The Race for the GOP Nomination - Post-Thanksgiving Thread

I thought that, with Iowa only 65 days away now, we needed a thread for discussing the overall state of play in the race for the GOP Presidential nomination, rather than having to discuss developments that affect multiple candidates in the thread for one candidate or another.

This is especially true since the race has taken on a definite shape lately, now that Ben Carson’s support is apparently declining, and Jeb!'s campaign seems on its way to being a very expensive footnote. What we’re left with is Trump, Cruz, and Rubio.

Trump’s either been leading in the national polls, or (briefly) tied with Carson for the lead, since mid-July. His support in conventional polls has remained steady in the mid to upper 20s over the past two months.

His support in Internet polls has tended to be in the 30s during that period. OTOH, many commentators think that much of Trump’s support comes from people who aren’t all that likely to actually show up for the primary voting. IMHO, the natural corrective is to ignore the Internet polls on the assumption that his greater support in those polls is roughly the fraction of his support that won’t show up on game day, so to speak.

Rubio’s become the de facto Establishment choice now that Jeb’s faded. (And given Jeb’s 27/50 approval/disapproval among Republicans, I don’t see him coming back, no matter how much money his super-PAC is holding in reserve.) But Rubio’s polling numbers are still mostly in the 11-14 range, even in New Hampshire, which is starting to look like Rubio’s make-or-break state, because if he doesn’t win there, he’s on unfavorable terrain well into March. Rubio has to find a way to stay competitive until the calendar starts favoring him from late March onward.

While Cruz is polling in that same range nationally, he’s polling in the low 20s Iowa, in a virtual tie with Trump there. And unlike Trump, Cruz has a ground game there, so a tie in the polls surely translates into a Cruz win on caucus night. Also, Cruz is better suited than Trump for picking up Carson’s supporters as they have second thoughts about Carson. So Cruz is looking good in Iowa, and that sets him up for doing well in South Carolina and in the SEC primary at the beginning of March.

Carson’s still polling in the upper teens, so he’s still a factor. But mostly in the sense of ‘how much support will he actually retain as the primaries approach, and who picks up the supporters he loses?’ sense. The answer to the latter question is probably, mostly Cruz, and the rest to Rubio.

We talked about Jeb. A pile of money is still in his super-PAC, but that 27/50 number (Q1 here) says it’s not going to do him any good.

At the same link, Kasich’s favorable/unfavorable numbers are 25/37, which says that most of the Republicans who’ve thought about him enough to have an opinion, don’t like him. So he’s got a chance in the fact that over a third of Republicans don’t yet have a strong opinion about him. But he’s dead unless he can beat out Rubio in the Establishment lane, and he’s got to do it in NH. Nah, not happening.

And none of the others are a factor anymore, other than who gets Christie’s or Paul’s or Huckabee’s 3% support when they drop out.

Anyhow, with 65 days to Iowa, shit’s starting to get real here. Everybody in the clown car had better have their seat belts fastened, because it’ll be a wild ride.

From where I’m standing, Cruz is looking more and more likely every day. I just can’t wrap my head around the concept of nominating Trump or Carson; from day one I viewed them as joke candidates and, while I’m surprised they (specifically Trump) have gotten this far, I’m still putting their nomination chances at close to zero. Likewise, I probably overestimate Rubio’s chances - I naturally expect the establishment candidate to win, with a few wing-nut distractions along the way. While both these assumptions have held true in recent elections, they’re hardly guaranteed.

Trump and Carson have also done the impossible and made Cruz look like a reasonable candidate. A couple months ago, he WAS the crazy far right - now he’s, well, still nuts, but a valid possibility.

So the nomination will go to one of the three “Hispanics”: Rubio, Cruz or Jeb!

With Cruz and Rubio each having severe flaws that would impact their chances against Hillary, do many Republican leaders still pin their hopes on Jeb?

Jeb has an even more sever flaw, namely, that he’s Jeb.

GOP race is
Thanksgiving indigestion
Hilary C. smiles.

I think Rubio’s out. Him and Cruz will split the non-Trump vote, and Cruz will beat Rubio because of immigration and that he looks whiter than Rubio. The whole “generational change” works in a general election, not primary elections, as Gary Hart learned in 1984, Al Gore in 1988, or even Bush I in 1980.

Between Cruz and Trump, its Trump’s to lose. And if the “fascist” attacks don’t stop him from gtting his party’s nod, then nothing will, other than some outside force along the lines of Sirhan Sirhan or a bolt of lightning…

See them in the public eye
Oozing oily charm
Hear them all personify
Down on Animal Farm
oink oink moooo!!

