Tag Archives: South Carolina

Trump Bangs Independent Drum

Feb. 17, 2016 — Donald Trump is publicly accusing the Republican National Committee leadership of being “in default of their pledge.” Earlier in the cycle, Trump and the committee hierarchy agreed via signed document that no Independent candidacy would be launched should he fail to capture the GOP presidential nomination and, in return, the party leaders would not erect any artificial impediments or enact rules designed to gut his Republican candidacy.

Trump, the early GOP delegate leader, is crying foul over the audience loudly booing him several times during the CBS Republican presidential debate from South Carolina last Saturday night. The candidate claims the RNC gave all the live viewing tickets to “special interest lobbyists”, thereby stacking the audience in an effort to make him look bad.

Yesterday, Trump held a news conference and called upon the media to remember his comments pertaining to his view that the RNC is breaking the pledge. Trump was clearly putting the option of running as an Independent back on the table under the justification that RNC personnel had violated the agreement terms.

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Justice Scalia and the Presidential Election; Latest South Carolina Polls

Feb. 16, 2016 — The sudden death of Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia over the weekend will have a major effect upon the 2016 presidential elections. Both sides will now emphasize base issues such as abortion and 2nd Amendment rights in order to energize their respective constituencies. The heightened political atmosphere could lead to the largest electoral turnout in United States history.

Expect the Supreme Court vacancy to dominate the political coverage for the rest of the year. The high court situation not only changes the open presidential campaign, but it puts new importance upon the US Senate campaigns because the Scalia replacement confirmation battle could possibly be delayed to 2017. Since neither party will have close to the 60 seats needed to invoke cloture, we can expect this contentious situation to be unresolved for months.

South Carolina

Two new polls were released over the weekend, from the American Research Group (Feb. 12-13; 400 likely South Carolina Republican primary voters) and CBS/YouGov (Feb. 10-12; 744 likely South Carolina Republican primary voters). GOP voters cast their ballots in the party-run primary this coming Saturday, Feb. 20, while their Democratic Party counterparts will vote a week later on Feb. 27.

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The Changing Presidential Campaign

Feb. 12, 2016 — The presidential candidates are now exiting the race just as fast as they were entering about a year ago. In early to mid-2015, there were 17 Republican candidates and five Democrats, but after yesterday those numbers are now, respectively, seven and two.

Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) and businesswoman Carly Fiorina joined the cavalcade of Republican candidates abandoning their presidential quest, as both came to the realization through disappointing New Hampshire finishes that neither has a path to victory in the national contest. Since the Iowa Caucus ended, ex-Gov. Mike Huckabee, former Gov. Martin O’Malley (D-MD), ex-Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA), Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), Christie, and Fiorina have all left the race.

Breaking 10 percent of the New Hampshire vote was a must for Christie, because that is the minimum vote threshold required in the state’s delegate apportionment formula. Realistically, the New Jersey governor needed a John Kasich-type finish (second place) to jump-start his effort in order to seriously vie for the moderate and establishment sectors’ support. Virtually making New Hampshire a watershed state for his campaign, it was little surprise that Gov. Christie ended his national effort when he failed to achieve his stated Granite State goals.

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What New Hampshire Tells Us

Feb. 11, 2016 — The New Hampshire polling proved correct. Donald Trump and Sen. Bernie Sanders were the easy victors in their respective Republican and Democratic primaries Tuesday, but what does that tell us?

First, the Sanders’ victory, as impressive as it was (projected to finish at a 60-38 percent spread), will be short lived. Despite his large victory at the polls, Sanders still trails badly in committed delegate votes. According to the best available delegate projection calculations, Sanders won the New Hampshire delegate count by a 15-9 margin from the committed pool.

Combined with Iowa, Hillary Clinton trails among the regular delegate group, 36-32, but reportedly has another 362 committed Super Delegates as compared to Sanders committing only six of the at-large votes. Thus, the unofficial delegate count is 394-42 in favor of Clinton, but her support number is only 16.5 percent of the total that she needs to clinch the nomination.

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Cruz; A Tie; Rubio the Surprise

Feb. 3, 2016 — The Iowa Caucuses ended in a bit of a surprise. Despite the last 10 public Republican contest polls all finding Donald Trump leading the Iowa vote by anywhere from one to eight points, it was Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) who claimed first place last night with a 28 percent preference. Trump finished a close second with 24 percent, followed by Sen. Marco Rubio’s (R-FL) stronger than expected 23 percent.

It is the latter number that few saw coming. Sen. Rubio had been consistently scoring a third place finish in most polls, but a distant one. Of the final 10 Iowa polls from nine different pollsters, cumulatively conducted during the Jan. 18-31 period, only two — the Emerson College Polling Society and Opinion Savvy — forecast Rubio in as formidable a third position as actually occurred.

The Democratic side turned out equally interesting. In their much different system where voters’ choices translate into state delegates for each candidate, it is former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders ending in a virtual tie. According to the latest available number, the two split the delegate pool almost evenly, with Clinton leading by only three delegates from a pool exceeding 1,300.

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