Archive for the 'WHITE HOUSE RACE' Category


This week’s PB/Polling Matters podcast: The 2016 White House race with Stan Greenberg

Wednesday, November 25th, 2015


On this week’s episode of the PB / Polling Matters podcast Keiran discusses the 2016 US Presidential race with Democratic pollster and strategist Stan Greenberg.

Stan talks about his new book ‘America Ascendant’ where he outlines the profound demographic and cultural changes that have taken place in the U.S. and why they make the Democrats most likely to triumph in 2016 (and beyond). Stan also picks his three GOP candidates to watch and predicts an unlikely eventual nominee. Finally, the podcast turns to Labour and Stan gives his thoughts on the current state of the UK Labour Party.

You can follow Stan Greenberg at @StanGreenberg and find out more about ‘America Ascendant‘ below
America Ascendant:

You can follow Keiran on twitter at @keiranpedley


Time to back Biden (if you can)

Saturday, November 21st, 2015



It may be worth having a cover against Hillary

US presidential elections are brilliant. The fractal-like complexity of the process by which someone ends up in the White House provides endless scope for novelists, script-writers and conspiracy theorists to come up with weird and wonderful ways for the most implausible individuals to follow in the footsteps of Washington, Lincoln, Roosevelts and Obama. And in theory, they could.

The reality, of course, is that the nominations are usually all but decided within two months of their having started, the conventions are publicity shows, and that everything is clear on election night before the voting in the west is over.

But not always. While the 2000 election ultimately conformed to type, the consequences of an faithless Bush elector or two, if low, had to be taken seriously (in fact, Gore suffered a faithless, abstaining, elector; Bush’s stayed solid). Likewise the possibility that Florida’s votes might be annulled or not cast, resulting in the elections being thrown to Congress. All the same, one way or another, the president was going to be Bush or Gore.

Fast forward to next year. Hillary Clinton seems almost certain to be the Democratic nominee. She only has one challenger, Bernie Sanders, and he’s so far to the left he should be unelectable. That is, of course, something we’ve heard before and it didn’t stop Corbyn from winning but the kind of activism Corbyn benefitted from will be hard for Sanders to achieve given the larger turnouts in US primaries compared to the Labour leadership. In reality, it’s Hillary’s to lose.

Except lose it she might. The e-mail affair is one of those scandals that many are vaguely aware of in the sense of it being a political football without a killer punch; of interest only to those paid to take an interest. Her husband went through much the same with Whitewater almost a quarter of a century ago when he was running for the White House. But while it is rumbling on, there’s the possibility that there does lie a smoking gun and that someone will find it. What then?

This is where there not being a serious challenger to Hillary makes things interesting. Were Hillary to fall under a political bus (or a health-related one, for that matter), I don’t believe that the Democratic establishment would leave the field open to Sanders. Were it to happen early in the primary campaign, clearly there’d be scope for someone else to take her place; were it to happen late, Clinton delegates could be released and advised to switch to an acceptable alternative; were something to happen really late – after the nominations – the Democrat National Committee would need to find someone themselves, though here we are getting into the realms of political fantasy.

All the same, the chances that something politically fatal to Hillary might happen at some point are not infinitesimal – in which case, who steps in to the gap? By far the most obvious answer is the current Vice President, Joe Biden. He was talked of as a possible candidate for much of the year and while he ultimately opted not to run, were he offered the job I can’t see him turning it down. In what would then be a safety-first situation, it would be difficult to find someone with more safety attached.

The biggest difficulty in backing him may simply be the act of getting a bet on: as far as I can tell, no conventional bookie is offering odds at the moment, though at the time of writing he was 199/1 on Betfair (but with only a tiny amount available). As a cover against a Hillary slip-up, that’s a good price. In fact, at the moment I’d suggest that’s around double his true odds.

David Herdson


The GOP nomination race: Unless the mainstream politicians make inroads soon Trump could become unassailable

Tuesday, November 17th, 2015



Carson’s slipping in state polls

Above is the latest Real Clear Politics Polling Average and the big story remains. None of the mainstream politicians have managed to gain real traction while Trump remains very strong.

