Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Iowa Polls:
Fourth Week of December

 The Dems: Only one poll tracking Iowa has been registered since last week, and it gave good news to O'Malley and Clinton, both taking a few points from Sanders. Overall, the relative positions remain steady, with Clinton holding on to a double digit lead over Sanders, while O'Malley trails far behind, still hoping to get ahead of None of the Above.

The GOP: My standard operating procedure is to track the candidates who are doing better than the None of the Above average, and I will admit to fudging those rules in two cases. I should ignore O'Malley on the Democratic side and should give some credit to Jeb:(, who is now at 5%, slightly above the 4.6% number for None of the Above number for December. Here are my reasons for the inconsistencies.

1. On the Democratic side, there is so little data to track, adding O'Malley to the mix doesn't make the graph any harder to read.

2. Jeb:( is not making a surge, the NotA has taken a plunge. Jeb:( has actually gone down, from 5.5% in November to 5.0% in December, not even half the very weak numbers of The Completely Sane and Honest Ben Carson.

As for the leaders, the news gets better and better for the two de facto front runners, Donald Trump and Ted 'The Snake' Cruz, while Rubio and Carson are slipping slightly.

This will be the last report on the blog in 2015 and on Sunday the 3 of January the weekly reports will begin again. I wish all my readers a Happy New Year and the polling starts to get serious, especially in the first two states to report.

Monday, December 28, 2015

The New Hampshire polls:
Fourth Week of December

 The GOP: As December winds down, the big change in this graph is the disappearance of The Completely Sane and Honest Ben Carson and the appearance for the first time of John Kasich, marked in light green. As you can see, he hasn't made a big advance, but is now in fifth place and above None of the Above for the time being. Jeb:( is in sixth and might make an appearance next month if his numbers get a little better. Carson is in seventh now and his only good news is that nobody below him looks primed for a run.

The Dems: Only one new polls since the last time the info was posted and it showed Hillary with a small lead. Sanders still has the lead in the polling average for the month.

Tomorrow: the monthly averages from Iowa polling.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

The National Polls:
Fourth Week of December

 Non-politicians vs politicians: This week, I start with graph of the sum of Trump/Carson/Fiorina vs. Everybody Else, ignoring the None of the Above. You don't have to be a fan of the original Ghostbusters to see that The Streams Have Crossed. Technically, the non-politicians have the slenderest of leads at 50.1% to 49.9%, but you get the idea. As of now, Donald Trump is THE non-politician. Ben Carson is in fourth place nationally, but he is re-defining the term "campaign in disarray", while Carly Fiorina's numbers are in the Old Dead Animal category.

 The GOP: Here is how I look at this graph.

1. Donald Trump is obviously leading, but I don't know what the ceiling of his upward trend is, or even if the trend is truly still upward.

2. Ted 'The Snake' Cruz has a true upward trend. I can't say that with certainty about anybody else whose numbers are above the None of the Above threshold.

3. The Completely Sane and Honest Ben Carson is still falling, though the rate of change this week was less than worst tumbles this month.

Here's what I know about the stuff I don't show.

1. Chris Christie and Jeb:( are in a flat-footed tie for fifth/sixth place. The Christie camp should spin this as good news. The Jeb:( camp... I have no idea how bad things are there, and I worked at failed start-ups in Silicon Valley back in the day.

The Dems: No real change from last week worth mentioning. I get the feeling Iowa is going to be much more important to the Democratic nomination that it will be to the Republicans, unless Trump takes an absolute pounding.

Tomorrow, the New Hampshire numbers.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Iowa Polls: Third week of December

 The GOP: Starting with the Republicans in Iowa, so far the most interesting contest. Ted Cruz leads Donald Trump in the polling, but Iowa is a tricky place to poll because likely caucus attendees are very hard to find. With this low turnout, the polls even in the last week before the contest can be way off. That said, Iowa is about energizing your supporters and have a good organization on the ground. Trump had no trouble with the first part, but reporters are saying it is really hard to find Trump organizers. Maybe he's trying some Just In Time hiring practices, or maybe this is just another of his many flaws as a businessman.

Here are the changes in the numbers from the previous December averages.

Cruz: up 1.4 percentage points
Trump: up 1.1 percentage points
Rubio: up 0.1 percentage points
Carson: down 1.1 percentage points
None of the Above: down 1.4 percentage points

As you can see, the sum of these five categories have changed only a little, so there hasn't been much movement in the numbers of the folks not mentioned here. The Completely Sane and Honest Ben Carson is in serious free fall, but so is None of the Above. Jeb:( is now above None of the Above, but only slightly. If he has another good week and NotA stays low, he might get on the graph as his Festivus present.

The Dems: All the candidates went up from last week, taking their votes from the None of the Above voters.

