Tentative Primary and Caucus Schedule
  March 1 (Super Tues)
  March 2-14
L blue   March 15-31
Delegates needed for nomination:
GOP: 1236,   Dem: 2242
Map explained
New polls:  
Dem pickups:  
GOP pickups:  

News from the Votemaster

Trump Is Ahead in the First Three States

A new CBS tracking poll shows Donald Trump in first place in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina. The top five Republican candidates in each of these states are as follows.

Iowa caucuses
Rank Candidate Pct
1 Donald Trump 29%
2 Ben Carson 25%
3 Ted Cruz 10%
4 Marco Rubio 6%
5 Scott Walker 5%
New Hampshire Primary
Rank Candidate Pct
1 Donald Trump 40%
2 Ben Carson 12%
3 John Kasich 9%
4 Carly Fiorina 8%
5 Rand Paul 6%
South Carolina Primary
Rank Candidate Pct
1 Donald Trump 36%
2 Ben Carson 21%
3 Ted Cruz 6%
4 Jeb Bush 5%
5 Lindsey Graham 5%

It can't be emphasized enough that this is how things would go if the caucuses and primaries were last week. But they are not. They are in February 2016. Candidates will drop out between now and then, there will be more debates, and although we know about the known unknowns, we don't know about the unknown unknowns.

Sanders Leads in Two of the Early States

The CBS poll also looked at the Democratic race in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) leads in the first two but trails badly in South Carolina. This could be Hillary Clinton's firewall.

Iowa caucuses
Rank Candidate Pct
1 Bernie Sanders 43%
2 Hillary Clinton 33%
3 Joe Biden 10%
4 Martin O'Malley 5%
5 Lincoln Chafee 1%
5 Jim Webb 1%
New Hampshire Primary
Rank Candidate Pct
1 Bernie Sanders 52%
2 Hillary Clinton 30%
3 Joe Biden 9%
4 Martin O'Malley 1%
5 Jim Webb 0%
5 Lincoln Chafee 0%
South Carolina Primary
Rank Candidate Pct
1 Hillary Clinton 45%
2 Bernie Sanders 23%
3 Joe Biden 22%
4 Jim Webb 1%
5 Lincoln Chafee 0%
5 Martin O'Malley 0%

Same caveat as above. It ain't over until the fat lady sings and she hasn't even fired up the Uber app to get a ride to the theater.

Bernie Sanders' Southern Problem

An August Gallup poll found that Hillary Clinton's popularity with blacks was 80% while that of Bernie Sanders was 23%. This is reflected in the South Carolina poll above, a state where 55% of the Democratic electorate is black. New York Times columnist Charles Blow (who is black) wrote a column about Sanders pointing this out. Sanders has spoken at a number of historically black colleges, mostly about inequality and other economic issues that affect blacks strongly, but he gets relatively little attention for it. Nevertheless, he will keep trying as winning minorities is the key for him to become a real threat to Hillary Clinton.

This year the calendar works in Clinton's favor. If Sanders wins Iowa, which the CBS poll says he will, there will be a lot of suspense leading up to the Feb. 9 New Hampshire primary, just as there was in 2008 after Barack Obama beat Clinton in Iowa. In 2008, the average of 22 post-Iowa New Hampshire polls on election morning showed that Obama was going to crush Clinton in New Hampshire. We wrote: "Barring something very unexpected, Barack Obama is heading towards a huge win ..." So did everybody else. Oops. She won. Nearly every poll was wrong. This time that probably won't happen to Sanders because he is a favorite neighbor from Vermont.

If Sanders wins Iowa and New Hampshire, count on seeing these headlines from Feb. 10 to Feb. 19.:

  • Can Sanders Be Stopped?
  • Is Hillary's goose cooked
  • President Sanders?
  • Sorry establishment, it's Sanders vs. Trump
  • Hillary Clinton's historic collapse
  • Nice try Hill but Bill was smarter: he doesn't use email at all

Then the calendar cuts in. On Feb. 20, the Democrats caucus in Nevada (and the Republicans have a primary in South Carolina). Clinton might well win Nevada due to her popularity with Latinos. Now the suspense builds. A week later, on Saturday, Feb. 27 the Democratic primary in South Carolina will be held, and by all indications Clinton will win it. At that point the score is 2-2. Three days later is Super Tuesday, when 7 or 8 Southern states, all with large black populations vote. Clinton could easily sweep them all (although Sanders could win Colorado, Minnesota, and Vermont that day). At that point Clinton would have more states and more delegates and would be the favorite. Of course, this could be all wet, but at the moment, it seems the most likely scenario (absent Biden).

Poll Shows Clinton Beating Trump by Just 3 Points

A new WaPo/ABC News poll has Hillary Clinton at 46% and Donald Trump at 43% nationally. Don't you believe it. That might be the case right now, but it won't be in 6 months or a year. Clinton has been in the public eye for over 20 years and her every misstep has been thoroughly aired in the news. Her email server is the most famous email server in the history of the world, even more famous than all of Google's thousands of email servers combined. It is unlikely she has many more skeletons nestled among the pantsuits in her closet.

In contrast, Trump has never really been vetted in public and should he somehow miraculously win (or threaten to win) the Republican nomination, all his dirty laundry will be displayed in public in great detail. He has been divorced twice. Might his ex wives be willing to say a few things about him on camera? He has gone bankrupt four times. Might the people whose loans he defaulted on have something to say about his business practices? He owns casinos in Atlantic City, NJ. By any chance has he done business with the Mafia, which runs the place? He has hired nonunion workers on construction projects in very-union New York City. Why was he never picketed? He doesn't seem to like women much. How's that going to play out with female voters if he finds himself running against one?

