John Bolton

John Bolton

Thursday, December 10, 2015

GOP Presidential Polling: Is Cruz About to Shake Up the Race?

Plus, my column for the local newspaper!

Here's the latest average of national polls in the GOP 2016 presidential contest. Visit Real Clear Politics for the details on this polling average:

Polling averages for Iowa:

Polling averages for New Hampshire:

Polling averages for South Carolina:

What's clear across the board is the decline of Carson with his former supporters either going to Trump or to Cruz and Rubio. Bush remains flat.

Here's my December 10th column for my local newspaper:
Is Ted Cruz About to Shake Up GOP Race?

Earlier this fall I noticed something odd. Suddenly, mainstream news organizations began publishing positive articles about Ted Cruz suggesting he is a GOP presidential contender to watch. At the time, he was back in the pack of national and early state polls. But in the last few weeks a change has taken place.

In the wake of the Paris and Mali terror attacks Katie Glueck, writing for Politico described how strong conservative voters she interviewed in Iowa were shifting their allegiance from Dr. Ben Carson to Ted Cruz largely because they felt Cruz had a better grasp on national security issues. In the wake of the California massacre that trend may continue.

And it’s not just former Iowa frontrunner Carson that is taking a hit. Recent Iowa polling shows Trump leading some and Cruz others. (I’ve posted summaries of national and early state polling at my blog Mike’s America.)

Cruz won his seat in the U.S. Senate after a surprising come from behind win in Texas. He may be implementing that plan once again. And we certainly should not overlook the fact that his campaign has more cash on hand ready to spend than any other candidate but Trump.

Cruz also has the advantage in that he is despised by the GOP establishment in Washington. That’s a winner with many GOP voters.

If Cruz were to win the Iowa Caucus on February 1 he would certainly shake up the race. But he’s vying with Sen. Marco Rubio for a distant second place in New Hampshire where Trump leads. In South Carolina Trump leads with a solid second by Carson followed by Cruz and Rubio ten points below. However, South Carolina polls could change quickly after results from the first two states. I’m not going out on a limb when I say Cruz is the man to watch for now.

Rubio is paired with Cruz in national, New Hampshire and South Carolina positive polling trends. Both are strong on national defense and Rubio has a Reaganesque message and personal story about American exceptionalism that is quite compelling. But Rubio still carries baggage from his ill fated involvement in comprehensive immigration legislation that would have granted immediate "registered provisional" status (others call it amnesty) to millions of illegal aliens with border security to come later. Maybe.

Rubio is also backed by billionaire fund manager Paul Singer who supports lax immigration policies as well as other liberal causes. It raises the question whether Rubio could really walk away from his past immigration mistake and be his own man. He’s yet to answer that question in a GOP debate. Perhaps an enterprising reader will do so when Rubio visits the Lowcountry next.

This month’s honorable mention goes out to former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. He’s trying hard but so far it’s not working; at least not yet. He’s above the lower tier of the pack but not by much nationally and in state polling. If you have watched television recently you’ve seen the ads from his political action committee and perhaps received the same mailings that I have. His super PAC has more money than any other GOP candidate. Money talks but will it save Jeb?

Finally, I haven’t mentioned the elephant in the room, or should I say the donkey in the corner. I’m talking about the Democrats. Compared to the GOP contest there isn’t much excitement surrounding their race. Hillary still comes with loads of baggage that may be too much even for some Democrats but does anyone seriously think Bernie Sanders stands a chance of defeating her?

The ethical clouds that follow Hillary Clinton like dust follows Pigpen in the Charlie Brown cartoons won’t lift anytime soon. Worse still is her attachment to the toxic and failed Obama foreign policy that has allowed the spread of this terrorist ISIS cancer. Recent state elections continue to show that even the slightest connection between Democrat candidates and Obama can be fatal. Try as she might, can Hillary Clinton really pretend she wasn’t there during the first four years of Obama’s term that put us on the sorry road to where we find ourselves today?

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