Election News

Lincoln Chafee Withdraws from Presidential Race

October 23, 2015

Former Rhode Island governor Lincoln Chafee withdrew from the 2016 presidential race today. He made the announcement during a speech at the DNC Women's Leadership Forum. 

Chafee was polling poorly and was widely panned for his performance in last week's Democratic debate.

This is the third departure from the Democratic 2016 race this week. Former Virginia Senator Jim Webb also withdrew, noting he could return as an independent candidate. Vice President Joe Biden opted not to run.  

This leaves 4 declared candidates:

  • Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton 
  • Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders
  • Former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley
  • Harvard Law professor Larry Lessig

Clinton is well ahead nationally, averaging close to 50% in recent polls. After a drop-off, she has seen her lead increase again over Sanders, who is averaging about 25%. These numbers include the influence of Biden, so they will likely increase for both candidates in the weeks ahead. Both O'Malley and Lessig are polling at less than 1%.



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Comparing the Democratic Polls With and Without Biden

October 21, 2015

Vice President Joe Biden's announcement that he has decided not to run in 2016 leaves us, at least for the moment, with two leading contenders for the Democratic nomination.

Biden has been polling in the 15-20% range in recent weeks. Where will that support go? We decided to take a look back at recent polls, most of which (conveniently) ask people to make a choice both ways --- if Biden is in, and if he is not.

The table below shows the results:

 The short answer is that Clinton picks up much of Biden's voters. Her lead over Sanders moves up 5%, from 21 to 26 points. 

Of course, there's a difference between asking people who they would support if Biden wasn't running and actually having to make a choice now that he isn't. We'll need to wait and see if polls taken after today's announcement show the same results.


Jim Webb Exits Democratic Race

October 20, 2015

Former Virginia Senator Jim Webb announced the end of his bid for the 2016 Democratic nomination today, while leaving open the possibility he could still run as an independent. 

Webb, the most centrist of the declared Democrats was unable to get much traction, generally polling at 2% or less.

While an independent bid would be unlikely to succeed, Webb could still be a major influence on the general election. His home state of Virginia is one of only four to be decided by 5% or less in 2012, and is widely considered to be a battleground again in 2016. 

For more, read this statement from Jim Webb.


Clinton Poll Numbers Ticking Back Up; Webb to Exit Democratic Race?

October 20, 2015

Following a solid debate performance, Hillary Clinton is back over 50% support in a new Democratic poll from ABC News & The Washington Post. Clinton's 54% was 12 points better than this same pollster's September survey.  Bernie Sanders was at 23%, little changed from September, while Joe Biden lost 5 points and now sits at 16%. As noted yesterday, we expect Biden to run, but his seeming inability to decide may be wearing thin, particularly if Clinton is being perceived as past her recent difficulties.

While not seeing majority support, Clinton's numbers have been ticking up in most recent polls. The 270toWin average now shows her at 48.2%, almost double that of Sanders. The table below shows national polls since the beginning of October. Click or tap the graphic for full details, as well as links to polls from individual states.

 

The other 4 declared Democratic candidates continue to see miniscule polling numbers. Former Virginia Senator Jim Webb, unhappy about the time afforded him to speak in last week's debate, has scheduled a news conference for 1PM ET today at the National Press Club. Webb is expected to announce that he is considering leaving the Democratic race and running for president as an independent.

While it is unlikely this would increase his near-term visibility, given the focus on the nomination process, Webb could eventually be influential as it relates to the swing state of Virginia, where he served as Senator from 2007 to 2013. Virginia was one of only 4 states to be decided by 5% or less in 2012.


MSNBC: Biden to Announce on 2016 Within 48 Hours

October 19, 2015

Vice President Joe Biden will finally announce his 2016 presidential plans in the next 48 hours, sources tell NBC's Kristen Welker. She discusses with Peter Alexander in this video from earlier today (Monday) on MSNBC.

By announcing prior to Thursday, Biden would get out in front of Hillary Clinton's testimony before the Select Committee on Benghazi this Thursday at 10AM*. 

This is not the first time news of an imminent announcement has come, so it remains to be seen if this time will be different.

* The hearing will be telecast live on CSPAN-3

==

Our opinion (270toWin) continues to be that Biden will run. He has long wanted to be president; age makes 2016 his last real opportunity. Unlike his prior campaigns, he now has nearly 100% name recognition. In addition, there's no incumbent (from either party) to run against, which makes this a good year to run even if one has no chance, which is clearly not the situation the Vice President is in. Hillary Clinton will be tough competition for the nomination, but unless you are an incumbent, that would always be the case.  

If we're wrong, we're wrong, but running seems like the path of least resistance.


Clinton, Sanders & Carson Top Third Quarter Fundraising

October 16, 2015

Third quarter fundraising numbers are out, as reported by Politico. Three candidates topped $20 million, including Democrats Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Ben Carson was the only Republican to surpass that total in a much larger Republican field, while frontrunner Donald Trump's numbers reflect the fact that he is self-funding his campaign.

Republican Fundraising

 

Republicans raised $77.4 million in Q3, per the Politico article. More than half of this was raised by Carson, Jeb Bush and Ted Cruz. Carson, Bush, Cruz and Rubio all had over $10 million cash on hand at the end of the reporting period. Most of the candidates that raised less than $3 million spent more during the quarter than they took in. As noted earlier, Trump is a bit of an outlier as he is primarily self-funding. Trump raised and spent roughly $4 million.

