Thursday, July 30, 2015

The State of the Republican Race

With 18 candidates, including Donald Trump, the Republican nominations look like pure anarchy. But, there are a few metrics that line up the top candidates with the known dates for political drama: a series of debates starting August 6 on Fox News (5 debates in 2015, including Colorado on October 28) and the caucus primary season beginning February in Iowa, with super delegate events in March.

As of July 29, the following are the polls and money as we know them for the top candidates.
  • Jeb Bush leads the money race and is tied with Scott Walker in the polls. However, the current leader in polling is Donald Trump.
  • Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio have substantial poll numbers and war chests that can propel them into the March primaries and caucuses.
  • Rick Perry is at the bottom of the pack, essentially tied with John Kasich, who also has 2 percent and $12 million vs. Perry’s $18 million.
It is estimated that it will require $60 million to mount a sufficient media and field campaign to get into the mid-March delegate selections.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Trump Surge

Donald Trump has captured the 20 percent of the Republican Party that most intensely dislikes
Washington D.C., including the party’s own leadership. In fact, the more Trump attacks the leadership, the more intensely they support him.

Many Republican voters are at the moment only interested in shaking up the system, and Trump is their candidate.

9-News Political Expert Floyd Ciruli says Trump’s controversial comments may actually be the reason he’s gained so much support among Republican voters.
“They are very anti-establishment, they’re anti-Washington D.C., they’re not happy with the leadership of the Republican Party. And so the fact that Trump spends a tremendous amount of time criticizing that leadership, they find quite popular,” Ciruli said. (9-News, 7-26-15)
The latest round of polls show Trump ahead of Jeb Bush and Scott Walker after the attacks on Senator McCain. He has also surged to second place in Iowa and New Hampshire.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Colorado Poll Shows Hillary Clinton has a Gender Gap Problem

One irony the latest Quinnipiac Colorado poll shows is that the more Hillary Clinton plays the gender card, and it is now one of her main strategies, she is alienating men more than convincing women. Possibly that is just a Colorado phenomenon because that was the reaction to the Democrats’ gender war strategy observed in the 2014 Udall senate race in Colorado. The more Mark Udall talked about war on women issues, the more he lost men. Polls in October 2014 repeatedly showed a negative gender gap, with him losing more men than gaining women.

Likewise, Clinton, who is losing to Jeb Bush by 5 points, is as expected winning women by 12 points. But, due to her losing men to Bush by 23 points, the gender gap is a negative 11 points for her. (A quarter of the electorate told pollsters they didn’t know, wouldn’t vote or preferred someone else.)

The Quinnipiac poll gathered national attention as Clinton ran behind three top republican contenders. In Colorado, Jeb Bush beat Clinton by 5 points. He was the weakest among the candidates tested. Scott Walker beat Clinton by 9 percentage points. But their face-off shows the same gender patterns. Clinton wins women by 11 percent and loses men by 28 percent.

See The Buzz: War on Women – An Overkill

Clinton in Trouble in Colorado – 9-KUSA

As affirmed by the Quinnipiac Colorado poll, Hillary Clinton is not having a good summer, and it’s mostly all about her and her party, not some external force, such as a “vast rightwing conspiracy.” In fact, Republicans are more likely to be criticizing Donald Trump than Clinton.

Since Clinton announced on April 12, she has suffered a steady erosion of support. Although she is still ahead of the Republican field nationally, the latest Quinnipiac poll (July 20) shows her behind the three top Republicans in Colorado.

Brandon Rittiman and I discussed the latest Quinnipiac Colorado Poll showing Hillary Clinton losing to the top Republican candidates.
“It is either a harbinger that Colorado is indicating a potential decline [for Clinton] that we’re going to see in national polls or this is an outlier,” 9NEWS political analyst Floyd Ciruli said. “It’s one or the other.”
There have been three Quinnipiac polls in Colorado this year and the trend lines have not been positive for Clinton. Her favorability and trust numbers have dropped.

Clinton’s favorability rating dropped 9 points since February. She has more people who view her unfavorably as favorably.

Clinton’s e-mail and other troubles earlier in the year have merged into a common theme that she is untrustworthy, which when placed in the context of the Bill and Hillary White House years, is a memory that is sapping much of the enthusiasm for her candidacy. On the issue of trust, Clinton slid 4 points since April after her informal (video) entrance into the race (the question was not asked in February). The positive-to-negative rating was abysmal in April and is now worse. Nearly twice as many people say they don’t trust her as do.

The more Hillary Clinton campaigns, the worse she does. Partially, it’s a reflection of the division in the Democratic Party, with its deep liberal base vs. nearly all the rest of the party. Bernie Sanders is receiving their attention.