Hillary: up 0.6 percentage points
Bernie: up 0.3 percentage points
None of the Above: down 1.1 percentage points
O'Malley: up 0.2 percentage points

The gap isn't closing for Sanders, but once again, I have to say Iowa is a caucus state and by their nature, they are tough to predict. I have no idea how well organized the two main candidates are in Iowa, but they are pros and I expect they have boots on the ground in sufficient numbers. The big question will be supporter enthusiasm and that means Bernie has a chance to surprise.

More numbers next week.

Monday, December 21, 2015

The New Hampshire polls:
Third Week of December

The GOP: The slope graph shows the change in polling averages from November to December, but I am also going to list the change in the December average from week to week.

Trump +1.2
Cruz +1.0
Rubio +0.3
Carson -0.8
Christie +0.4
None of the Above:-1.8

Since I am supposed to be tracking the candidates above the None of the Above threshold, it's time to say goodbye to The Completely Sane and Honest Ben Carson. This chart shows him in fifth, but as of the latest polls, he is now in seventh, trailing Jeb:( and John Kasich. Barring a miracle, his numbers will not be part of the picture next week in New Hampshire, though he does remain in fourth place in Iowa and well ahead of the guys jockeying for fifth.

The Dems: Bernie Sanders had a good week, extending his lead over Hillary.

Sanders +3.0
Clinton +1.0
None of the Above -2.5
O'Malley -1.5

Of course, Iowa comes before New Hampshire and a good showing in the caucuses will effect the campaign coverage at the very least. A view of both races in The Hawkeye State tomorrow.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

The national polls:
Third Week of December

 The GOP: Hanukkah has come and gone and so has the drought of polling data. There were only three polls each in the last week of November and the first week of December, but the last two weeks have had plenty of data and the message is simple.

Tropical Depression Trump is reaching hurricane force and only Ted 'The Snake' Cruz is making any headway.

Politicians vs Non-politicians: This particular graph is meaning less and less as time goes on, as Fiorina is still on a slow slide after her spectacular crash and Carson is still mid-spectacular crash. I think it might make more sense to start tracking Trump vs. The Next Three, because this week for the first time he is out-polling Cruz, Rubio and Carson combined.

(Note: for anyone terrified that sanity cannot prevail, the state level polls in Hew Hampshire and Iowa tell a different story.)

The Dems:  Not nearly as much drama in the national polls for the Democratic nomination, though like the GOP, there is some drama in the polls for the early state races.  As you might guess, all these polls are prior to the debate last night.

Tomorrow: the polls from New Hampshire.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The Iowa Polls: Second week of December

The Dems: Hillary Clinton's undeniable lead in the national polls is not enough for her to be leading in New Hampshire, but in Iowa it's another story. That said, I noticed a pattern in 2011-2012 that as primaries got closer to actually happening, the numbers could change dramatically as more of the electorate would be paying attention. Is this good or bad for Hillary? Let's look at the three numbers we have at the moment.

National polls: Clinton +25.1%
New Hampshire polls: Sanders +4%
Iowa polls: Clinton +15.8%

This small sample size says more scrutiny is not a good thing for Hillary and can give the Sanders fans some hope. As for O'Malley supporters, the numbers right now say... m'eh.

The GOP: As anyone paying attention knows, I'm putting up all the data on the declared candidates and None of the Above in the Democratic race, but I am not showing the lesser candidates among the GOP. In Iowa, all the dramatic changes are here, as Trump, Rubio and everyone not mentioned have changed less than a percentage point up or down, while three numbers visible on the chart have made big changes.

Cruz: up 12.2 points
Carson: down 8.4 points
None of the Above: down 2.7 points

The net effect looks like lots of Iowans are changing their minds and their new choice is Ted 'The Snake' Cruz. Of course, Trump is apoplectic about the bad news. I would not put it past Trump to simply buy a few thousand eligible Iowans for some single day payment in the $100 range to boost his numbers, though it will make his true believers feel like saps for showing up for free.

Making people feel like saps is standard operating procedure for Trump, so I don't think he'll lose any sleep over it.

More news next week.

Monday, December 14, 2015

The New Hampshire polls: Second week of December

Welcome to the first installment of state poll watching, in particular New Hampshire. Sometimes, dominance in the national polls does not translate into dominance in every state poll, as we will see today and tomorrow, when we look at the Iowa numbers.

On the Republican side, Donald Trump does have a lead in the Granite State, though not quite as dominant as his lead nationwide, and it's Marco Rubio in second. Ben Carson's fall from grace in New Hampshire is much steeper than his national slippage and he is currently hovering below the None of the Above numbers.