Democratic Fundraising

Democrats raised $59.1 million during the quarter, 95% of it to frontrunner Clinton and her closest challenger Sanders. Those two candidates had over $25 million cash on hand at the end of the quarter.


First Democratic Debate Tuesday: What to Know

October 12, 2015

After three Republican debates (the fourth is scheduled for October 28), the Democrats vying for the 2016 presidential nomination will take the debate stage Tuesday night in Las Vegas Nevada. CNN and Facebook will host the event, which will be moderated by Anderson Cooper. CNN will telecast the debate, beginning at 8:30PM eastern time.

Five declared candidates have been invited, based on achieving at least 1% in three recognized polls. Candidates will be positioned based on position in the polls. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will be at center, flanked by Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and former Maryland governor Martin O'Malley. The final two spots will be occupied by former Rhode Island governor Lincoln Chafee and former Virginia Senator Jim Webb. Harvard University law professor Lawrence Lessig, the sixth declared candidate, did not meet the polling criteria to be included.

 

Vice president Joe Biden has qualified for the debate, but is not yet a declared candidate. A 6th podium is on-site should Biden decide to join the race and participate.

 

Looking at the Democratic polls, Clinton remains the strong frontrunner, although Sanders has provided a larger challenge than many expected when he entered the race. None of the remaining invited candidates has gained any traction of note with Democratic primary voters. The debate will provide the first real opportunity for these candidates to connect.

This is the first of six debates sanctioned by the Democratic National Committee, a limited schedule that has caused some controversy. The next two debates will be in the first two primary/caucus states. The first will be November 14 in Des Moines, followed by a December 19 event in Manchester, New Hampshire.

What the Candidates Need to Do

USA Today has a nice summary of what each candidate needs to accomplish for a successful evening.

Clinton: Reintroduce herself and her rationale for running/wanting to be president to reverse the torrent of negative publicity surrounding her in recent months

Sanders: Try to expand his appeal beyond core liberal base; appear electable

O'Malley: He's been more willing to go after Clinton than Sanders; needs to find an opportunity to do that on stage 

Webb: Highlight his centrist views as contrast to others on stage; highlight opposition to Iraq War in contrast to Clinton

Chafee: Highlight his broad political experience


Trump, Clinton Lead in 3 Swing States Despite Poor Favorability Ratings

October 7, 2015

A new Quinnipiac Poll for the swing states of Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania shows Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton remaining atop the field in those states for their parties' nomination. This despite the fact that they continue to have the worst overall favorability ratings among all voters. Translation: Perhaps the most polarized general election ever if these two are the eventual nominees.

For the Republicans, Trump and Ben Carson were 1-2 in all 3 states, with Florida Senator Marco Rubio 3rd in that state and Pennsylvania. Governor John Kasich of Ohio was 3rd in his state.  In passing Kasich in Ohio, Trump now leads in in almost every state where Republican primary polling has been conducted. 

 

Results were fairly similar across the three state for the Democratic candidates. In Ohio, Clinton's 40% was equal to Biden + Sanders. She outperformed that in Florida, while doing a bit more poorly in Pennsylvania. If Biden wasn't in the equation, Clinton would be just over 50% in all 3 states; Sanders about 25%

Quinnipiac also took a look ahead to the general election in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania

 

 


Biden to Decide on 2016 Shortly

October 4, 2015

Vice President Joe Biden will decide within the next 7 to 10 days whether to run for president in 2016, CBS News reports. CBS noted that this info came from 3 sources, 2 of whom indicated Biden is leaning toward running.

Even if Biden enters the 2016 race, he is expected to skip the first Democratic debate.

A recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found that Biden, while still trailing in the poll, would enter the race as the most popular Democrat. It is worth noting, however, that recent attention on Biden has largely been positive; this would undoubtedly change if he actually became a candidate.

 


CNBC Sets Eligibility Criteria for Next Republican Debate

October 1, 2015

The third Republican presidential debate is scheduled for Wednesday, October 28, in Boulder, Colorado. It will be hosted by CNBC. Befitting that network, the debate will focus on the economy. This includes "jobs, taxes, the deficit and the health of our national economy", according to the original CNBC debate press release

The Republican field remains crowded, with 15 candidates vying for the nomination. As a result, there will again be two debates. Qualifications are as follows:

Main Debate (8PM ET): For those candidates averaging 2.5% or higher in qualifying polls released from September 17 to October 21. Qualifying polls are those released by NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX, CNN and Bloomberg. At this point it appears 9 or 10 will qualify for that.

Earlier Debate (6PM ET): For those candidates not meeting the above criteria but who have earned at least 1% in any single poll from the same organizations in the same time frame.  

Four polls appear to qualify thus far. Meeting the 2.5% threshold in all of them are:  Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz and Chris Christie.

John Kasich only polled 2% in a September 20 CNN poll, but has seen 4-6% support since, so he looks fairly safe at this point. Mike Huckabee saw 6% in that same CNN poll, but his numbers have declined since. He's still likely to make the cut. Rand Paul is on the bubble, averaging just over 2.5% in the four qualifying polls.

Of the remaining five candidates, Bobby Jindal, Rick Santorum and George Pataki have received 1% support in at least one poll, so have qualified for the early debate. Lindsey Graham has not, despite performing well in the early debate last time. Jim Gilmore has also seen 0% in the four qualifying polls.

The table below shows the 270toWin calculated polling average for each Republican candidate. This includes poll sources that are recognized, but not in the CNBC criteria.



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