Election News

Republican Debate Participants Announced by Fox

August 4, 2015

Fox News has announced the lineup for the first Republican debate, to be held this Thursday in Cleveland. The debate will be on Fox News at 9PM eastern time.

As we noted earlier today, recent polling has been fairly consistent and so there were no surprises in the final announcement. At the center will be Donald Trump, flanked by Jeb Bush and Scott Walker. Also participating will be Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Mike Huckabee, Chris Christie and John Kasich.

Missing the cut, and invited to participate in a 5PM forum that day: Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, Bobby Jindal, Carly Fiorina, Lindsey Graham, George Pataki and Jim Gilmore.


Graphic credit: Fox 8 Cleveland


First GOP Debate this Thursday: Who's In, Who's Out

August 4, 2015

The first of twelve GOP debates will be this Thursday, in Cleveland, Ohio, also the site of the Republican National Convention next July. As has been widely reported, Fox is limiting the main stage in this first debate to the top ten candidates based on an average of the five most recent, nationally recognized polls. 

With an influx of polling early this week, here is our calculated average for the GOP field:

See the underlying polls here. Not shown are Graham, Gilmore and Pataki, all averaging under 0.5%. 

These may not be the five polls Fox uses to come up with its average -- the cutoff for polls to be considered is 5PM eastern today -- but every indication is that Chris Christie and John Kasich will get the final two spots, and Rick Perry will join the other low-polling announced candidates at a separate debate, scheduled for 5PM that evening.

While it remains a bit questionable to base the debate field on an election that doesn't exist, the results of these last five polls have been pretty consistent. 

The debate airs at 9PM Thursday on Fox News.

Primary vs. General Election: Relative Strength of Republicans

August 1, 2015

A new McClatchy-Marist Poll, out yesterday, is the first we've seen that sampled all 17 declared Republican candidates against likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. The former Secretary of State is ahead in each case, with margins from 5% to 21%.

Whether or not the margins are accurate in the absolute sense, it seemed like they might give us some indication of the strength of Republican candidates to each other when presented to a general election audience. We could then compare that to what Republican primary voters have been saying about their candidates in recent polls.

In the table below, the first column shows the Republican against Clinton, with the next three columns showing the outcome and Clinton lead in the McClatchy-Marist poll. For example, she leads Scott Walker by 7%. The next column reflects the 270toWin average in the last five Republican primary national polls

The Ranking columns order by relative standing, with the difference in the final column, shown in red if general election standing is worse than primary. The chart is sorted by Primary Ranking, with the green background representing the ten candidates that would make the cut for this Thursday's first Republican primary. 

The most noticeable difference is with Donald Trump, who is well out in front in recent Republican polls. Mr. Trump is likely to have center stage this Thursday, yet has one of the poorest relative showings vs. Clinton in the general election poll. On the other hand, Rand Paul and Rick Perry are ranking much better with a general election audience than with Republican voters. The difference is striking in Mr. Perry's case, as he may be on the outside looking in at this Thursday's debate.



First GOP Debate Looms; Dubious Criteria Used for Inclusion

July 27, 2015

The first Republican debate is scheduled for August 6 in Cleveland. Host Fox News is limiting the field to those ten Republicans placing highest in an average of five nationally-recognized polls. While we don't know which polls Fox will use, Ohio governor John Kasich has displaced former Texas governor Rick Perry for the final spot based on the 270toWin five-poll average. Businessman Donald Trump has won all five of these polls.

The ten-candidate cutoff has received a lot of criticism, and rightly so. Assuming a poll of 500 people, the difference between Chris Christie in 9th place averaging 3.2% and Bobby Jindal in 14th place at 1.2% is just 10 people. That is before factoring in the statistical errors inherent in polling: Some of these polls have sample sizes small enough that almost everyone outside the top 3 is within the margin of error. Yet another issue is that the polling is national, while the choice of a nominee will be done via the primary and caucus system at the state level. Some of those not expected to make the cut are polling well in one or more states, based on their regional strength.

In sum, Fox is choosing ten debate participants based on insignificant differences in polls for an election that doesn't exist.


Clinton Lagging in Three Swing States, Poll Finds

July 22, 2015

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is trailing in several 2016 match-ups against leading Republicans, a new Quinnipiac poll finds. The firm surveyed, Clinton against Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush and Scott Walker in the key swing states of Colorado, Iowa and Virginia.

Clinton trails all three Republicans in Colorado and Iowa, while Virginia results are within the margin of error. 

Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden also trail this same set of Republicans. However, Sanders is actually outperforming Clinton in some cases, the first time we have seen that.

Results of the Quinnipiac poll are below. Check our polling page for all the 2016 presidential polls.


John Kasich Joins Republican 2016 Field

July 21, 2015

Ohio governor John Kasich, who easily won re-election to a 2nd term in 2014, today becomes the 16th -- and perhaps final -- major Republican candidate in the 2016 race, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Currently polling outside the top 10 to qualify for the initial GOP debate in August, Kasich may be hoping that a post-announcement bump in upcoming polls will be enough to help him make the cut. (In related news, Fox has made some changes to the forum where those not making the top 10 will be relegated).

No Republican has ever won the White House without winning Ohio. Should Kasich not be the nominee, his popularity at home could make him an attractive VP choice for the 2016 ticket.

Half the Republican field is or has been a governor. Kasich joins Jeb Bush (Florida), Chris Christie (New Jersey), Mike Huckabee (Arkansas), Bobby Jindal (Louisiana), George Pataki (New York), Rick Perry (Texas), and Scott Walker (Wisconsin). Former Virginia governor Jim Gilmore may also join the race in August.

