Donald Trump and Ted Cruz remain locked in a tight battle six days before the February 1 Iowa caucuses, a new Quinnipiac University poll found. These results are virtually unchanged from Quinnipiac's prior poll released two weeks ago.
Overall, Trump holds about a five point leader in the 270toWin Iowa average, with much higher volatility across pollsters, ranging from a two point lead for Cruz to an eleven point lead for Trump. Rubio has been consistent in the low teens, and looks likely to finish third.
Part of the reason the Iowa polls are so varied is that the caucus format is difficult for pollsters to model; much depends on which organization does the best job at getting its supporters to the caucus sessions. One area that impacts turnout is the weather. At this point, the National Weather Service is showing pretty benign weather for next Monday. Des Moines shows mostly cloudy, with a high of 34, while the Cedar Rapids forecast is for a slight chance of snow with a high of 33. These highs are close to the average for early February.
Another billionaire might want to shake up the 2016 race. The New York Times reports that former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg is looking at a potential 2016 run as an independent. Bloomberg has flirted with the idea in the past, but has always concluded he couldn't win. He sees a potential opening in a 2016 race that could see a scandal-weakened Hillary Clinton or a far-left idealogue against a far-right idealogue or a political novice with high unfavorable ratings.
If you'd like to play around with this idea, we've got a version of our electoral map that allows for third party or independents to be included.
How could Bloomberg win? Let's say he's able to win a few states and that nobody in the race reaches 270 electoral votes. In that case, the U.S. House would pick the president, with one vote per state. Republicans control the majority of state delegations so a Sanders or Clinton choice would be doubtful. Perhaps a centrist independent would be more appealing than Trump to at least some Republican states who might then join up with some Democratic delegations to give the presidency to Bloomberg. An absolute majority of the states (26) must agree on the winner.
Lots of Iowa polling out today, eleven days before the February 1 caucuses. Not a lot has changed on the Republican side, while both Clinton and Sanders can point to positive results, although it remains unclear who is actually leading there.
Republicans: Four polls today. Two of them showed Trump and Cruz basically tied. Trump leads by about 10 points over Cruz in the other two. It is worth noting that the two polls with Trump well ahead have a much smaller sample size. Trump and Cruz remain the clear frontrunners with Rubio the only other candidate averaging in double digits.
Iowa has 30 Republican delegates, to be allocated proportionately. This is about 1.2% of total Republican delegates. 1,237 delegates are needed for the nomination. All primaries and caucuses prior to March 15, except South Carolina, will allocate proportionately.
Democrats: Three polls today, two of which show Clinton ahead by 9 points while a CNN/ORC poll has Sanders with an 8 point lead. While CNN/ORC perhaps the most well-known of today's pollsters, it is again worth calling out the small sample size for that poll (as well as the Emerson College one). Appears to be anyone's guess who is actually ahead at this point.
Iowa has 52 Democratic delegates, to be allocated proportionately (some statewide, some by Congressional District). This is about 1.1% of total Democratic delegates. 2,383 delegates are needed for the nomination.
Ohio governor John Kasich has moved past Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz into 2nd place in New Hampshire, based on an average of recent polls. Kasich had 20% in a poll out today from American Research Group, up 6 points from their prior poll just a week ago.
Donald Trump holds a commanding lead, on average, but only up by 7 points in this latest poll. The New Hampshire primary is in 3 weeks, on February 9th.
On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders had a 6 point lead over Hillary Clinton, consistent with the average of recent polls.
As the three remaining Democratic candidates make final preparations for tonight's debate in Charleston, SC (9 PM ET on NBC), a new poll from that network, in conjunction with The Wall Street Journal shows Hillary Clinton with a commanding national lead over her closest challenger, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.
While recent polls indicate a very competitive start to the election calendar, the states after that are currently looking much more favorable for Clinton. This is borne out by the 25 point lead she has over Sanders in today's poll. In fact, Clinton's lead has grown 6% from the last NBC/WSJ poll:
As noted, the early states of Iowa and New Hampshire are much closer, with Sanders leading in most recent New Hampshire polling. The challenge for the Sanders campaign will be to close strongly and outperform expectations in those two early states, hoping that the added visibility this will bring will begin to move the needle in his direction. As of now --where polling is available -- Clinton has a large lead in Nevada and South Carolina, as well as the many states that will vote on Super Tuesday March 1st.
Nearly two in three respondents to the overnight 270toWin straw poll said Donald Trump had won the Fox Business Republican debate. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio were roughly tied for second, far back at around 10%. The remainder of the seven participants were selected by fewer than 5% of respondents.
A recap of some media voices:
CNN: Trump gave his best debate performance of the campaign while Christie delivered the strongest among the establishment candidates. Bush may have 'won' on policy points, but nobody seems to care.
Politico: Cruz 'out-bullied' Trump while Carson surgically removed himself from contention.
New York Times: Cruz outmaneuvered everyone on stage, establishing that his surging candidacy is not a fluke.
Los Angeles Times: Trump sailed above the other candidates who often acted with visible desperation to attract attention.
Fox News: While the GOP field still has 12 candidates, the debate showed it's down to Trump vs. Cruz in, the first tier, with Rubio, Bush, Christie and Kasich in tier two, competing for the establishment slot coming out of February voting.
Who do you think won the January 14, 2016 Fox Business Republican debate? Vote now in our straw poll.
As the Republican candidate (except for Rand Paul) gather for tonight's Fox Business-hosted debates in Charleston, national polling continues to show Donald Trump well ahead of his nearest challengers. In an NBC News / WSJ poll out this afternoon, Trump had 33%, a 13 point lead over Ted Cruz. Marco Rubio and Ben Carson were also in double digits.
Trump has gained 6 points since the prior NBC News / WSJ poll last month, while Cruz, Rubio and Bush each lost 2 points. Ben Carson gained a point, a rare bit of good news in recent polling.
Seven candidates will take the stage in the main debate tonight at 9 PM Eastern. That's two less than last month's CNN debate. Carly Fiorina and Rand Paul didn't make the cut.
The undercard debate starts at 6PM. Carly Fiorina will be joined by Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum.
An NBC News/Marist Iowa Poll out this morning shows Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders just 3% behind former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; within the poll's margin of error. This is the first Iowa poll of 2016 and comes just three weeks prior to the state's February 1 caucuses. Clinton remains well ahead in our Iowa poll average, so it remains to be seen if this latest poll is an outlier or a shift toward Sanders.
O'Malley to miss next debate?
The next Democratic debate, hosted by NBC, is scheduled for next Sunday, January 17 at 9PM ET in Charleston, South Carolina. To qualify, candidates must reach 5% nationally or in one of the early states of Iowa, New Hampshire or South Carolina in the five most recent polls recognized by NBC as of January 14th. CNN reports O'Malley is at exactly 5% in Iowa but missing the mark in the other states and nationally. (We show O'Malley averaging 6.4% in Iowa; NBC doesn't use Gravis Marketing polls in its average).
Working in O'Malley's favor: he averaged 5% in today's NBC Iowa poll (out after the CNN article) and the fact that the network has indicated they will round up from 4.5%. It's not like the Democratic debate stage is crowded; we suspect he'll be included.
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