Tag Archives: South Carolina

South Carolina Polling Flawed

Dec. 22, 2015 — South Carolina is an important early primary state and may have an even greater role than usual in setting the tone for the 2016 Republican race. Two December polls surveyed the Palmetto State Republican electorate, but the data snapshot does not provide us with a true indication of delegate apportionment and this latter point, from a nationwide perspective, is determinative regarding who wins the GOP presidential nomination.

With current polling suggesting that Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) may place first in the Iowa Caucus and Donald Trump well positioned to top the field in the New Hampshire primary, scoring a big delegate haul in South Carolina will give one of the candidates a clear momentum boost heading into the eleven-state Super Tuesday contests scheduled for March 1.

It’s the South Carolina delegate apportionment system that renders the latest state polls inconclusive. Under Republican Party rules, the state uses a Winner-Take-All by congressional district option, and then awards a large chunk of the at-large delegates to the statewide winner. The polling misses a key point because it does not segment the responses into the state’s seven congressional districts. This is largely because the individual district sample sizes would be too small to produce reliable results.

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Calculation Politics

Dec. 11, 2015 — A just-released New Hampshire poll gives us meaningful insight into delegate projections and the small size of each candidate’s support basis by the time February concludes. Though the first four voting entities — Iowa caucus (Feb. 1), New Hampshire primary (Feb. 9), South Carolina primary (Feb. 20), and Nevada caucus (Feb. 23) — will be portrayed as trendsetters, in terms of delegate calculation these states will likely have reduced influence upon the 2016 election cycle’s direction.

Early this month, CNN and WMUR television sponsored a University of New Hampshire poll of Granite State voters (Nov. 30-Dec. 7; 954 registered New Hampshire voters; 402 likely New Hampshire Republican primary voters, 370 likely New Hampshire Democratic primary voters), the results of which were released yesterday. On a cautionary note, UNH has not proven itself as a particularly strong pollster, often producing wild results inconsistent with other similar surveys. The liberal Daily Kos Elections organization, for example, rates them as one of the least reliable pollsters on the political scene irrespective of partisanship.

For purposes of our delegate calculation exercise, however, the survey’s accuracy is not particularly relevant. The Republican delegate calculation formula is of prime importance, the actual determining factor about who will win the party’s presidential nomination. Therefore, in order to process New Hampshire’s delegate apportionment we will consider this poll the benchmark.

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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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Hillary’s Rebounding Numbers

Oct. 14, 2015 — Several new polls were released at the beginning of this week displaying national and individual state Democratic primary results. All find former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton improving her position within the party nomination framework. Conversely, the cumulative data’s biggest surprise is Vice President Joe Biden’s relatively poor standing.

Biden’s deficit may be large enough to possibly preclude his entrance into the race. With him trailing even Sen. Bernie Sanders (I/D-VT) in more places than not, according to this recent wave of publicly released polling, it seems the late-starting Biden would have a difficult time eclipsing Clinton if he were to officially launch his candidacy.

The new national CBS/New York Times poll (Oct. 4-8; 1,251 adults; 1,038 registered voters, 343 Democratic primary voters) finds Clinton leading Sen. Sanders and the vice president 46-27-16 percent, respectively. Clinton still falling below the 50 percent mark notwithstanding, Sanders dropping under 30 percent and Biden failing to even reach 20 percent is a clear indication of her relative strength.

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Sanders, Trump Gaining Strength

Sept. 16, 2015 — Two new major media polls were released yesterday that show Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders opening up a lead in Iowa as well as New Hampshire, while Donald Trump is expanding his Republican advantage virtually everywhere.

The ABC News/Washington Post national survey (Sept. 7-10; 1,003 adults; 821 registered voters; 356 registered or leaning Democrats; 342 registered or leaning Republicans in combined telephone and online contact) finds former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton leading Sen. Sanders and Vice President Joe Biden 42-24-21 percent, respectively. These numbers confirm almost to the digit the figures Monmouth University reported last week in their national survey.

The most troubling finding for Clinton in this study is her declining support among women. Compared to the July ABC/Washington Post poll, her allegiance among females has fallen 29 percentage points.

For the Republicans, again similar to the Monmouth findings in the previous week, Trump leads Dr. Ben Carson 33-20 percent, with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush in third place with a small eight percent preference. Again, the three Republicans who have never held an elective office, Trump, Carson, and former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, together command 55 percent of the Republican electorate.

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