Chris Christie is currently in fourth in New Hampshire and just barely behind Ted 'The Snake' Cruz, much better than his anemic national numbers putting him in sixth place, barely in the lead of the group hovering around 3%.

Not shown on the chart are Jeb:(, tied with Carson at 7.3%, and Kasich, polling at 7%. They aren't part of the picture because they haven't been above None of the Above either in November or December. If they improve, they could be included in the overall picture.

And then we have the Democrats, where we see our first inversion. Bernie Sanders is in the lead this month, though that only means two polls so far. (The paucity of polls is the reason I'm going with the monthly picture. This might change in January.) I can't predict if the press will give Sanders more coverage if he wins and makes it a horse race - the press loves horse races- or if they will accept the conventional wisdom that winning in New Hampshire is not a surprise because he's from Vermont. I think it will be the former, and if he pulls off a win in Iowa as well, then the press will run with the "Hillary's in trouble" meme for sure.

What's Bernie's situation in Iowa? Stop by tomorrow to find out.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

National polls: Second week of December

 Politicians vs. non-politicians: The two weeks prior to this had only three polls each. This week has nine polls. Given that much data, I think we can spot some trends.

The advantage the non-politicians (Trump, Carson, Fiorina) have over the rest of the GOP field shrunk a little. Given Carson's extended slump and Fiorina's hovering around 3%, I think these numbers could tighten up even more. Of course, Trump is still getting good news in the polls, but so are Cruz, Rubio and occasionally some of the folks in the back of the pack, notably Chris Christie in New Hampshire.

I would also like to say I predicted in mid-November that the advantage for non-politicians would continue a downward turn by Chanukah, and now that it's Chanukah, I can a small victory in a very mild prediction.

The GOP: There is some jockeying for second place, but Donald Trump is still the national leader. For the first time, Ted 'The Snake' Cruz is in second all by himself, Marco Rubio in third and Ben Carson is in fourth. I would not be surprised to see Carson slip under the None of the Above threshold by the middle of next month, if not sooner. (Count this as a prediction made.) To give a sneak preview of the features starting this week, his numbers in Iowa are bad and his trend in New Hampshire actually sucks.

The Dems: If we ignore the last two weeks due to small sample size, right now the national trends are minimal, Hillary and Bernie down slightly, None of the Above and O'Malley up, but also just slightly.

New features this week: It is my experience from 2011-12 that the national polls give a rough idea, but the state polls are where the real action is.  Accordingly, I will be publishing three times a week starting tomorrow.

Sundays: Still the same stuff I've been doing since August, national poll averages for the week for the GOP and Dems, as well as tracking the Non-politicians vs. politicians on the Republican side.

Mondays: Monthly averages for the top candidates in New Hampshire in both parties.

Tuesdays: Monthly averages for the top candidates in Iowa in both parties.

As a teaser, I can say that each state has bad news for at least one front runner.

Tune in tomorrow!

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Post #19: The beginning of December

The post last week was based on only three polls and the same is true this week, though obviously three different polls. Nearly every big jump or big drop has had a course correction. We start with the Non-politicians advantage over the politicians, which appears to have stopped its slide for the time being. I think the trend will continue to slip over the next few weeks because both Carson's and Fiorina's numbers have been deflating over time. How long the love affair with Donald Trump lasts is anybody's guess, but he may very soon be doing all the heavy lifting.

The GOP: Donald Trump had a big jump last week, but came back down. His general trend is still positive.

Ben Carson plummeted last week, but he came back up. His general trend is still negative, but he is back in second place, with Ted "The Snake" Cruz in third and Marco Rubio in fourth. Jeb:( is still in fifth at around 6%. No one in the lower tier is above 3% this week. I speculated Mike Huckabee might make a run if Carson's numbers slipped, but his numbers just sit there like an old dead animal. I don't know how anyone now polling less than Jeb:( is going to make their mark in the next two months, and anyone who stinks the place out in both Iowa and New Hampshire is pretty much toast.

The one thing that makes me trust this week's three polls over last week's three polls is that None of the Above also bounced back. The big drop was due to a poll that said the undecided vote was at -2%. This is the perfect example of why I like more polls on which to base a weekly average, mainly to give the outliers less power. That said, Trump's alleged slump is based on a single outlier as well. We may not have seen Peak Trump yet.

The Dems: Once again, big changes that were shown in the graph last Sunday leveled out some this week. Hillary's peak performance came back down, but she still is well above 50% in the national average. Bernie had a good week and Martin O'Malley is back to polling under None of the Above. I cannot say with any confidence what the actual percentages for each candidate are, but I am convinced the relative positions - Hillary leading, Sanders second, O'Malley under None of the Above - are accurate.