Head-to-Head Comparison
The poll compared three of the top Republican candidates in a head-to-head with Clinton. Her losses ranged from 5 points with Jeb Bush to 9 points against Scott Walker. The loss in a swing state like Colorado was national news and led to considerable speculations as to the state of her campaign.

As the chart shows, Governor Walker moved up 7 points since February and Clinton down 4. Walker carried the independents in this poll by 11 points. Bush’s most significant problem was only attracting 82 percent of Republican identifiers whereas Walker carried 90 percent and Rubio 89 percent.

In the current national head-to-head report, she beats Bush by 6 points, Walker by 11 and Rubio by 8. And in the Republican nomination lineup, Donald Trump is now the frontrunner with 18 points, Bush second with 13, Walker 12 and Rubio fourth at 7 points.

It is not clear that this is a one day story or this poll reinforces a trend that will begin to show up in national polls.

9-News: Paul shines, Clinton loses steam in Colorado 
9-News: Clinton trails GOP candidates in early Colorado poll
Denver Post: Poll: Early lead for Hillary Clinton in Colorado disappears

Monday, July 27, 2015

Russia – An Existential Threat

Military leaders have a tendency to go off script and actually say what they think. Marine General
Joseph Dunford in a confirmation hearing for head of the Joint Chiefs before the Senate Armed Service Committee said that he believed Russia posed the greatest threat to U.S. national security and could be “an existential threat.”

Needless to say, the Administration went into hyper drive to characterize the General’s views as his own. Secretary of State Kerry managed to break from the Iran negotiations long enough to state he did not share the assessment. Obviously, part of Kerry’s urgency to disavow the view is that he needed Russia’s cooperation on the Iran-nuclear agreement.

Kerry and the White House stated that those views do not reflect the “consensus analysis of the President’s national security team.” Hence, it’s probably correct to say that dealing with the Russian threat will be an issue in the presidential election and a primary responsibility of the next administration.

Dunford also disagreed with the Administration’s views on providing weapons to the Ukraine government and armed forces. Ash Carter, the Secretary of Defense, shared Dunford’s view during his confirmation hearing, and he still supports arming Ukraine.

A major European Pew Research poll released in June at the time of the last G-7 Summit that featured discussion of President Putin and the Ukraine crisis shows that one of the most significant challenges for the next American administration is reviving support for NATO and joint action against an aggressor, like Russia, especially among the German public. When asked if they would support their country using force to defend a NATO ally, only 48 percent of Western European citizens said “yes” and only 38 percent of Germans.

Also, there is little appetite in Europe for defending or arming Ukraine again, especially in Germany.

CNN: Joint Chiefs nominee: Russia greatest threat to U.S.
Washington Post: At G-7 meeting, Obama’s primary task is confronting his Putin problem

Friday, July 24, 2015

Smartphone Rules

The Denver Post is right – digital and mobile technology is taking over personal communication and internet connectivity for work, school and news consumption. The Post’s recent employee memo on digital reorganization cited that more than half of its readers access on a mobile devices and the percentage is higher for breaking news and for Millennials.

Pew Research and Gallup agree:

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Biden for President Only if Clinton Catches Fire

Joe Biden will not be President unless Hillary Clinton has a near fatal accident, political or otherwise.
VP Joe Biden

In Brandon’s tweet: “In case Hillary Clinton catches fire, break glass and remove Joe Biden.” 9KUSA Brandon Rittiman covered the Biden Colorado visit Tuesday and his question is why has Biden not endorsed Clinton?
  • Vice presidents are typically first in line to succeed their presidents. After several unsuccessful tries, he still wants to be president. Biden had the poor fortune to be serving during the final moment of the Clinton era. Hillary Clinton’s razor thin loss to Barack Obama in 2008 gave her preferred spot for 2016, if she wanted it. Was there any doubt after she took the Secretary of State position that her ambition continued? Biden, due to his failed presidential attempts, age – he’d be 74 taking office – and history of gaffs, was quickly relegated to an also-ran positon.
  • If he tried to run, how would Biden distinguish himself from Clinton? They both worked for Obama and are moderate liberal Democrat. He has no ideological base in the left (Elizabeth Warren) of the party or the populist right (Jim Webb). And, although he’s genuine and charming, a charismatic personality he’s not. 
  • Although Biden was pushed aside, he polled in weak second place behind Clinton in the early polls as the party’s most logical, if unenthusiastic, choice. Biden’s only hope was Clinton stumbling in the early going. And while his campaign is hardly soaring, the alternatives (Sanders, O’Malley) are not really threatening as they look unready for a general election or for the White House.
  • The Democratic Party may have a far left, but its main motivation is holding the presidency since they are in a weak second place position in Congress and in the states. The Party has made its bet and it’s Clinton. Sorry Joe.
9KUSA: In Denver, Biden still noncommittal on 2016