Monday, February 01, 2016

The big political week ahead

-- With the capitulation of Debbie Wasserman Schultz's embargo on Democratic debates, there are now two events scheduled post-Iowa and pre-New Hampshire: a town hall on Wednesday evening hosted by CNN and the debate that almost wasn't on Thursday night, moderated by MSNBC's Rachel Maddow and Chuck Todd.  These events will take place with whatever spin the campaigns will be generating from the Hawkeye State's caucus results, which I have predicted will be a Clinton win of some proportion larger than the last and most historically accurate poll conducted.  With a sizable lead in New Hampshire, Sanders must still improve his standing with not-so-white electorates in Nevada (he's not close) and South Carolina (he's not close) in order to make it a contest to Super Tuesday, where the biggest prize is Texas (and he's not close here either, though the polling is dated).

Should Bernie pull off the upset tonight -- after all, his 2-point deficit is within the Register's MoE of 4% -- and with NH all but in the can for him, history would be Feeling the Bern.  That would scramble the race tremendously.  I'd like to see it happen but I just don't think it will.

Update: Quinnipiac's poll released today shows Sanders with a 3-point lead over Clinton -- precisely at the MoE -- and Trump pulling away from Cruz, for whatever these last-minute results are worth. Q's polling gets a good report card from Nate Silver, if that also means anything.  I'd say it means "nailbiter" for both parties late into tonight.

-- As for the Republicans, Trump is favored to win tonight also in the polling, but my stated belief is that he gets upset by Ted Cruz, whose ground game in Iowa is unmatched and his followers are as fervent as The Donald's.

So watch the turnout for the GOP tonight, because that will produce higher (or lower) expectations for Trump, Cruz, and Marco Rubio, who's finally showing some signs of life.  Update: And may win the crown awarded by the media if he finishes a close third.

Pollsters have noted differences in their results when they change their assumptions about voter turnout. Trump's success in particular depends on first-time voters registering and showing up to caucus. A recent Monmouth University poll found that when likely Iowa caucus-goers are polled, Trump leads Cruz 30 percent to 23 percent. However, when the pollster narrows the sample size to registered Republicans who have a history of voting, the odds shift in Cruz's favor and he leads Trump 28 percent to 23 percent.

Monmouth's poll of likely Iowa caucus-goers is based on an estimate of 170,000 voters coming out, which surpasses Iowa's 122,000 record turnout in 2012. Increasing the turnout estimate to 200,000 gives Trump an 11-point lead, while decreasing it to 130,000 ties the two opponents at 26 percent.

There's also this from Cong. Steve King, R-Cantaloupe Calves, a demonstrated moron on immigration but probably not as dumb about his state's politics.

"If there is a turnout that goes well above 135,000, then that looks well (sic) for Trump," said U.S. Rep. Steve King of Iowa, a national co-chair of Cruz's campaign. "If there's a turnout that's down in that area, still a record turnout — something 135,000 or less — then that looks really good for Ted Cruz, and it's a more legitimate measure — the loyal caucus goers that are paying attention and evaluating on the issues."

King's been taking lessons from the Sarah Palin School of English, but we can still divine the point: turnout around 130-135K makes Ted Cruz look genuinely happy instead of his usual fake and creepy.

I wasted an hour of my life watching the second episode of "The Circus", with the four guys running for third place in the GOP primary, on Showtime over the weekend.  Don't bother with it.  It's terrible, they're terrible, the reporters -- Mark Halperin, John Heileman, Mark McKinnon -- are terrible.  Maybe the first episode with the front-runners was better, but I'm not giving the series any more chances.  Just watching McKinnon, in that short brim Stetson that looks too big on him, who's so scrawny he looks like a cancer victim, pick at -- but not taste -- any of a beautiful pastrami sandwich from Katz' Deli in New York was enough to put me off, but then they started in with Jeb and Fat Bastard, who's allegedly had a lap band for over three years and still looks morbidly obese. I had to take my nausea meds before they even got to Rubio.  What does that tell you?

But do read this on the four roads out of Iowa, with the bias of mine being on Road Number Four.

-- Voting in New Hampshire a week from tomorrow, more spin for a couple of weeks, and then Nevada and South Carolina close out February.


Gadfly said...

Per Dick Morris, latest polling by Fox, at least, shows a new surge for Bernie ... among black voters.

Per what I said on my superdelegates blog post, this is entirely believable as part of growth in name recognition and following from there:

Gadfly said...

Oh, speaking of spin, that's one thing that Bernie's camp prolly needs to learn to do better. And, it's the camp, not Bernie in person, on that. (Bernie in person could learn the art of schmoozing better, and yeah, I know that A. He won't and B. He doesn't care, even if that's a wrong 'not care" in this case.)