Another update next week.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Post #18: The last week of November

I think what I am about to do is taught in Marketing 101 as Big Mistake #1, but I'm about to slam my product this week. There were only three polls released, largely because of the holiday, and because the data set is so small, we see some big swings that I can't recognize as real just yet. There may be more polls released on Monday and Tuesday that change the numbers, but if that's the case, we won't see them until next Sunday.

The GOP chart has the three huge changes, with Trump going up 6.3 points to his highest level ever, while Ben Carson drops 7.3 points into a tie for third and fourth place with Ted Cruz. (I think more polls will come in and Dr. Carson drop won't be as severe, but I do think the general downward trend will continue.) We also have a 3.3 point drop in None of the Above, the one result I can clearly explain.

I never name individual polling companies unless I plan to speak ill of their product, and that is the case this week with Gravis Marketing, a name I remember from 2011-12 with no fondness. While some companies are lazy about the undecided, Gravis is either dogged in their persistence or they make numbers up. I find the second explanation more likely. In any case, their poll results added up this week to show that -2% of the the GOP electorate is undecided at this juncture. It could be rounding error and it could be a bullshit poll. I think I have already said which I think is the more likely scenario.
Non-politicians vs politicians: Given that Carson dropped more than Trump rose, and add to that a small loss by Carly Fiorina, The gap between the totals for the politicians and non-politicians showed a rise for the politicians for the second consecutive week. Yet again, I don't trust these numbers completely.
The Dems: The explanation for the drop in None of the Above is the same as above, crazy low levels of N.O.T.A./Undecided from Gravis Marketing. It also shows big gains for Hillary and O'Malley and a small tick down for Sanders. I would not be surprised to see a course correction next week for all those numbers.

And as I just said, more numbers next week.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Post #17: The third week of November

 The Dems: This week, we will go from the easiest things to explain to the most difficult.

The graph is obvious. Hillary has a commanding lead, Sanders is clearly in second and O'Malley is gaining ground slowly. None of the Above is slowly descending from the peak value when the pollsters stopped asking about Biden and the actual candidates Chaffee and Webb dropped out.

O'Malley is actually on a Sunday talk show this week (ABC's This Week), so he might get a boost. His average percentage in the polls this week is an anemic 3.1%, but that is more than Christie, Kasich, Paul, Huckabee, Gilmore (snicker), Santorum, Jindal, Graham or Pataki. The first three guys on that list of losers are also on the Sunday shows, as are Ben Carson and Marco Rubio.

More of the obvious liberal bias of the media.

Non-politicians vs. Politicians: Here's the next simplest thing to explain. This was a bad week for non-politicians and a relatively good week for several people who have held elected office. As we will see in the next graph, None of the Above took a fairly big hit, though not big enough for Jeb:( to rise above it.
The GOP: Front runner Donald Trump had a small slip last week, but it could very likely just be a statistical wobble. His nearest contender Ben Carson is on a three week slide that seems real. From pyramid grain storage to belt buckles to a crazy re-alignment of all of New England in a map his campaign is using, Carson just keeps stepping in it. These aren't the results of gotcha questions, this is just reporting the stuff that comes out of his mouth and from his official campaign. I wish I could say he's clearly toast, but saying demonstrably wrong things is not enough to sink a campaign in 2015.

At least so far.

I do not count as the media, but I will admit bias. I have always thought that as Carson and/or Trump started slipping, the angriest politician would pick up the slack, and I predicted it would be Ted "The Snake" Cruz. I have given his graph a bright orange color, a dotted line and big triangular markings in honor of my nickname for him. This week, it looks like a dead heat for third between him and Marco Rubio, but in reality, Rubio leads 11.3% to 11.1%. The trends aren't crystal clear and a lot of crazy shit can happen in this race, but I expect Cruz will be no lower than second by the end of December.

There were some gains among the also-rans this week, as should be expected when Trump, Carson and None of the Above all decline. Christie had a bad week the week before this and slipped to 1.6%, but bounced back to 2.9% over the most recent seven day average. This keeps the New Jersey governor in the race for sixth place, hoping to pass Carly Fiorina, still at about half the support of Jeb:(, which is about half the level of Cruz and Rubio.

Have I said there are too many people in this race? Did I mention Jindal dropped out?

Okay, I said it and I mentioned it. There's nothing interesting to say about either of those facts, so let me repeat my modest predictions for the coming weeks.

1. Ben Carson will likely continue to slip.
2. Ted Cruz is most likely to gain as Carson and/or Trump lose ground.
3. I don't see any particular trend for Trump or Rubio at the moment.

I wish I could say Trump's closing of the mosques idea and his desire for a Muslim database will finally be the crazy shit wake-up call to his sleepwalking followers that his presidency would be a truly awful idea, but I honestly have no idea what will get people off the crazy train.