The latest average probably overstates Carson who had a troubled start to November which is starting to be picked up in the state polls. A new survey for the first full primary state, New Hampshire, has Carson in sharp reverse with Trump 22% ahead of the former neuro-surgeon with an interesting back story.

Jebb Bush looks totally out of it though he still has a huge war-chest at his disposal.

Past experience suggests that the eventual nominee has to win either Iowa or New Hampshire – the first two states to decide. In neither at the moment are we seeing strong support for any of the mainstream contenders and time is running out.

Because of the presence of Trump as a contender there’s been much more public interest in the race than we usually see at this stage. The GOP TV debates have been attracting record audiences and the campaign is getting more media attention.

Mike Smithson


After the second Democratic Party debate Clinton remains the overwhelming favourite to get the nomination

Sunday, November 15th, 2015

Last night we had the second Democratic Party Presidential debate and the tragic events of Paris were discussed. Clinton’s past record came under scrutiny, first her support for the 2003 Iraq War (which Sanders said helped the rise of ISIS) and her tenure as Secretary of State. She came through all of this largely unscathed. Where she made a mistake was when the issue of the large donations she’s received from Wall Street, she said it was down to the 9/11 attacks and her being the Senator for New York at the time.

My feeling is the only thing that will stop Hillary Clinton becoming the nominee will be if she is charged in relation her private email scandal. In the debate itself Bernie Sanders didn’t seem to think it had any potency, he said “We’ve gotten off Hillary’s emails. Good. Let’s go to the major issues facing America.” If ISIS and Foreign Affairs in general becomes a major issue in this primary cycle then this should favour Clinton and damage those anyone who doesn’t like a credible Commander in Chief.



The latest Republican TV debate was the best so far but won’t change anything

Wednesday, November 11th, 2015

Rubio once again the most accomplished & good for Trump

Overnight we have had the latest TV debate in the search to find the Republican nominee for next year’s White House Race. Compares with the last such event a couple of weeks ago which was poorly moderated this was a far better organised and much more inormative

It was organised by Fox Business and the Wall Street Journal and there were no real losers or runaway winners. It was the best so far by Jeb Bush, the one time front runner but because all the others did OK I can’t see it making a difference. If he’d performed like this in the earlier debates he might still have been right up there.

For me the two that most impressed were Marco Rubio and Donald Trump who is getting better with each outing. He no longer has to use shock tactics.

Rubio is so calm and nothing seems to dent his air of accomplishment. He’s going to be hard to beat.

We are only two and a half months off the first primaries and time is running out for a game changer.

Mike Smithson


The GOP nomination race: Pollsters now asking, with a serious reason, what was purpose of the the ancient pyramids

Tuesday, November 10th, 2015


Trump says his opponent has a psychological disease

The reason, of course, for this polling question is that current front-runner for the Republican nomination, the former neuro surgeon Ben Carson, has put forward an astonishing theory about their origin. This from Buzzfeed.

..He rejected the widely held belief among archaeologists that most of the pyramids were built to serve as tombs for pharaohs, and suggested that biblical figure Joseph built the pyramids to store grain in preparation for a massive famine. “My own personal theory is that Joseph built the pyramids in order to store grain,” he said. “And all the archaeologists think that they were made for the pharaohs’ graves. But you know, it would have to be something awfully big, if you stop and think about it. And I don’t think it would just disappear over the course of time to store that much grain…”

This comes at a time when Carson’s back story has been coming under intensive scrutiny with suggestions that there was a level of exaggeration. Donald Trump has claimed that his opponent has a “psychological disease”.

As it turns in the PPP polling even Carson’s own supporters supporters didn’t back him on the pyramids.

Mike Smithson


A Republican ticket to give Hillary Clinton nightmares?

