Tentative Primary and Caucus Schedule
  March 1 (Super Tues)
  March 2-14
L blue   March 15-31
Delegates needed for nomination:
GOP: 1237,   Dem: 2242
Map explained
New polls:  
Dem pickups:  
GOP pickups:  

News from the Votemaster

TODAY'S HEADLINES (click to jump there; use your browser's "Back" button to return here)
      •  Trump Has Massive Lead in New Poll
      •  Is Trump's Lead Deceiving?
      •  A Jeb Bush Premortem
      •  Clinton's Favorability Is Up Compared to Sanders
      •  Economy Added 211,000 Jobs in November
      •  Miami Healthcare Magnate Will Run Anti-Trump Campaign
      •  Anti-Trump Protestors Are Getting Louder

Trump Has Massive Lead in New Poll

Those people (including us) who are waiting for Donald Trump to implode will have to wait a bit longer. A new CNN/ORC poll released yesterday puts The Donald on top again, with a massive 20-point lead over #2, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX). No GOP candidate, not even Trump, has held this big a lead at any time this year. The table below gives the results of the new poll, with the change column reflecting what has happened since the previous CNN/ORC poll, conducted Oct. 14-17.

Rank Candidate Pct Change
1 Donald Trump 36% +9%
2 Ted Cruz 16% +12%
3 Ben Carson 14% -8%
4 Marco Rubio 12% +4%
5 Chris Christie 4% +0%
6 Jeb Bush 3% -5%
6 Carly Fiorina 3% -1%
8 Mike Huckabee 2% -3%
8 John Kasich 2% -1%
10 Rand Paul 1% -4%
  Lindsey Graham <1%  
  George Pataki <1%  
  Rick Santorum <1%  
  Jim Gilmore <1%  

Republican leaders are just going to freak out when they absorb these numbers. They are quite capable of envisioning the ads Hillary Clinton's team is probably already preparing. In these ads, Trump will be on screen most of the time just ranting about Mexicans, women, the handicapped, and a lot more. She won't even have to appear in the ads at all, except at the very end to announce that boy oh boy does she approve of the contents of the ad. (V)

Is Trump's Lead Deceiving?

Certainly, the vast majority of the commentariat (including us) thinks so. In an op-ed for the New York Times, David Brooks argues that most voters have not actually chosen their candidate, and that it will be a couple of months before they start to get serious. He uses a pink rug as a metaphor—the pink rug may be the one that catches your eye in the store, but when it comes down to making a purchase, you're going to buy the less showy blue rug that actually fits in with the decor of your house. Brooks also makes a statistical case that voter preference remains pretty fungible until a week or so before they have to actually cast a vote.

Steven Shepard agrees with Brooks, though his argument focuses on the challenges in trying to poll the 2016 race. The difficulty of getting a proper sample in a world full of cell phones and young people who won't respond is a problem, and that problem becomes more pronounced when dealing with an extremely unorthodox candidate like Trump. For example, he may draw people who do not usually vote to the polls so that they can vote for him. Or, he might draw people who do not usually vote to the polls so they can vote against him. Nobody knows, including the pollsters.

Perhaps the most important point, however, is the one raised in CNN's analysis of their own poll. They observe that as strong as his lead is, it is still the case that the vast majority of Republican voters prefer someone else. Undoubtedly they all know who Trump is, and what he stands for, and they are not currently buying. If they coalesce behind whoever becomes the Trump alternative, which they very well could, then The Donald will be in trouble. (Z)

A Jeb Bush Premortem

Jeb's not dead yet. Like Monty Python's medieval peasant, he even claims to be getting better. Still, Nia-Malika Henderson and Ashley Killough's dissection of the fundamental problems with his campaign is pretty compelling. Their main points:

  • He has no message that is distinct from the other candidates
  • His major accomplishments were a decade ago
  • His brother's record is a millstone around his neck
  • He's rather tone deaf, and makes unforced errors as a result
  • His attacks, particularly those on Donald Trump, aren't landing
  • All that Super PAC money just buys advertising but ads don't work well any more (as this NPR piece observes)

Nobody's counting Bush out quite yet; it's hard to believe that someone with so many advantages can't at least survive the first few rounds of winnowing. But when and if the end does come, CNN can likely just repurpose this piece without very much editing. (Z)

Clinton's Favorability Is Up Compared to Sanders

A new Gallup poll released yesterday puts Hillary Clinton's favorability/unfavorability at 76%/18% among Democrats for a net +58%. For Sen. Bernie Sanders, the numbers are 51%/14% for a net +37%. Over the past month, Clinton's net favorability has increased from +51% to +58%. She gained among men, women, and all age groups. (V)

Economy Added 211,000 Jobs in November

While all the talk about terrorism is well and good, usually it is the state of the economy that is the biggest factor in elections. If jobs are plentiful and inflation is low, the voters don't usually see much of a reason to "throw the bums out." So yesterday's report that the economy added 211,000 jobs in November along with an upward revision of 35,000 jobs for September and October, is good news for the Democrats. The unemployment rate held steady at 5.0%. Average hourly wages are also up, by an amount of 2.3% since a year ago. All in all, if the economy keeps humming along like this for another year, the Democrats are going to have a powerful weapon at their disposal next November.

