Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Polling Summary Shows Race for GOP Nomination Becoming Three Way Contest

Expect big changes as the race heats up less than one month from Iowa Caucus!

I should really tell you to ignore everything in the post below. All this polling from 2015 is about to be eclipsed by more relevant numbers as we approach the first voting in Iowa on February 3rd.  Still, it's always a good idea to know where we came from before deciding where we will go next so here goes:

National GOP polling averages:
National polling average for GOP nomination. See details at Real Clear Politics (RCP).
Iowa GOP polling averages:

Iowa polling averages show Cruz momentum as clear favorite. Details at RCP.
New Hampshire polling averages:

New Hampshire polling averages. Details at RCP.
South Carolina polling averages:

South Carolina GOP polling averages. Note the paucity of polls in the average at RCP.
My Column for the local newspaper:
Are You Willing to Take the Trump Pledge?

First, an announcement: I am taking the Trump Pledge. If Donald Trump is the GOP nominee for President I pledge to support him wholeheartedly. That will be news to some as I frequently express skepticism about Trump’s candidacy and his lack of policy specifics. However, I have to admire him for refusing to be bound by the rules of political correctness that Democrats use to force GOP candidates to fight with one hand tied behind their back for fear of being called a sexist or bigot. If only other GOP candidates could learn from him. Are you listening Jeb?

Also, I admire how Trump has fired up so many new voters. That brings me to the other side of the Trump Pledge. In return for my supporting Trump as a nominee, those who support Trump are required to pledge that they will support the GOP nominee should it not be Trump. A one way pledge does not work. We all win this thing together despite our differences or we suffer Obama’s third term with all that entails. If you can’t pledge to support the eventual GOP nominee then don’t try and convince me to support your preferred candidate.

Reminder: If you have moved or are a new voter you must register to vote 30 days before the South Carolina primary on February 20. See the Beaufort County Board of Elections for information.

Now, a look at the race thus far. While Trump leads in national polling followed by Cruz, in Iowa, Cruz is ahead with Trump following. In New Hampshire Trump maintains a healthy lead overall with Rubio, Christie, Cruz and Kasich all bobbing along looking for some traction. In South Carolina, it’s Trump leading again followed by Cruz with Rubio and Carson further down. Visit my blog, Mike’s America for more detailed polling summaries.

With several debates finished we are starting to get a clearer indication of where the candidates stand on issues. Negative advertisements have also surfaced which may help to illuminate a candidate’s record if the ads are honest. The Rubio ad suggesting Cruz is soft on illegal immigration earns my prize for dishonest hutzpah. Coming as it does from Rubio who is on record proposing legislation to grant immediate legal status for undocumented aliens.

The recent CNN debate on foreign policy was a good way to size up the candidates and see if their views match those of the prospective voter. Rubio is established as the candidate who favors a more assertive U.S. foreign policy. Cruz, no shrinking violet in that regard, nevertheless is not as determined to pursue a policy of regime change in places like Syria. And Rand Paul continues to represent a more isolationist approach.

Trump is a little harder to nail down on foreign policy specifics but has in interviews expressed the desire to see our allies take the lead telling NBC’s Chuck Todd “I’ll be right behind them.” Some see a parallel to Obama’s failed “leading from behind” approach. Perhaps it’s no surprise that Trump was unofficially endorsed by Russia’s Vladimir Putin who would like nothing better than a continued American pullback from the world.

With all the focus on Republicans it’s easy to forget that Democrats have their own contest. But it’s mostly being conducted out of sight with debates on Saturday night when few are watching. It’s almost as if they don’t want us to get too close a look at the Dems lest we discover some unpleasantness. And while Democrat voters don’t seem to care about the mountain of evidence showing Hillary lied about her email, other voters may find Bill Clinton’s foray to the race somewhat ironic for Hillary who runs as the women’s candidate. Google Paula Jones, Kathleen Willey and Juanita Broaddrick if you don’t know what I am talking about.

Finally, it’s worth noting that we are still at the beginning of this process. Anything could happen and it’s important to note that conventional wisdom has been wrong about this race from the beginning. Those who are honest about it will admit we don’t really know what will happen next. So, let’s drop the pretense that we must do a,b or c to win and just enjoy the ride!

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