South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham suspended his presidential campaign Monday, Politico reports. Today was the final day for Graham to remove himself from the ballot for the February 20 South Carolina Republican primary. Graham was only averaging 1.8% in his home state, good for a distant 9th in the then 14-person race. Graham's national poll numbers were even worse, averaging less than 1%. As such, he could never crack the main debate stage, which limited his ability to gain exposure.
The Politico article notes that Graham now has an opportunity to be kingmaker in South Carolina, giving him a chance to be more vocal about his opposition to Donald Trump and fellow Senator Ted Cruz.
Suspending a Campaign vs. Ending It
If you've ever wondered why candidates 'suspend' their campaigns instead of just declaring them over, it mostly boils down to two things. First, in the unlikely event that the world changes, it is easier to revive the campaign. However, the main reason is that it takes a while to wind down a campaign, paying off bills/debts etc. This article from 2012 discusses some of this in a bit more detail.
Donald Trump is at 26%, while a group of other Republicans have become tightly grouped in the low teens, according to a new poll of New Hampshire Repbublicans conducted by Franklin Pierce University and The Boston Herald. On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton has all but erased Bernie Sander's lead in the one state that the Vermont Senator was ahead. New Hampshire will hold the nation's first primary (Iowa precedes it with their caucuses) on February 9.
More: 2016 Election Calendar
Trump's 26% is more than double that of Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, both at 12%. Chris Christie and Jeb Bush are right there as well, with 11% and 10%, respectively. John Kasich is at 8%.
Comparing this poll to other recent ones, these results seem to indicate that Trump's core support remains steady, but not growing. Meanwhile, the more traditional candidates seem to be slowly gaining support as a group, but with a 5-way split, none are really making headway against the Republican frontrunner.
It appears that some of the candidates behind Trump will need to leave the race before his lead can effectively be challenged. That creates a paradox: All the tightly grouped candidates will be better off if one or more of them leaves, but nobody will want to be the one that leaves to miss out on that opportunity.
New Hampshire has just 23 delegates (1,237 are needed to be nominated) and these are allocated more-or-less proportionately.
Bernie Sanders leads Hillary Clinton by just 2%, well within the margin of error. Sanders led by 10% in a CNN poll last week, although trailed by 2% in a poll earlier in December. This race is effectively tied as the year comes to an end. As the Vermont Senator is trailing Clinton in most other places, including by 17% in Iowa, winning here seems critical if he is to have much of a shot against the Democratic frontrunner. Interestingly, Sanders continues to poll slightly better than Clinton in many general election match-ups.
Not too much change from earlier today. Trump dropped slightly, but still finished with 52.5% of the votes. Rubio and Cruz both gained a bit from earlier. The final results chart follows; we've removed the preliminary chart.
More than 50% of those participating in our overnight snap poll thought Donald Trump won the CNN debate. Despite barely making the cut to appear on the main stage, Rand Paul was 2nd at about 15%. Trump's closest challengers in the national Republican polls, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz were third and fourth. These two spent considerable time going at each other; it appears neither had a breakout moment.
Fewer than 5% of respondents thought the remaining five candidates won the evening.
Thanks to everyone that participated in our overnight snap poll. While we eliminated obvious duplicate votes from the results, we do want to note that respondents selected themselves to participate. It is therefore not a random sample as would be the goal of a more traditional poll.
Who do you think won the CNN Republican debate? Vote now in our straw poll.
The fifth Republican debate will be held tonight at The Venetian in Las Vegas. It is hosted by CNN and Salem Radio and telecast live on CNN, moderated by Wolf Blitzer. This will be the final Republican debate for 2015.
As with previous Republican debates, it will be split into two sessions. The first, at 6 PM ET will include George Pataki, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum and Lindsey Graham. The main event, at 8:30 ET, will include nine candidates: The eight that participated in the Fox Business debate a few weeks back plus Chris Christie. Both Christie and Rand Paul made the main stage by virtue of their polling performance in New Hampshire and Iowa, respectively. This is the first debate where early state polling was considered as a qualifying criteria.
As in prior dates, the candidates will be ordered by polling averages. CNN is using the average of national polls from November and December. Donald Trump will again hold center stage, flanked on his left by a surgng Ted Cruz and on his right by a fading Ben Carson. Marco Rubio, will be to Carson's right. Given the direction of the race today, these two probably should be switched, but they didn't ask our opinion. Jeb Bush will be to Cruz's left, with Chris Christie and Rand Paul on that end. On the other end, Carly Fiorina and John Kasich will be to the right of Rubio.
Turning to the polls, we've compiled the national 270toWin polling average for these nine, as well as that average for the first two voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire. These averages include the five most recent polls, which is different than the CNN criteria.
