Swing State Pres

Monday, November 23, 2015

Annual Reader Poll on Projected 2016 Election Contenders and Winner!

We are back with the results of our reader poll.  On Election Day in both 2012 and 2014 and now in 2015, we asked our readers who they believe will be the Democratic and Republican nominees for the 2016 election, and which will be the winner.  Thanks for participating!

Of course this is a very unscientific poll.  For a numbers guy who runs a blog devoted to interpreting polling (and other) numbers correctly, this is a very important point.  (This may also be an opportune time to mention that, whenever you might see a headline that says “Facebook and Twitter Declare Bernie Sanders Won the Debate!”, don’t believe it, these are not scientific polls, at all.)

I will also add that pollsters are finding that a more accurate predictor of election outcomes is NOT asking people who they “favor,” but rather who they “think will win.”  But again, that still applies for a scientifically drawn sample, and this Reader Poll is not one of those.

So, for whatever it is worth, and for fun, here are your answers, that is, the answers of a very savvy group of politicos.

And the Democratic Nominee will be – SURPRISE! – Hillary Clinton!  For the second year in a row, Hillary received 100% of the votes.  I’m not sure she would have pitched a perfecto if we’d asked the question in, say, August, but she has had a splendid autumn and all of you think she will ride that to the nomination.  Yes, all of you.

Dems
Nov '12
Nov '14
Nov '15
Clinton
85%
100%
100%
O'Malley
5%
0%
0%
Cuomo
5%
0%
0%
Granholm
5%
0%
0%

The GOP side was destined to be more complicated, even as the contours of the race begin to take shape.  It is amazing that, just 69 days before the Iowa caucuses, you have selected seven different potential GOP nominees.   And as in the prior years, no candidate has received more than half of the “votes.”  But you think that this is Marco Rubio’s time, as many of you are buying into the thesis that Rubio is the one who can best navigate the tricky high wire between the hard right and establishment wings of the GOP.  Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and John Kasich are the next trio, a fine mix of the outsider, Tea Party and moderate factions of the party.  

A year ago Jeb Bush was the toast of the town, and in 2012, right after Barack Obama’s reelection, it was a pre-Bridgegate Chris Christie who was flying high.  Christie is basically living in New Hampshire now, holding on to his ever fainter hopes of drawing an inside straight there and spring boarding to the nomination.  (At least he has a path, however, unlike much of the remaining GOP field.)

GOP
Nov '14
Nov '14
Nov '15
Rubio
10%
13%
46%
Trump
0%
0%
14%
Cruz
0%
13%
11%
Kasich
0%
0%
11%
Romney
0%
7%
7%
Bush
30%
47%
4%
Christie
50%
7%
4%
Carson
0%
0%
4%
Walker
0%
7%
0%
Paul
0%
7%
0%
Ryan
5%
0%
0%
McConnell
5%
0%
0%

And the winner?  Hillary Clinton by a landslide.  There is a smattering of thought that Rubio or Trump may pull off the win, but 89% of you believe we will see another President Clinton in 2017, and our very first woman Chief Executive.

Winner
Nov '14
Nov '14
Nov '15
Clinton
70%
100%
89%
Rubio
5%
0%
7%
Trump
0%
0%
4%
Christie
10%
0%
0%
Ryan
5%
0%
0%
Granholm
5%
0%
0%
McConnell
5%
0%
0%


As for my own picks, I went with Hillary for the Dems and to win the general, but after much thought settled on Ted Cruz for the GOP nod.  It was only six months ago that I said only three members of the large GOP field could possibly secure the nomination:  Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio and Scott Walker (who led at the time).  That may still be true (although, of course, Walker has dropped out).  While Jeb is fading, he still has a “path,” and Rubio is, of course, in the thick of it. 

But it is hard to rule out, at this point, a Trump, Carson or Cruz nomination.  Trump and Carson continue to lead the field and the closer we get to Iowa, the less of a reality show illusion their candidacies look to be.  But here is my rationale for Cruz:
  • He is a very strong fit for the evangelically-dominated early primary season, with a solid path starting with Iowa, through to South Carolina, and on to Super Tuesday across the south.
  • He has tons of money, having raised more than anyone except Jeb Bush
  • He is well organized in all of those early states
  • He has little competition on the Tea Party flank, while the “establishment” wing of the party has not settled on Bush or Rubio or Kasich or even Christie; this is very unlike 2012 when there were many crazies on the right (Cain, Santorum, Bachmann, Gingrich et al) and only Mitt Romney on the moderate side.
  • He is a brilliant debater, a skill he cultivated at Princeton long ago.  He rarely denigrates an opponent, always speaks directly to the camera, that is, the electorate (and not the moderator or the studio audience) and is always on message, delivering clear statements of his beliefs to an adoring base
  • He is true to the cause; Ted Cruz is not memorizing briefing books.  He is much like Santorum in 2012, the one candidate who could articulate the conservative cause from both the heart and the mind.  Except he is much smarter than Santorum and a much stronger candidate

Please be clear, I despise all that Ted Cruz stands for.  But I think he and Rubio will battle it out for delegates in the spring.  And if Trump, Carson and Bush hang around with them, we might not have anyone with a majority of the delegates when the convention rolls around.  Which, I’m guessing, is why Mitt Romney received a few mentions in the projections.  The convention might turn to him; stranger things have happened – and are happening right now (see:  Donald Trump is at the top of the GOP polls).

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