More next week.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Post #16: The second week of November

The GOP: This week, Festivus comes early and I will begin with The Airing of Grievances, foregoing for the time being The Feats of Strength.

I write this blog because I dislike the way numbers are treated by the vast majority of the press. I will readily admit that Nate Silver's website has been a step in the right direction, but it's more like a stutter step, sometimes pushing the numbers harder than they should be pushed, and all too often concerned with nonsense and what looks like product placement. Still, compared to most media, they look good.

That's enough ragging with caveats on Nate Silver for the time being, let's get to the main press.

I have read WAY too many articles calling Ben Carson the front runner. If you look at the big picture, he's been in second place since late August and never in first when you take the averages of polls instead of being dazzled by bright, shiny outliers.

If we look at this week's results, Carson's numbers took their second consecutive week of beatings, which might be explained by his odd statements and his time spent on the defensive, but I have my doubts. This week had only three GOP polls, one of them from the extremely suspicious polling company Rasmussen. On the Republican side, we often have six or more polls, so the data this week is suspect for me both for the quantity and quality of polling.

Rasmussen has stunk the joint out in the general election, always in the bag for the right wing, but in this poll they are suspicious for how little work they were willing to do. Instead of giving numbers for the whole field, they only marked the responses for Trump, Carson, Rubio, Cruz, Bush and Fiorina. While I they are currently the top six, I'm not convinced all the rest of the candidates can be buried quietly yet, especially Mike Huckabee, who I think can speak to the mean yokel Christians in a language even Ted 'The Snake' Cruz hasn't quite mastered.

Politicians vs Non-Politicians: It looks like a good week for non-politicians as their numbers tick upwards, but it's really a good week for None of the Above.  If the supposed trend we are seeing for Ben Carson is true, expect the Non-Politician trend to suffer as well as we head towards Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and the Winter Solstice.

(Is there a holiday I'm forgetting in that time period? I forget.)
The Democrats: One thing I will say for the Democrats, their poll numbers are easy to read in graph format. It's still Hillary first, Bernie second and then O'Malley WAY behind. In the two weeks since the polling companies stopped asking about Biden, Chafee and Webb, Sanders has seen the biggest point increase as the None of the Above vote has waned. Bernie can last a very long time with cash he has, but the proof of the pudding will be if he can win New Hampshire, which is not a sure bet.

More info next week, assuming the polling companies get off their duffs and give us some numbers.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Post #15: First week of November

The GOP: Well, it finally happened. The press has been harping on the misfortunes of Jeb:( for some time now, while his numbers had been hovering in fourth place, neither gaining or retreating much. The polls this week really beat him up and he slid well below None of the Above and off the chart of this blog for the time being.

It's my view the media just got its teeth into a narrative about Jeb:( in disarray and never let go. I'll admit he sucks at running, but this field is chock full of guys (and gal) who suck at campaigning. The media might pick on him in particular because he has so much money, but what good does the money do right now? There are a few ads running aimed at New Hampshire and Iowa, but it's chump change compared to what December and January will look like.

Overtaking both him and the None of the Above threshold is Ted 'The Snake' Cruz. Cruz's progress is the dotted orange line with the black boxes. I will likely experiment with this to make it even more serpent-like in the next few weeks, Think coral snake or diamondback.

Non-politicians vs. politicians: A bad week for Carson and Trump was mirrored by good weeks for Rubio and Cruz, so the upward trend for the newbies has finally been halted for now. I have no idea if the self-inflicted wounds of Ben Carson will really hurt him with his base or not, but most happened after the last polls of the week, so the results of the next few weeks will be instructive. It's my view that evangelicals have decided in the majority Trump is not one of them, so I think votes Carson loses will go to a politician. Ted Cruz makes the right noises for the right-wing Christians, but I wouldn't be surprised if it also helps the fortunes of Mike Huckabee, who needs all the help he can get.

The Dems: One nice thing about the Democratic chart is that it is easy to read. Sanders made a slight gain, but I can't say that it's necessarily anything but the random wobble we see from week to week. It will be clearer if and when None of the Above gets down to about 10% again.

More news next week.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Post # 14:
Week of Oct. 24 to 30

GOP: Welcome to November! We are thirteen weeks and one day away for actual votes being cast, which is to say the start of this blog is as far away in the past as electoral reality is away in the future.

Once again... my bad.

Not much changed this week. Ben Carson showed the most improvement while the other lines on the graph - Trump in a commanding first place, Marco Rubio is third and Jeb:( all show very modest improvement. Just below the radar, we are seeing signs of Peak Ted Cruz in fifth place, but my view is that it's still way too early.

