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.
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.
Happy Presidential Election New Year! There are 312 days until the 2016 presidential election. This year will also see contests for all 435 House seats as well as 12 gubernatorial contests. Republicans currently hold the House with 246 seats (218 needed for control) and control 31 of the 50 state executive chairs.
Republicans also control the Senate, with 54 of the 100 seats. Unlike the House, where Republicans will most likely hold power, the Senate is once again up for grabs. Republicans gained control in 2014, when most seats up were held by Democrats. The situation is reversed this year, with 24 of the 34 elections held by Republican incumbents. Outside the presidential election, this will be the most interesting area to watch and forecast.
To that end, we've been busy upgrading our interactive Senate map. The new map, which we hope to launch in the next couple weeks, will be three maps in one. You'll be able to look at the current Senate, make your forecast for the 2016 Senate elections and then view the composition of the 2017 Senate based on your predictions.
It will also be easier to share the map via social media or embed an image into a web page.
According to Politico, Fox Business will announce qualifying criteria for the next Republican debate on Tuesday. The main stage could see as few as six participants. Those who place in the top 6 nationally based on the 5 most recent recognized polls as of January 11 will qualify. If any other candidate is in the top 5 in New Hampshire or Iowa based on recent state polls, they will also qualify.
Once again, there will be a preliminary debate. In this case, those with 1% in one or more of five recognized polls will qualify.
As of now, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Jeb Bush and Chris Christie would qualify based on the 270toWin average of recent polls. Note that these may not be the same polls used by Fox.
Nobody else would qualify based on Iowa or New Hampshire. This would leave John Kasich, Carly Fiorina and Rand Paul off the main stage.
The debates will be held January 14 in North Charleston, SC.
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.
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.
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.