Heading into the September 16 CNN debate, the big winner has been Donald Trump, who leads the Republican field nationally and in the three frontline states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. The release on September 10 of the CNN official polling average computes from polls since the August 6 Fox News debate set the new mark for positions among the candidates and on the stage for the debate. Trump will hold the center position, with second place Ben Carson and Jeb Bush in third flanking him.
Fox News debate are Ben Carson, up 8 points and in second in Iowa and South Carolina; and Carly Fiorina, up 3 points and onto the main stage from the Cleveland undercard. She’s now fourth in Iowa and New Hampshire. She’s also ahead of Chris Christie, who would have been pushed off the stage, but was allowed to hang on in a CNN feel good moment.
Jeb Bush, who has sunk 3 points since early August and is now at 9.2 percent, could be overtaken by a rising Ted Cruz, who is up 2 points since August and at 7.4 percent.
Nationally, Rand Paul and John Kasich don’t make much of a splash, but Paul is moving down and Kasich is up slightly. Also, he’s in second in New Hampshire at 12 percent.
We will, no doubt, hear a lot of references to Ronald Reagan Wednesday night, but it will be good to remember the Republican debate is in a state – the nation’s largest – they haven’t won since Reagan handed off the White House to George Herbert Walker Bush in 1988. Although Democrats have been winning the California electoral vote by 60 percent in recent cycles and have won it every year since Bill Clinton’s 1992 election (six consecutive victories), Republicans won California in every presidential elections starting with Dwight Eisenhower in 1952 through 1988, except for the Barry Goldwater debacle in 1964, nine victories in total.
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