This clearly isn't 2011. Is it 2007? It always helps to have a baseline comparison, and folks who look at polls are giving up on the idea that 2015-16 looks anything like 2011-12. That year, Romney was the mainstream choice of party leaders and the voters didn't warm up to him at first, if they ever truly did. We had Michele Bachmann winning the Iowa Straw Poll - effectively and mercifully killing this little piece of early bullshit - and after that glitch, the rise and fall of Rick Perry, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum as the erstwhile Not Romneys.

Obviously, we don't have this kind of turnover this year, so folks who look at charts for fun are now wondering if this is more like 2007, when both parties had to get new candidates. Twelve months away from the general, the heirs apparent were Rudy Giuliani and Hillary Clinton, neither of whom made it to the finish line. Maybe that's our baseline model.

If we are looking at a 2007 type race, who should stick around?  The eventual winners were the second place guy on both sides, Barack Obama and John McCain. The Lamestream Media (the best turn of phrase from the right wing this century) were hoping for a horse race and claimed there were a lot of Hillary voters that were deeply pissed and Obama was in trouble, but that was bullshit. It was McCain who wasn't on top of the Crazy Wing, even after he put Crazy Winger Sarah Palin on the ticket.

If we use that model, only Hillary, Sanders, Trump and Carson have a ghost of a chance.

That would say the GOP will nominate someone from The Very Crazy Wing.

When you use the phrase "Crazy Wing", doesn't this show your inherent bias, Professor? No, it does not, you imaginary sea lion.

Many folks to the left of any Republican senator think they are listening to what right wingers hear if they pick a talk show radio host or two and skim through Fox News.

These people are mean well, but they are wrong.

The information the most loyal Republican primary voters are getting is batshit crazy. If it's like 2007, everyone below second place should quit, which means either Trump or Carson will get the nod. My guess at this point is that Carson will not have the stomach for months of scorn and tough questions and Trump will get even worse when he is in second place.

Oddly enough, the guy whose "outsider" bona fides are best is Ted Cruz. His claim to outsider status is that while he is in fact in Washington DC, but everybody hates him. Given the temperature we are getting from the GOP base right now, I think he should definitely stay in.

Other people below his numbers think they must stay in to make sure there particular vision for the party will come to pass.

All of them should walk away. I give the group of Huckabee, Paul, Fiorina, Christie, Gilmore, Graham, Jindal, Santorum, Kasich and Pataki a total sum of 0.0% chance to get the nomination. I think Rubio, Bush and Cruz might climb from the depths. I have no such view for the rest.

Now, let me say I am a liberal, which means I try to deal with reality. In the words of Science Guy Bill Nye, I can be swayed by evidence.

Currently, there is no evidence for the bottom ten GOP candidates. They are all equally dead meat. 

 Non-politicians vs. politicians: Yet again, the non-politicians made gains among the currently decided at the expense of the people who have actually held elected office. Governors have positioned themselves as "Washington outsiders" forever, but they aren't nearly as outside as Trump, Carson or Fiorina. A lot of think pieces are wondering if presidential politics will now be Insider vs. Outsider races instead of Dem vs. GOP.

(A plus point for my side of the aisle. Lawrence Lessig makes some very good points, is an outsider and has exactly fuck all of a chance to win. The left is not as in love with the circus as the right is.)

But simply put, we've handed out the fun-sized Snickers bars to the future socialist kiddies and teh Crazy Wing in the GOP is still with us and still metastasizing.

Maybe the GOP insiders will suck it up, hire someone smarter than they are to make their best candidate palatable and face Hillary or Bernie in the general election.

Maybe. It's possible. I just wouldn't put any money on it unless I was getting a fantastic payoff, at least 5 to 1.

For people who like it in clean numbers, I think it's at least an 83% chance right how that Trump, Carson or Cruz will get the nod, and about 17% for anybody else.
The Dems. My original intent was only to track candidates that could stay about None of the Above, but the Democratic race is so quiet, I can easily track Martin O'Malley without having it resemble the messy scramble of the GOP. I made one prediction last week after the multiple dropouts, and that was None of the Above making the big gain. That was so obvious I deserve little credit, but I also said the NotA would slide back down by Thanksgiving, which obviously remains to be seen.

More next week.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Post #13:
Week of Oct. 17 to 23

 Dems: This a week of apologies and surprises. I start with the Democrats because more actually relevant things are happening in this race, though as anyone can see it's not much of a race.

Surprise #1 and apology #1. How often do I get to write "The pundits were right and I was wrong"?

Looking back on posts from several blogs going back ten years... this is the first time.

Yes, you guys beat me. I'd quote Han Solo and say "Don't get cocky", but there is no chance in the seven hells the pundits won't be cocky 24/7 about something.

And here is my defeat. All the polls this week are after the debate and the numbers say Hillary won.