No doubt both the Democratic and Republican oppo research teams are starting to sniff around and there most likely are quite a few items that Trump would prefer to keep hidden.

If you want to start your own oppo research project on him, here is a excellent place to start. The Republicans will probably go first since they want him out of their primary. The Democrats will just quietly collect material in the event he somehow becomes the GOP nominee.

Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump Are Not Mirror Images of Each Other

While Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump are both insurgents and have a number of things in common, they also differ in some key ways. Nate Silver wrote a nice piece discussing some of the differences. Very briefly, they are:

  • Trump is leading his party nationally; Sanders is not
  • Sanders is campaigning on policy; Trump is running on his personality
  • Sanders is a career politician with 25 years in Congress; Trump has never run for office before
  • Trump gets far more media attention than Sanders
  • Sanders is de facto a generic liberal Democrat; Trump is all over the map
  • Sanders supporters are easy to define: white liberals; Trump's supporters come from many demographics
  • Sanders is like Gene McCarthy, Paul Tsongas, Bill Bradley, Howard Dean and others; Trump is unique
  • Sanders has one opponent; Trump has about half a dozen serious opponents
  • The Democrats would grudgingly accept Sanders as their nominee; The GOP will never accept Trump

Exhibit "A" of why the Republican establishment will never support Trump is his comment yesterday that the high salaries paid to CEOs were a "joke" and a "disgrace." No, that is not a typo. Trump said that, not Sanders (well, maybe Sanders said it as well, but not on Face the Nation yesterday). If Sanders won the presidency, he would try to carry out the Democrats' platform. If Trump won the White House he would do things the Republicans hate. This is why Trump is much less acceptable to the Republicans than Sanders is to the Democrats.

Congressional Democrats Divided over a Biden Run

In the wake of his son's death from brain cancer, Vice President Biden still hasn't made up his mind whether to run for President or not. Neither have his Democratic colleagues in Congress. Some Clinton backers want him in to enliven the race and give the Democrats equal time with The Donald Trump Show. The Biden fans see him as fairly close to Bernie Sanders ideologically, but much more electable. Others think he might not be emotionally ready for the race or simply that at his age (he'll be 73 in November) he's too old. For the record, Hillary Clinton will be 68 in October, Bernie Sanders was 74 last week, Donald Trump was 69 in June, and Jeb Bush was 62 in February.

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---The Votemaster
Sep12 Perry Drops Out
Sep12 Walker Drops to 10th Place in Iowa
Sep12 Number of Democratic Debates Will Not Change
Sep12 Sanders' Challenge in South Carolina
Sep12 Romney's Team Wants to Stop Trump
Sep12 Hillary Clinton's Email Problem Explained
Sep11 Has Donald Trump Exposed a Fault Line Between the Elites and the People?
Sep11 New CNN/ORC Poll Puts Trump above 30%
Sep11 CNN Announces Debate Participants
Sep11 Biden Drops a Hint that He May Not Run
Sep11 Sanders Addresses the Congressional Black Caucus
Sep10 The Sheldon Adelson Primary Is in Full Swing
Sep10 Blue-State Republicans Matter
Sep10 Trump is Not At All Like Perot
Sep10 Bush Follows Trump on Taxes
Sep09 Can a Disorganized Party with 17 Candidates Beat an Incumbent Party?
Sep09 Huckabee and Cruz Rush to Meet Kim Davis
Sep09 Clinton Apologizes for Using a Private Email Server
Sep07 Ranking of the Republican Candidates
Sep07 Clinton Going South
Sep05 Republicans Are Quietly Plotting to Get Rid of Trump
Sep05 Kasich Is Running as a Politician
Sep05 Insiders Think Biden Will Not Run
Sep04 Trump Signs Loyalty Oath
Sep04 Heitkamp May Run for Governor
Sep04 Biden Still on the Fence about Run
Sep03 Nevada and South Carolina Will Be Critical in 2016
Sep03 Republicans Split on Defending Kentucky Clerk
Sep03 Some People Support Trump as a Protest Vote
Sep02 Winning Delegates Is What Counts
Sep02 Fiorina Will Make the Next Main Debate
Sep02 Ben Carson is Now in Second Place Nationally
Aug31 New Map Shows Dates of Primaries and Caucuses
Aug31 Clinton May Have 20% of the Needed Delegates Already
Aug31 Republicans Silent on Ashley Madison
Aug31 Trump May Sign Pledge Not to Run as an Independent
Aug27 First Look at the Senate
Aug25 RNC Chairman Reince Priebus Says Trump is a Net Positive
Aug25 Puerto Ricans Moving to Florida in Large Numbers
Aug25 Biden Must Consider His Family If He Decides to Run
Aug24 Republicans Differ on Birthright Citizenship
Aug24 Paul Can Run for President and Senator Next Year
Aug24 Fiorina May Fail to Make the Cut for the Second Debate
Aug24 Could Google Affect the Election?
Aug20 Could the Birthright Issue Cost the Republicans the Election?
Aug20 Supreme Court: Congress Can't Overule 14th Amendment
Aug20 Selfies Threaten Democracy
Aug18 Hillary Clinton is Rooting for Jeb Bush
Aug18 Birthers Turn on Republicans
Aug17 Trump Would Deport Undocumented Immigrants