Sunday, March 13, 2016

Early March: The national polls

I took a week off after Super Tuesday, mainly because I scheduled four midterms for a single week. I also got the feeling there wasn't much left to either race, but Sanders' win in Michigan and the escalating violence at Trump rallies makes me think I wrote off the nominations too soon.

The GOP: Where did Carson's support go? Right now, it looks like it went to Cruz and maybe Kasich, who finally polls above the None of the Above nationally.  As we will see tomorrow, the polls say he is in contention to win the all or nothing primary in Ohio.

As for Rubio, the national polls make him look stronger than he actually is. While Kasich could be a favorite son in Ohio, all the polls show Trump lapping the field in winner take all Florida.

I'm pretty sure we will have no more than three candidates before the next time I report, possibly only two. I really can't say who will be favored when it gets down to Trump vs. Cruz, even though now the ratio of support for Trump is an impressive 3:2. That would mean he would lead 60% to 40% if all the folks who supported other candidates split evenly, but I don't think that's the situation. For political junkies like me, we've already made up our minds, but a lot of the general public know how they feel about Trump and maybe Clinton, but the rest of the candidates are a blur. I will now go on the record saying Trump's support is not going to get to 50% in the average of national polls on the GOP side. He might lead Cruz, but I don't think he will lead Cruz + None of the Above combined.
The Dems: And then there is the Democratic race. A lot of smart people said Sanders' early victories were not big enough to move forward to actually passing Clinton, but then Michigan happened. No smart person said Sanders could win Michigan or even make it close, because smart people rely on data they can trust, and no data said it was close.

Let me be clear. The complete systemic failure of all polling in Michigan does not mean all polls are complete crap. Primary contests can be very changeable, unlike the general election, where the bombardment of data for months tend to ossify people's positions. But right now, I'm not assuming much when polls put Clinton in the lead, especially if the lead is less than 5 points.

Tomorrow, the reports on the biggest races in both parties on Tuesday, especially the winner take all races in Ohio, Florida and Missouri.

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