I thought Sanders did. In my weak defense, I will not say Sanders lost.  His numbers stayed steady.

Surprises #2 and #3. I didn't think Lincoln Chafee and Jim Webb would throw in their respective towels so quickly. As I tweeted this week, there are five GOP candidates just as dead in the water as these guys, but Jindal, Graham, Pataki, Santorum and Gilmore don't have enough money or sense between them to buy a clue.

Complete non-surprise #1: Biden said no.  He stalled entirely too long, but I never though he would run. The thing is, with three of the also-rans gone, next week will be interesting in a horse race way. My bet would be that None of the Above gets the immediate boost, but it will slide down to where it is now (or lower) by about Thanksgiving.

 GOP: A good week for Trump, slips backward for Carson, Rubio and Jeb... (my new nickname for him; the ellipsis makes you feel as though there must be something else, right?) Cruz is still the King of the Invisibles. 

Free market capitalism in action, sort of: Jeb... got rid of staff and cut the salaries of many who remain, because as free market capitalism tells us, that ALWAYS leads to victory.

I kid... I'm a kidder.

I write that Jeb... did it, but I get the strong feeling that the people who give candidates a LOT of money are now sensibly putting conditions on it. If Jeb... quits, there will be serious cash left over and I'd bet anything it's already decided who gets the rebates and in what percentages.

Apology #2: Let me admit I started this blog too early. I started a similar weekly check of the horse race back in December of 2011. In 2012, meaningful races were held in January. In 2016, both the Iowa Caucus and the New Hampshire primary will be held in February.
 Non-Politicians vs. Politicians: The Fiorina disappearing act continues and Carson slipped a little, but Trump's gains are enough to keep the non-politicians above 60% of the vote of people who aren't undecided.

 The Baskin-Robbins of batshit crazy, part 1: There was a time the conservative media was rightfully called The Echo Chamber, and certain phrases would show up on Fox News and in the columns of conservative writers both in print and online, not to mention talk radio. But now, the vicious fractures in the GOP and the right wing are out in the open for everyone to see.

It's not yet Halloween, but Donald Trump is still scaring the holy shit out of the Republican establishment.  There are so many events that were supposed to be his downfall, and so far... not so much. Trump is no deep thinker and with very few exceptions, he doesn't back down on the crap he says. Using objective reality, he says a whole lot of batshit crazy stuff. He's a birther, an anti-vaxxer, he thinks Mexico will pay for the Great Wall of Trump, which he thinks will work, and he thinks he's an innate, untested military genius.

And here is a snapshot of just how bat-shit crazy the Republicans are. Republican voters trust Trump on foreign policy by more than 2-1 over his closest rival.

In fact, the next three rivals combined equal his total.

And just to add to the batshit crazy, the GOP voters put Hillary in fifth, ahead of Jeb...

This is a party gone mad.
The Baskin-Robbins of batshit crazy, part 2: But if we are going to talk "party gone mad", let's look at Ben Carson's positives. A lot of people are noticing how much he loves comparing stuff to Hitler and/or slavery, but that's what his supporters like about him.

All this is before his chat with Chuck Todd today when he said he wants to get rid of Medicare, abortion is equal to slavery and there can be no exceptions and what our country really needs is a way for students to turn in their professors to the authorities, just to make sure the students' First Amendment rights aren't being violated.

I just saw Bridge of Spies, a very good Spielberg film, where Tom Hanks' character, a well-respected lawyer, says that it's the belief in the Constitution that makes us all Americans.

No disrespect to Hanks or the writers Joel and Ethan Coen, but Americans have never agreed on the Constitution really, and in the 21st Century the splits are worse than ever.

As someone who is very keen on objective reality, I have no problem saying the right wing has gone batshit crazy, and it is by no means a march in lock step towards the same batshit crazy.

More data next week.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Post #12: Week of Oct. 10 to 16

 The GOP: You'll remember I marked Peak Trump at the end of August, about six weeks ago. I also noted he was still in first place comfortably.

Well, his stock is rising again.

The correlation isn't perfect, but his bump in the road appears to have been the now cooling carcass of Carly Fiorina. As she rose, she took votes from him and as she falls, his numbers get better.

The press took a closer look at Fiorina and it didn't go well for her. The press is still reticent to look at Trump seriously. He got in bed with the New York mob to build Trump Towers out of concrete instead of the standard steel and glass of the era. Trump University, now defunct, is being investigated as a scam. He's an Obama birther and an anti-vaxx truther, two positions that fly in the face of all serious evidence.

