Monday, July 13, 2015

The obligatory post about Donald Trump

I'm just going to let everyone know that this post is not going to be relevant in about 2 months when everyone decides that Donald Trump is not a viable candidate for the Republican primary.  Now that we got that out of the way, let's actually do something worthwhile when we talk about Trump.  We could, in theory, have an in-depth conversation about Euchre or we could talk about the lack of a policy/issues link on his website.  Yet, not a single media outlet is reporting on the fact that Donald Trump cannot even manage to put his policies on his website for his presidential run.  What is more interesting is what would be the ultimate ceiling of Trump.

Latest polls are showing that Republican voters are pretty evenly split on Trump.  Public Policy Polling (PPP) found that among Republicans, Trump had a favorability of 38/43 (-5 net favorability).  Monmouth found a very similar result showing that Trump had a favorability of 40/41 (-1 net favorability).  While this is an improvement for Trump in the Monmout poll in June of 2015, showing him at a 20/55 split (-35 net favorability), it means that the majority of voters have already formed an opinion of him.  It is easier to form a positive impression on voters if they are unaware of you but once you have a high enough name recognition, people's opinions are largely unchanged.  Of course, Trump with his rambling speeches, uninformed and racist comments may be a more volatile candidate than other politicians.

Based on name recognition, the candidates that compare to him are Jeb Bush (50/30 per Monmouth) and Mike Huckabee (53/23).  Marco Rubio is fairly close, as well (53/19).  Their net favorability is much much higher than Trump's.  In case you think I'm cherry-picking by using Monmouth, I will concede that Jeb's net favorability with PPP's poll is -3 which is much closer to Trump's; however, I am not sure that it is the most accurate representation of his numbers..  There's not another candidate in this field with such high name recognition and as much negativity as Donald Trump unless you happen to believe that PPP's numbers for favorability are much closer to the truth than Monmouth's, Quinnipiac (showing 52/20 in May), or any major poll that I can find.  So what do we do with that?
We can compare it to the previous presidential primary seasons, only there is not a candidate with such a high name recognition and near even net favorability from 2011 (using the same timeframe).

Currently, Trump is getting around 15% in the national polls.  This is about where he's at  in state by state polls, as well.  His most favorable numbers are coming from Ted Cruz supporters and those who describe themselves as very conservative.  In PPP's poll of Michigan, Trump has a favorability rating of 41/44 (post Trump announcment bump) among Republicans which would be in line with what is found nationally.  With that favorability rating in mind, he had a +15 net favorability among those who self-identify as very conservative.  With those numbers in mind, he is getting 14% in the polls for the primary in a very crowded field, that's good enough to tie for second place.

Trump's biggest strength right now is that there are 16 declared candidates vying for the nomination.  All of these candidates are stealing votes away from each other and allowing there to be no frontrunner candidate.  As the field shrinks, the candidates will be trying to get voters who supported their opponents earlier on.  This is where Trump fails.  Only 6% of Michigan Republicans see Trump as their second choice for the presidential nomination.  Jeb and Scott Walker are in double digits as the second choice and Rubio is the second choice of 9% Michigan Republicans.  Tables for how Trump fares in other states as the second choice will be forthcoming.

Trump's ultimate ceiling as a first-time candidate will depend on how quickly the field is narrowed.  As of current writing, his ceiling is probably about 10-15% in each primary with a little higher numbers in southern states.  Trump is running at the heart of the TEA Party base.  Unfortunately, I see no evidence that the TEA Party is any more than 15% of the Republican electorate nationally (I actually think it's closer to 10%).  If you assume that the TEA Party was represented in the 2012 Republican primary by Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann, and Herman Cain, the popular vote totals for the primary give them just under 15%.  In a large field, he may be able to grab some delegates but ultimately, the most likely outcome of Trump's campaign is Herman Cain.


Friday, July 3, 2015

The competition: Republican roster and costs

For the Republican nominees for the competition, you'll have $20 to spend on 6 candidates.  Remember you receive 9 points for a first place finish in a primary/caucus, 6 points for 2nd, 3 points for 3rd, and 1 point for 4th.  You lose 2 points when one of your candidates drops out and you lose two points if one of your candidates finishes last among declared candidates in a primary/caucus.  I'll update the list with the cost if any other candidate announces their intentions to run for the Presidency.


Jeb Bush: $8.00

Scott Walker: $7.50

Marco Rubio: $7.25

Ben Carson: $7

Mike Huckabee: $7

Rand Paul: $6.50

Donald Trump: $5

Ted Cruz: $4.50

Chris Christie: $3

Rick Perry: $2.50

Rick Santorum: $2.25

Carly Fiorina: $2

John Kasich: $1.50

Bobby Jindal: $1.25

Lindsey Graham: $1

George Pataki: $0.75

Sarah Palin: $0.50

Jim Gilmore: $0.50

Bob Ehrlich: $0.50

A competition

How do we make Presidential primaries even more interesting?  Well, we can start a competition to see who can actually predict who will be the nominees and the eventual Vice-President nominees.

The rules are simple:

You will select 6 Republican candidates for President.  Honestly, the Democratic side is pretty boring but I can be persuaded to choose three candidates from the list for President.

You must stay within your budget to select your candidates.

The cost of each candidate to add to your roster is listed by their name.

Points are given based on the candidate's results in each primary/caucus.

Points are awarded Mario Kart style: 9 points for 1st, 6 points for 2nd, 3 points for 3rd, and 1 point for 4th.  0 points for 5th or lower.

Last place (among declared candidates) in a primary/caucus earns your candidate -2 points.

You lose 2 points when one of your candidates drops out of the race.

When you submit your roster, you can give two bonus predictions.  For each bonus prediction that comes true, you earn 5 points.  When you submit your roster, I'll read the bonus prediction, if it seems too easy such as Elizabeth Warren will not run for President, I will ask you to submit a new bonus prediction.

For the Vice-President portion of the competition, you can e-mail me with your roster 5 Republicans who you think could be the Vice-President nominee and 5 Democrats who you think could be the nominee.  For each correct one, you earn 5 points.

Rosters can be submitted with pseudonyms. Rosters will be e-mailed to me at prior to Labor Day 2015 (let's make this fun).

There will be weekly updates here on the standings.