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.