What can take the bloom off this flower growing in the crap? It's very hard to say. As my friend the history teacher says, Trump is the id, and she's not the only one to put it this way. His followers love that he says what they wish they could say, but people who are serious about politics realize his attacks are not ideologically stable. It fascinating that he now attacks JeBush Bush with George W.'s record, blaming him for the attacks on 9/11, which is usually only the claim of far left wing voices, and of invading Iraq using false intelligence, a claim that no serious person outside the GOP can dispute. It's interesting to watch diehard neocons and online conservatives try to take Trump down. The most common insult is calling his "Bill Clinton's friend".

Dudes, I don't think that is going to work.

 Non-Politicians vs. Politicians in the GOP: I've been talking about the share of the people who favor the non-politicians compared to the politicians for a few weeks now, but this week I got the brainstorm to actually show it in a chart.

In early October, Carly Fiorina was a big part of this number, but this week she slipped below Ted Cruz into sixth place. I can't say that this means she will soon be fighting with Rand Paul and Mike Huckabee for whatever scraps the media throw her, but I wasn't impressed with her time in the spotlight, though I fully admit to not being the target market.

I make no claim to knowing when this demonstration of anger ends. The fact the battle for leadership of the House wasn't just a little one weekend show of pique shows us this fire is nowhere near 50% contained.

The Dems: Hillary's numbers are going up, Bernie is staying about level as is None of the Above and the Average of Others is sliding. Clever people will probably figure out the reason.

We reached Peak Biden a few weeks ago.

This week's polls should not be seen as a referendum on the debate just yet. About half the polls were taken before and half after. Next week's polls and the week after will give us a better idea.

Stay tuned.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Post #11:
The week of October 3 to 9

 GOP: A confession. My weeks for polling end on Friday, but sometimes a poll gets reported late. Last week on Sunday it looked like nearly everyone we are watching was deflating, but a late poll helped both Trump and Carson. Now Trump is on a two-week surge, though it looks nothing like big August boom.  Can he reach his previous heights? As long as the media focus on him, I can't see him falling farther than second, and I have serious doubts about Ben Carson being able to stand up to the withering scrutiny he is about to get over his incessant comparison of everything to Hitler.

The guy who looked to be in trouble last week was JeBush Bush, but instead the polls were unkind to Carly Fiorina. She is not only below None of the Above, but a little downward pressure and she could sink below Mr. Waiting in the Wings, Ted Cruz.  If that happens, her orange line with the dung colored triangle will disappear.

I have written it before and I write it now again. When Trump and Carson deflate as I think they have to eventually, I see Ted Cruz as the standard bearer for the truly pissed off. No other candidate who holds office embraces the nihilistic wing of the GOP like Cruz, and when votes actually start getting counted next year, I think he will be a force.

Dems: Hillary is up, Bernie is up and that means... Joe Biden is down. The first debate is on Tuesday and Joe won't be there. Some think this will help him, but I am not convinced of this. I think it's much more likely one of the three guys at the bottom end will make a good impression and get a boost, though I can't say which one.

I expect Biden to make a real statement by the end of the month and I expect it to be no. I have no idea what happens then, but I certainly don't think Hillary is inevitable, any more than JeBush Bush is.  We have a long way to go and there are a lot of possibilities.

I mean except for a President named Donald, Benjamin or Carly.  That's just crazy talk.

Back next week with more.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Post #10:
The week of September 26 to October 2

 Dems: I always start with the GOP, so I decided to switch up this week. This week, I ask the question "Have we seen peak _____?" Both Clinton and Sanders are at lower numbers than their highest, but I'm not convinced that one or both of them can see higher numbers in the future. It all depends on Joe Biden shitting or getting off the pot.

Back in early September, there were some polls that didn't list Biden as an option, but for about a month now, his name is included in every poll and he is doing well. This week he is at 19.7%, well above None of the Above, but I'm taking him at his word that he hasn't made up his mind and looks more likely to say no than yes. When he is no longer an option, I expect both Clinton and Sanders to get a boost.

GOP:  On the Republican side, the question is "Have we seen Peak Everybody?" Obviously that is impossible, but this week the only candidate we follow who made a gain over last week is Rubio. For the non-politicians, each had a slow leak, but the three of them are still seriously out-polling everyone who has actually held elected office.

Non-politicians: 51.2%
Politicians: 38.2%
None of the Above: 9.6%

I am also announcing that JeBush Bush is now on double secret probation. For the third week in a row he has been below the average for None of the Above, and if that's true next week, he gets his numbers turned off. It really does seem that every time he opens his mouth, things get a little worse. No one below None of the Above is showing anything like a surge, but Ted Cruz is holding steady at around 6%. For the GOP voter in the "I want a jerk, but I'm not sure Trump is the jerk for me" category, I think a lot of them might find Cruz is just who they are looking for.

Back next week with more numbers from both races.