent of the popular vote nationally, the best third party candidate showing since Teddy Roosevelt tallied 27 percent as the Progressive Party nominee in 1912.
As expected, public advocate Bill de Blasio finished first in his bid for the Democrat mayoral nomination last night and continues to hover around the 40 percent mark. Under New York City election law, a candidate must reach the 40 percent plateau or a run-off between the top two finishers occurs at a later date – Oct. 1, in this case. Former NYC Comptroller Bill Thompson is second with 26 percent. The campaign’s original leader, City Council President Christine Quinn, finished a distant third with only 16 percent of the vote. Disgraced former Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY-9) actually dropped to fifth position, capturing a mere 5 percent of his party’s vote.
Despite a turnout approaching 10 times less than the Democratic participation number, former NY Metropolitan Transit Authority chairman Joe Lhota won the Republican nomination outright, capturing 53 percent of the vote. Supermarket magnate John Catsamitidis was second with 41 percent. Doe Foundation founder George McDonald finished way back attracting just 7 percent support.
It might take several days to determine if de Blasio actually reached 40 percent, allowing for uncounted precinct, absentee and provisional ballots. Should he fall short, it will literally be by only a handful of votes, so it will be interesting to see if Thompson pushes for the run-off, or concedes the nomination. Late polls gave the first place finisher double-digit leads over the former New York comptroller, but things can certainly change in a new election between just two candidates. More likely than not, however, de Blasio will claim his party’s nomination whether it be this week or on Oct. 1. He then will face Lhota in the Nov. 5 general election.
Though the Republicans are badly outnumbered in terms of voter registration, they have kept the Democrats from winning the mayor’s office for the past 20 consecutive years. Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani served two terms beginning in 1993, and current incumbent Michael Bloomberg has held the office since 2001. The latter man was originally elected as a Republican, but later switched to Independent status. De Blasio will be favored in the general election, but expect Lhota to be competitive, especially with a public financing system that ensures he will have more than $6 million to spend on the campaign. Continue reading >
Harper Polling surveyed the field in Iowa, and found that early suppositions pertaining to next year’s open Senate race may already be proving true. Many believe, that on the Republican side, Rep. Steve King (R-IA-4) has an advantage for the nomination but Rep. Tom Latham (R-IA-3) is a better general election candidate. The Harper numbers show such a conclusion.
According to their Jan. 29 poll of 523 registered Iowa voters, Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA-1) leads King 39-33 percent, but trails Latham 33-36 percent. In the statewide Republican primary, though understanding that the sample size is a very low 200 registered Republicans, King has a 46-29 percent advantage over Latham if the two were to face each other in a stand-alone battle.
Adding two other potential Republican candidates, former gubernatorial contender Bob Vander Plaats and state senator and former congressional candidate Brad Zaun, King also places first. He would lead this field 35-22-20-3 percent over Latham, Continue reading >
Outgoing Senator and former Gov. Evan Bayh (D-IN) announced that he will not run for his old job when it comes open in 2012 because of family considerations. Bayh bid the Senate farewell right before the candidate filing deadline early this year, expressing discontent with the Senate and Congress in general. Until this weekend, however, he had not ruled out again running for Governor. Bayh served as Indiana’s chief executive from 1991-1999 before winning the Senate seat. Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels is ineligible to seek re-election in 2012, as he is midway through his second consecutive term in office.
When the senator announced his retirement, he had more than $13 million in his campaign account. He only contributed about $1 million of that back to the Democratic Party to assist in the failed attempt at electing his would-be successor, Rep. Brad Ellsworth (D-IN-8). Former Sen. Dan Coats (R) easily converted the open seat back to the Republican column, winning a 55-40% landslide victory. Deducting other expenses, Bayh still controls $10.2 million in campaign monies.
There also has been speculation that he might take a shot at the White House, with some going so far as to suggest that challenging President Obama in the Democratic primaries next year was a possibility for Mr. Bayh. Though the president is under fire from the left wing of his political base, Bayh is unlikely to be the favorite of those who think Obama has abandoned his liberal principles.
Throughout his career as governor and senator, Bayh consciously positioned himself closer to the center of the Democratic conference. Thus, he has a narrow path from which to run for President in 2012. The political set-up and timing is simply not right for him at this point in time, so few expect him to run. After Mr. Obama leaves office in 2016, assuming he’s re-elected, the political climate will probably look much different, which might create a better opportunity for a Bayh presidential effort.
In other presidential news from the weekend, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he will not be a candidate for national office next year. His “no way, no how” response when asked if he was moving toward running appears to shut the door on any Bloomberg for President effort.