Republican Primary Polling by State

July 15, 2015

Most recent national Republican polling has shown Jeb Bush, Scott Walker and Donald Trump leading the crowded field. However, much like the general election next November, the nomination will be decided more locally, with primary or caucus battles in most states.

That in mind, it is worth keeping an eye on who is leading the Republican polls in each state. The table below shows the current leaders in the four early states, those scheduled to have their primary or caucus events in February. The link above will take you to a page showing who is leading in each state where polling has been conducted, with links to details about the polls and primary/caucus in each state.

Republican Field Update: Candidates, Maps, Polls, Debates

July 8, 2015

There are 14 formally declared Republican candidates for 2016. Scott Walker and John Kasich are expected to join the field later this month, with former Virginia governor Jim Gilmore saying earlier this week that he will run for president, with a formal announcement early in August.

None of the 17 announced or prospective candidates has broken out; polling remains quite competitive, with many of the so-called long shots leading in one or more states. The dates in the table below reflect the likely date for the 2016 Republican primary or caucus in that state. Those states not shown have not been polled.

2016 Republican Field: Running or Actively Considering

Dates displayed are those when campaign launched or when an announcement is scheduled. The MAP link, where available, goes to an electoral map of that candidate vs. Hillary Clinton based on state-level polling conducted so far.

Names in bold are in the top 10 of the 270toWin polling average. Fox and CNN, hosts of the first two debates, have announced that qualification will be based on top 10 standings in the polls, based on the respective networks' calculations prior to the debate. CNN will include a separate forum for those that don't make the top 10.


Jeb Bush June 15 Former Governor, Florida MAP
Chris Christie June 30 Governor, New Jersey MAP 
Ben Carson May 4 Former neurosurgeon  
Ted Cruz March 23 U.S. Senator, Texas MAP
Carly Fiorina May 4 Former CEO, Hewlett-Packard  
Lindsey Graham June 1 U.S. Senator, South Carolina  
Mike Huckabee May 5 Former Governor, Arkansas MAP
Bobby Jindal June 24 Governor, Louisiana  
John Kasich July 21 Governor, Ohio  
George Pataki May 28 Former Governor, New York  
Rand Paul April 7 U.S. Senator, Kentucky MAP
Rick Perry June 4 Former Governor, Texas  
Marco Rubio April 13 U.S. Senator, Florida MAP
Rick Santorum May 27 Former U.S. Senator, Pennsylvania  
Donald Trump June 16 Businessman  

Launch Pending

John Kasich July 21 Governor, Ohio  
Scott Walker July 13  Governor, Wisconsin MAP  
Jim Gilmore Early Aug. Former Governor, Virginia  


2016 Primary and Caucus Calendar Update

July 6, 2015

The 2016 presidential election calendar is starting to take shape. The upcoming 'season' will be much shorter than in 2012. No events will occur in January, and both parties will have a nominee by the end of July. In 2012, the Iowa caucuses took place in early January, and the conventions took place in late August and early September.

Republican rules for 2016 prohibit primaries and caucuses in January, with only 4 states allowed to hold February contests. March events that take place prior to the 15th must award delegates proportionately, while those thereafter can allocate as they see fit, although many are expected to use a winner-take-all approach. The net effect is that going early provides a state more visibility, but if the field remains crowded, it may be the states that wait that have the greatest impact in deciding the 2016 nominee.

Democratic rules require proportional allocation of delegates. In a less-competitive nominating race, as 2016 appears to be, this provides some delegate visibility for secondary candidates. 

A few highlights on the calendar follow. Some of these dates are subject to change. A number of debates are scheduled prior to the first contests. 

February: Iowans will caucus on February 1, followed by the New Hampshire primary on the 9th. A Nevada source has told us that their caucuses will be on the 20th, with the South Carolina primary on the 27th, although we have seen some other dates mentioned. 

Early March: A southern regional primary is taking shape for March 1 with participating states expected to include Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. North Carolina may also join in, although they are a bit more tentative at this point. This structure may benefit more conservative hopefuls like Ben Carson and Mike Huckabee, while Texas could be critical to Senator Ted Cruz. About 10 other states will also hold contests during the first two weeks of the month.

March 15: The first date where winner-take-all delegate allocation will be allowed on the Republican side is expected to see contests in Florida, Illinois, Missouri and Ohio. Depending on how the early states shake out, Florida may prove pivotal to the future aspirations of home-state candidates Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio. The prospects of Ohio governor John Kasich (expected to join the race July 21), may hinge on whether he can keep his campaign going through the generally more conservative earlier states.

Follow the Republican and Democratic primaries on 270toWin. Current info includes national polls, with links to state-specific polling where it is available. As more information becomes available, we'll add a full calendar with delegate information and, as the events take place, results.

The 2016 presidential election will take place on November 8, 2016.


Walker Continues to Lead Iowa Caucus Polling

July 1, 2015

Scott Walker, governor of neighboring Wisconsin, continues to lead in polling for the 2016 Iowa Republican Caucus. The latest poll, out today from Quinnipiac gives Mr. Walker 18%, ahead of Ben Carson and Donald Trump with 10%. Another 13 prospective nominees polled split the remaining 60% or so.

Interestingly, while Mr. Walker leads, he is one of only two Republicans polled that has not yet officially joined the race. Both he and Ohio Governor John Kasich are expected to declare their intentions to run later in July. 

Businessman Donald Trump continues to see a sizeable bump from his mid-June campaign launch, tying for 2nd in the Iowa poll. He has placed in the top 3 in recent polls from MichiganKentucky and New Hampshire, as well as nationally. If this trend continues, it may be one of the more interesting stories as we head toward the first Republican debate in August.