While the top 3 are the same in all three locations, note that the recent ascendency of Ted Cruz in Iowa has not yet translated into New Hampshire.
NPR has put together a nice summary of what each candidate needs to accomplish and avoid in the debate.
The fifth Republican debate will be on Tuesday, the 15th at The Venetian in Las Vegas. Hosted by CNN and Salem Radio, it will be moderated by Wolf Blitzer, Dana Bash and Hugh Hewitt. CNN will broadcast the debate at 9PM ET, preceded at 7PM by a forum for those not making the main event.
As we noted previously, CNN is going to use poll standing in Iowa and New Hampshire, as well as nationally, to decide who makes the main stage. At this point, it looks like Rand Paul could miss out, while Chris Christie would return, after he missed out on the Fox Business debate last month. The New Jersey governor is pretty much a lock, as he has performed quite well in recent New Hampshire polling, including 2nd place in a poll out Friday morning.
As a result, there will be 8, perhaps 9 participants in the main Republican debate. The final determination will come after this weekend.
The Democrats will debate next Saturday in Manchester, Vermont. ABC will host the debate beginning at 8PM ET. Co-sponsor WMUR, an ABC affiliate and New Hampshire's most influential television station was dumped from the event today because of a labor dispute with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. This prevented a possible scenario where the participants would have to cross a picket line to attend the debate.
Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Martin O'Malley, the three remaining Democrats in the race, are expected to participate.
A CNN | ORC Iowa poll out this afternoon paints a completely different story than the Monmouth University poll. While this poll also showed a large gain for Cruz and decline for Carson vs. the prior CNN | ORC survey, both remained well back of Donald Trump, who showed 33% support. That is a high-water mark for Trump in any Iowa poll conducted thus far.
The CNN poll was conducted from November 28 to December 6, while Monmouth did their survey from December 3 to December 6. The San Bernardino terrorist attack took place on December 2nd, so Monmouth's poll was conducted entirely after that. One would think Trump's numbers would improve or at least be steady after that incident, so the sampling dates don't seem to explain what is a huge difference between these two polls.
Ted Cruz has jumped into the lead in Iowa, according to a new poll from Monmouth University. While this is the first poll Cruz has led, it has been somewhat expected given his climb in recent weeks. Much of Cruz's support growth can probably be traced to a corresponding fall by Ben Carson.
The image at left shows that Cruz has more than doubled his support since late October's Monmouth poll, as Carson has lost more than half of his. While this transition from Carson to Cruz was happening, Donald Trump took the lead in other Iowa polls and he maintains a small lead in our 5-poll Iowa average. Marco Rubio has also seen significant growth in support, and is just behind Trump in this latest poll.
A new poll finds Fading Republican Ben Carson trails Hillary Clinton by just 1%, while frontrunner Donald Trump trails her by 11%. These are some of the findings of the MSNBC/Telemundo/Marist poll out today. Clinton leads other prospective challengers by anywhere from 3 to 7 points.
The poll also looked at how each candidate would do against Clinton with a subset of Latino voters. No great surprise here, as Clinton beats Bush, Cruz and Carson by about 25%, and Trump by 42% with that segment. Rubio performs best, with a 19 point deficit.
Rubio gained 11 points, after trailing with Latinos by 30 points in the prior MSNBC survey, conducted in September. In fact, where comparisions are available, each Republican's relative support with Latinos is up, and Republicans are generally outperforming 2012 actual results. Barack Obama beat Mitt Romney by 44 points, 71% to 27% in that year's presidential election. Even Trump, vilified by Latinos for his stance on immigration, is running no worse than that at this point.
Donald Trump has opened up a 20 point lead on his closest challengers for the Republican nomination in the latest CNN | ORC poll of registered Republicans. This is the first national poll fully sampled after Thanksgiving. Trump's 36% represents a new high in polling support, as does the size of his lead. In the last CNN | ORC poll in late October, Trump had 27%, but just a 5 point lead.
Ted Cruz was 2nd, with 16% support, just ahead of Ben Carson's 14%. Hidden in that result is that Cruz's support is on the rise, while Carson is fading. In the prior CNN | ORC poll, Carson had 22%, Cruz just 4%. These two appeal to a similar portion of the electorate.
Less than two months from the Iowa Republican caucus, Trump remains the undisputed national frontrunner in the still-crowded Republican field.
New: 3rd Party / Independent Electoral Map
It's pure speculation at this point, but if Trump were to continue dominating the Republican field, it's possible we could see one or more high-profile candidates jump into the race as independents or with a 3rd party. Perhaps a defeated Republican or former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg. On the other hand, if Trump is pushed aside 'unfairly', he might choose to take his considerable base and run as an independent himself. While unlikely, this could lead to electoral votes being won outside the two major parties.
Our new electoral map lets you game out such scenarios. Try it out!
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