April 9, 2015 — Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), as expected, officially announced his 2016 presidential campaign in front of a raucous crowd of supporters in Louisville earlier this week. He also confirmed that he intends to seek re-election to the Senate.
The latter may be a difficult feat, since Kentucky law prohibits individuals from appearing for more than one office on the same ballot. If the state Republicans changed their nominating system from a primary to a caucus, Paul could get around that requirement, but the result would become problematic for the Kentucky GOP, ironically, if Sen. Paul were to win the party presidential nomination. Kentucky election law contains no provision for replacing a party nominee who prematurely withdraws from a race.
But Sen. Paul’s presidential prospects are what’s at top of mind during this period, and opinions vary as to whether he has a legitimate chance of winning the nomination and the presidency itself. Continue reading >
April 3, 2015 — Public Policy Polling conducted an intriguing new national survey of GOP voters (March 26-31; 443 national Republican primary voters), but the tiny respondent sample size casts a reliability question concerning the results.
Though the pollster cites a large polling error factor of 4.7 percent, such a small sample –- a national poll should be in the 1,000 respondent range -– usually yields an even greater unreliability factor.
Understanding such, the PPP results are still interesting; it shows the Republican presidential candidates closely bunched with five reaching double-digits, which suggests a free-for-all campaign. Should similar results be confirmed and continue through the early stages of primary and caucus voting next year, the preliminary states will produce no discernible pattern or consensus front runner. If so, the chance of moving to an open, or “brokered”, convention multiplies exponentially. Continue reading >
April 2, 2015 — Gravis Marketing is the first to test the Nevada electorate since Sen. Harry Reid (D) announced his retirement, but their flash poll results are difficult to follow. The methodology appears to substantially over-sample Republicans, yet the Democrats inconsistently fare much better on the ballot test questions.
On March 27, Gravis utilized the Interactive Voice Response system to question 850 registered Nevada voters. Within this universe, 443 respondents are self-identified Republicans compared with 319 Democrats; 88 individuals did not state a party preference.
In Nevada, however, registered Democrats outnumber Republicans, thus making this sampling universe almost the exact opposite of reality. According to the 2015 state voter registration statistics as reported by the Secretary of State, 40.2 percent of the registrants are Democrats, 33.4 percent are Republicans, and 26.4 percent are Independent or affiliated in some other fashion. The survey universe features 52.1 percent who self-identify as Republicans, 37.5 percent Democrats, and just 10.3 percent Independent/Other. Continue reading >
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) announced the formation of a presidential committee yesterday, and the timing of his move suggests he is preparing for an involved constitutional legal battle. He is the first person to officially declare his national candidacy in either party.
The senator’s campaign will likely endure many legal battles in order to obtain ballot access, since questions surround his eligibility to run for president.
Article II, Section I of the Constitution says the following:
“No person except a natural-born citizen, or a citizen of the United States, at the time of the adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the office of President; neither shall any person be eligible to the office who shall not have attained to the age of thirty-five years, and been fourteen years a resident within the United States.” Continue reading >
Journalist Charles Dudley Warner’s famous quote that “politics makes strange bedfellows” found yet another new example during the past few days.
A new Harvard Law Review article authored by two former US solicitor generals, one who served Pres. George W. Bush and the other in an acting capacity for President Obama, provides surprising support to conservative Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) argument that he is eligible to seek the presidency.
The senator is in a unique situation. He must overcome an obstacle that no other candidate need be concerned with merely to obtain ballot access. Born in Canada to an American mother and a Cuban father, there is an argument that Sen. Cruz does not fulfill the constitutional requirement for individuals running for president, that of being a “natural born citizen.”
Neal Katyal, who served briefly as acting US Solicitor General after Elena Kagan resigned to become a Justice of the Supreme Court, and Paul Clement, who President George W. Bush appointed to the position, co-authored their article entitled, “On the Meaning of Natural Born Citizen” for the Harvard Law Review. Their piece directly discusses the Cruz situation and provides ample legal argument to suggest that the Senator does fulfill the basic legal requirements to become a presidential candidate. Continue reading >
FEB. 25 — The University of Texas and the Texas Tribune news publication teamed to release a poll of potential Republican 2016 primary voters (YouGov; Feb. 6-15; 1,200 Texas adults; 547 sampled-matched Republican primary voters) and found home state Sen. Ted Cruz and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker leading the pack by a relatively substantial margin.
Falling back into single digits were former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Texas’ longest-serving governor, Rick Perry. Thus, we see one more political survey attesting to Gov. Walker’s strength and ex-Gov. Bush’s early weakness.
The UT/Tribune polls have previously not been particularly reliable, but in this instance they teamed up with the international survey research company, YouGov, which has generally produced credible results around the world. This poll, however, appears to have its flaws. Continue reading >
FEB. 12, 2015 — A new poll provides us an early clue about how spoiler candidates could force the Republican nomination into an open convention.
TargetPoint Consulting (Jan. 30-Feb. 3; 400 SC Republican primary voters) finds Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker leading the GOP pack of candidates in a preliminary poll, finishing one point ahead of Sen. Lindsey Graham (R) in their new survey of South Carolina Republican primary voters. Both just barely top the double-digit mark (Walker 12 percent; Graham 11 percent), but still fare better than the other candidates including ex-Gov. Mike Huckabee (10 percent), who finished second in the 2008 South Carolina primary, and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (9 percent).
Though the difference among the candidates is negligible, the fact that Bush cannot break away from single-digits is significant. A recent Iowa poll (Selzer & Company for the Des Moines Register) also projected Gov. Walker leading with Bush similarly mired in the middle of the pack. These poll results provide further evidence that the Republican nomination battle is wide open.
Sen. Graham has been publicly toying with the idea of entering the presidential race and promises a decision by the middle of this year. Aside from this poll of his home state electorate, he hasn’t even registered in surveys conducted in other states. Still, it is regional, or favorite-son candidates like he, who could play a major role in determining who ultimately does win the nomination. Continue reading >