No matter who you vote for, the Government always gets in.


At this point it looks like Cruz will win Iowa, and may do so while trailing Trump a bit in the polls, which will make the win seem huge. But Cruz won’t win NH under any circumstances, so who wins NH depends a lot on how the candidates do in Iowa. I recall that in 2008, John McCain’s 5th place finish was considered so shockingly solid that it gave him momentum heading into NH. So I figure Rubio and Jeb need 2nd or 3rd place finishes.

Kasich and Christie are putting all their money on NH, which means that their only hope is that Cruz wipes the floor with everyone in Iowa so that he is the only guy with momentum heading into NH, which would cause Rubio and Bush to fall, thus making it possible that Kasich or Christie could do well enough in NH to win. In regards to the Union Leader’s endorsement, no, it doesn’t lead to winning NH in most years, but given the right set of circumstances it can. Probably no candidate has ever benefitted more from that endorsement than John McCain in 2007. Plus I suspect that Christie has some fans among Trump supporters due to him having similar characteristics(fighter, boorish, perceived as intolerant of nonsense). I think that if Trump wasn’t in the race Christie would be doing very well in NH. As for my favorite, Kasich, I am waiting for the best time to announce my public endorsement to maximize his vote totals.:slight_smile:

You more or less had me up until that part I bolded above. Anyone who views Trump as intolerant of nonsense is in need of serious help. The main is nothing less than the King of Nonsense! He spreads it with every breath and word!

Intolerant of what HE views as nonsense. Christie just has a better sense of reality than Trump does.

Christie also is a neocon hack and Kasich is a low-energy pseudo-“moderate” who makes Ben Carson look like the ultimate alpha male.

Yes, but Kasich has convinced moderates and liberals to vote for him, which means he cannot be counted out. It’s looking like he’ll probably lose, but his strategy is sound and his message is well calibrated.

Because Huntsman was so successful.

Huntsman was faced with a different set of problems: he actually did not have experience winning over moderate voters, much less liberal voters, as governor of Utah. His assessment of what such voters wanted to hear was badly wrong and in the process he alienated and conservative support as well.

Kasich threads that needle much better.

Also, Kasich has broken the all-important 3% barrier, something Huntsman could not do.

When did you change your mind about that?

Cruz is definitely the favorite in Iowa now. I think that, barring some really embarrassing revelation about him, he’ll win it.

And with two months to go, he’s got plenty of time to pass Trump in the polls.

I don’t know about this. It’s easy to visualize a situation where the Establishment vote gets divided among Rubio, Bush, Kasich, and Christie, while Cruz picks up a lot of former Carson supporters, and wins with ~20% of the vote when Trump’s supporters don’t show up in the numbers that the polls would suggest.

I’m not saying it’s likely, but I’d say Cruz’ chances in NH are certainly nonzero.

JFTR, here are the 2008 Iowa results:
Huckabee 34.4%
Romney 25.2%
Thompson 13.4%
McCain 13.1%
Ron Paul 10.0%
Giuliani 3.5%
nobody else above 1%

Therein lies the problem: NH is make-or-break for pretty much ALL the Establishment-lane candidates (Rubio, Bush, Kasich, Christie), plus it’s the best shot for others like Paul and Fiorina who aren’t expecting much support from God-botherers. So you’ve got a half-dozen GOP candidates going all-in in NH, fighting for the same voters, while Trump, Cruz, and whatever’s left of Carson’s campaign by then are dividing a perhaps smaller chunk of votes, but dividing it fewer ways.

Those of you who are saying its inconceivable that Trump could win the nomination remind me of Vizzini commenting on the Man in Black.

The main argument against Trump getting the nomination is that all conventional wisdom indicates that someone as boorish and extreme as Trump can’t possibly win the nomination of a major national party and that in the end cooler heads must prevail. But then conventional wisdom said he shouldn’t be able to make it this far. At this point I think he’s still on their tail half way up the cliffs of insanity. There is every possibility that he could best their Spaniard and their giant, and we end up in May reaching for the goblet of iocane.

Trump could win. It would no longer be very shocking to me (and ceased being so shocking of an idea, to me, at least, after the 5th or so instance of “this offensive statement will finally end him… or not”). But I still don’t think his chances are better than 20 or 30% at this point – from what I’ve read, his ground-level organizing is still way behind many of the other candidates (most notably Cruz), which will put him at a major disadvantage in caucus states. Trump could very well win several primaries but not have nearly enough delegates for the nomination.

Right now, I’d put the chances something like this:

Cruz 25%
Rubio 25%
Trump 20%
Bush 15%
Christie 5%
Kasich 5%
Other 5%