What is also important is the job growth is broad. Health care added 24,000 jobs, retail added 31,000, business services added 27,000, and leisure and hospitality added 39,000. The best sector, however, was construction, with 46,000 new jobs. Nevertheless, there was also a bit of bad news. Mining lost 11,000 jobs and manufacturing shed 1,000. During the Obama administration, a total of 13.7 million jobs have been added. (V)

Miami Healthcare Magnate Will Run Anti-Trump Campaign

While most of the Republican candidates are scared to take on Donald Trump, Florida health care magnate Mike Fernandez is not and is starting to run newspaper ads calling Trump a "narcissistic BULLYionaire." The ads compare Trump to Hitler, Mussolini, and Peron. The ads will run in Miami, Des Moines, and Las Vegas. (V)

Anti-Trump Protestors Are Getting Louder

Donald Trump appeared at a rally on Friday and was, depending on who's counting, interrupted between five and ten times by protesters, many of them wearing "Black Lives Matter" shirts. Eventually, the Donald grew so frustrated that he cut the event short.

Generally speaking, photos and videos of a candidate being shouted down by protesters are not a good look. Indeed, Trump himself referenced such footage in taking a swipe at Bernie Sanders' fitness for the presidency just a couple of months ago. More important, however, is that the protests remind us that Trump has a problem with black voters. Coupled with his problems among Latino voters, and Asian voters, and Muslim voters, it makes it all-but-impossible for Trump—even if he lands the GOP nomination—to win the presidency. There may be a lot of angry white voters out there, but there aren't enough to win a national election. (Z)

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---The Votemaster
Dec04 Could Trump Run as an Independent?
Dec04 Trump Addresses Jewish Republicans and Gets Mixed Reaction
Dec04 New Information Turns Up on Rubio's Personal Finances
Dec04 Thursday Saw Lots of Posturing on the Hill
Dec04 Trump Will Debate After All
Dec04 Karl Rove is Worried about the Senate
Dec04 Where We Stand on Gerrymandering
Dec03 Poll: Trump, Rubio, and Cruz Rising, Carson Falling
Dec03 Another Day, Another Mass Shooting
Dec03 Secret Memo Advises Republicans How to Behave if Trump is the Nominee
Dec03 TV Ad Spending Is Not Delivering Results
Dec03 Everybody Hates Ted Cruz
Dec03 Cruz' Assertion about Violent Criminals Doesn't Hold Up
Dec03 Alan Grayson's Key Staff Members Quit
Dec03 Our December Ranking of the Republican Candidates
Dec02 Cruz Says Rubio is Like Hillary Clinton
Dec02 Marco Rubio Starts Retail Campaigning
Dec02 New Jersey Newspaper Dissents from the Union Leader's Opinion
Dec02 All the Female Democratic Senators Have Endorsed Clinton, Except One
Dec02 Clinton Campaign Misfires with Rosa Parks Logo
Dec02 Bush on His VP: She Will Be a Great Partner
Dec02 The Politics of Climate Science
Dec02 Zuckerberg Organization To Take Aim at Trump
Dec01 The Idea of Cruz as Their Nominee Scares Republican Senators
Dec01 Cruz Says Most Violent Criminals are Democrats
Dec01 GOP Candidates Continue to Chip Away at Trump
Dec01 Trump wants $5M to Debate
Dec01 How Many Trump Supporters Are There, Actually?
Dec01 Kevin McCarthy: No Government Shutdown over Planned Parenthood
Dec01 Hillary Rodham Clinton is Now Hillary Clinton
Dec01 State Department Releases More of Hillary's Damn Emails
Nov30 Republican Field Reacts to Planned Parenthood Shootings
Nov30 Trump Campaign Showing Some Signs of Weakness
Nov30 New Hampshire Union Leader Endorses Christie
Nov30 Trump Scores Much Better in Online Polls than in Live-interviewer Polls
Nov30 Cruz and Rubio Plan to Divvy Up Jewish Bush Supporters
Nov30 Fewer White Voters Expected in Swing States
Nov30 Republicans May End Up with a Three-Way Race
Nov30 Clinton Releases Infrastructure Plans
Nov29 GOP Candidates: No Comment on Planned Parenthood Shootings
Nov29 Karl Rove Helps Ben Carson
Nov29 Carson Visits Refugee Camp in Jordan
Nov29 Carson A Product of...ObamaCare?
Nov29 Rubio Releases His First TV Ad
Nov29 Ballot Access May Separate the Sheep from the Goats
Nov29 Cruz Makes Campaigning a Family Affair
Nov29 Cruz' Shaky Electoral Math
Nov28 Trump Drops in New Poll
Nov28 DAPA Could Affect over a Million Voters
Nov28 Sanders Has More Women Donors Than Clinton