Saturday, November 7th, 2015


Keiran Pedley asks if a Rubio / Christie ticket (with either at the top) might be the Republican’s best bet to defeat Hillary Clinton in 2016

It is fair to say that the race for the Republican 2016 nomination is an odd one. This really should be an election that the GOP can win and yet with the national polls showing Trump and Carson leading the GOP race most observers are pretty sceptical that either will last.  Neither has held elected office and whilst this may be part of their charm now many suspect that this will wear off once the reality of choosing a Commander-in-Chief sets in among Republican voters.

Of course it is still very early – as the twitter account @pastfrontrunner so aptly demonstrates by showing who was leading the polls at this time in the election cycle during past races.

Perhaps then it is worth looking beyond the current leaders to see who might emerge.

As has been well-documented on this site, much of the ‘smart’ money is being placed on Marco Rubio to win the Republican nomination in the end. It is easy to see why. As a young, charismatic, Hispanic Senator from the key battleground state of Florida, he is a candidate that comes with many plusses.

Of course, one person’s youth is another’s inexperience and just because he is Hispanic (Cuban-American) does not mean he will fundamentally alter the commitment of that demographic to the Democratic Party. Nevertheless, he is a potentially formidable candidate and perhaps the only one in the Republican field that could beat Hillary Clinton. It is worth remembering that he wouldn’t have to ‘win’ Hispanics but just make sufficient enough inroads into that vote to tip the overall balance in the Republican’s favour – as Jorge Ramos points out on David Axlerod’s podcast this week. Meanwhile, his assured performance versus Jeb Bush at last week’s GOP debate has only bolstered his chances further.

The dream ticket: Rubio / Christie?

If Rubio did win the nomination I think he could do a lot worse than choose New Jersey Governor Chris Christie as his running mate. Christie would offer a north / south balance to the ticket and could also offer the experience of being a two-term Governor in New Jersey to counter-balance Rubio’s relative inexperience (at least in age) at the top of the ticket.

Christie also has a habit of surprising you. He is actually a lot more sensible than most give him credit for (honest). If you haven’t seen it already you should watch his recent speech on drug addiction that has gone viral in the U.S. It really is impressive. I defy anyone to watch it and not look at him differently.

What about Christie / Rubio?

Could a Rubio / Christie ticket even be the other way round with Christie at the top and Rubio as his VP? It seems unlikely – especially if Christie gets bumped from next week’s Fox debate. Christie would  also have to answer questions about his health and habit of going on the odd unpleasant outburst in town hall meetings that might put some voters off. It is not hard to imagine the montage his opponents would put together for an attack ad asking whether or not Americans want his finger on the nuclear button.

Yet I still say do not write him off.  Christie has shown he can win against the odds in the ‘blue state’ of New Jersey and his handling of Hurricane Sandy showed he is effective in a crisis. His hugging of President Obama might rankle with some of the Republican grassroots but I suspect his ability to project a bipartisan tone would be welcome in the country more widely. Like Trump, Christie also has a tendency to ‘tell it like it is’ but at least with Christie it is backed up with Executive experience that means you could see him in the White House.

In all reality, Chris Christie probably won’t win the nomination himself. I am not sure how far his appeal travels south or west. However, in a race so fluid where he is polling reasonably well in New Hampshire he could still surprise people. He certainly can make the ticket. He may decide to drop out of course but if he can hang in there as others falter – putting in the odd good debate performance as he goes – I can see him doing well. As the Middle East descends into chaos I think more conventional candidates will emerge in the GOP race. Christie’s challenge is to be heard among Republicans whilst making sure it is for the right reasons. If he does that his message of ‘getting things done’, ‘bipartisanship’ and being ‘good in a crisis’ could yet be a winning one. Regardless, I think some form of Rubio / Christie ticket is one for the Democrats to fear.

Keiran Pedley is an elections and polling expert at GfK and presents the / Polling Matters podcast. You can follow Keiran on twitter at @keiranpedley


Trump ousted from first place slot in the RCP Republican nominee polling average

Wednesday, November 4th, 2015

In the betting Rubio reigns supreme