November 8, 2016
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Politics and Election News
Tuesday, October 6, 2015
|This post is part of Election Projection's continuing series introducing each 2016 presidential candidate. Follow the link at the end for more information on Ben Carson, including personal information, family status, education and past political experience, as well as links to Carson's biography and ideological positions.
Anger outbursts of criminal intensity are hard to imagine watching Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson on stage during the GOP debates. Yet such were his way of dealing with conflicts and trials when he was a youth. The mild-mannered intellectual juggernaut we see running for president now is a testimony to the power of Carson's faith to change a man, to make him better.
That faith, taught to him by his mother, catapulted him from poverty to prominence and renown in the medical world. Dr. Carson's claim to fame: separating conjoined twins. While Carson's reputation in his chosen field stands up to anyone's, his experience in politics is limited to the current campaign in which he is engaged. His inexperience in political matters could be a handicap or an asset, depending on how well Carson demonstrates knowledge of the issues and prowess in dealing with the forces which drive them.
Carson's "I'm not a politician" decree as he announced his candidacy is spot on, to be sure. Whether that qualification is positive or not to the mind of the electorate remains to be seen. His intelligence, no doubt, leaves nothing to be desired, and that intelligence should make him a quick study when it comes to the weighty matters of governing. If he convinces voters he's up to the job, they may just give him the chance to see if he can cure what ails us.
Republican Nomination Odds: 22%
(as of 10/5/15)
30-day Trend: UP
Candidate Page: Ben Carson, 2016 Presidential Candidate
posted by Scott Elliott at 8:52pm 10/06/15 :: link
Monday, October 5, 2015
|This is the first in Election Projection's series introducing each 2016 presidential candidate. Follow the link at the end for more information on Jeb Bush, including personal information, family status, education and past political experience, as well as links to Bush's biography and ideological positions.
Usually, having a pedigree is a good thing. Thoroughbreds whose family lines are dotted with champions bring top dollar from speculators wanting to own the next Kentucky Derby winner. Many times in business and culture, being related to an established authority opens doors otherwise unavailable to aspiring actors, lawyers, or socialites.
It can be a good thing in politics as well. Having a political pedigree can give candidates a leg up in election campaigns at all levels - just ask Lincoln Chafee, Rand Paul and George W. Bush. But at some point, pedigree becomes synonymous with dynasty, and the advantage dissipates. Such is the case for Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush. Unlike his aforementioned brother, Jeb has not one but two former presidents among his family of origin. In presidential politics, one presidential relative is good; two, not so much.
The Bush name is perhaps his biggest obstacle to overcome in the race for the White House, but it isn't necessarily his biggest hurdle in his quest for the Republican nomination. More than any other candidate, Jeb Bush represents the establishment of the Republican Party. In this anti-establishment climate, that can be a presidential campaign's fatal flaw.
Republican Nomination Odds: 20%
(as of 10/5/15)
30-day Trend: DOWN
Candidate Page: Jeb Bush, 2016 Presidential Candidate
posted by Scott Elliott at 5:25pm 10/05/15 :: link
Friday, October 2, 2015
There are three gubernatorial races on tap this year, and they're heading down the home stretch. In Kentucky, where Democratic governor Steve Beshear is term-limited, we see the most competitive race of the three. Attorney General Jack Conway is making a strong bid to keep the seat in Democratic hands in this red state. On the GOP side, 2014 senate candidate and Tea Party favorite Matt Bevin, who lost in the primary in 2014 to sitting Republican Senator Mitch McConnell, hopes to earn a place in the Governor's Mansion this time around. Election Projection currently projects Conway to come out on top
Down in Louisiana, Republican Governor Bobby Jindal is not seeking re-election in 2015. Instead, he's after a higher prize
. Republican Senator David Vitter is the odds-on favorite to be Louisiana's next governor. He's polling slightly behind
Louisiana State Representative John Bel Edwards, the prominent Democrat in the race, however, that doesn't mean he's not way ahead in reality.
The Bayou state employs an open-primary system in which all qualified candidates are on the general election ballot (Election Day in Louisiana is October 24). If no one earns 50% of the vote, the top two vote-getters advance to a general election runoff on November 21. Because of this unique system and considering two other Republicans in the race are polling at 23% combined, Vitter appears to be a shoo-in, if not in the general, then for sure in the runoff.
Moving next door to Mississippi, we find the most uncompetitive of this year's races. Incumbent Republican Phil Bryant should not break a sweat in besting Democratic nominee Robert Gray. The only poll I could find for this race
was released back in April and showed Bryant doubling up on then-potential rival Vickie Slater. She went on to lose the Democratic primary election to Gray, but I imagine he won't fare much better against the GOP incumbent in this very red state.
To track these races over the next 6 weeks or so, please check out the following pages:
On a programming note, finishing up the 2015 gubernatorial pages has caused a delay for me in publishing the 2016 presidential candidate profiles. They will commence on Monday.
posted by Scott Elliott at 2:41pm 10/02/15 :: link
Thursday, October 1, 2015
Even though my posting has been a bit sparse over the last several days, that doesn't mean I haven't been hard at work. Today, I'm happy to say that you can now find webpages for each of the 22 presidential candidates from the two major parties (including two Republicans who have dropped out).
To access the candidate pages, simply click on the pics at the top of each Election Projection webpage. You'll also find links to their pages on EP's 2016 Presidential Primaries
page, the 2016 Republican Nomination
page and the 2016 Democratic Nomination
In addition to the candidate pages, I've also wrapped up a first pass the presidential pages for all fifty states. For now, the best way to check out the state presidential race of your choice is to visit the 2016 Presidential Elections
summary page and click on your state on the map or in the summary list.
In a way, completing this work ushers in a new level of coverage for the 2016 elections. To enhance that coverage, I'll begin posting a profile article for each presidential candidate which I will post on the Political and Election News blog as well as at the bottom of the appropriate candidate page. Tomorrow, I'll post a write-up on Jeb Bush. I plan to post one write-up per day (except Sundays) until all candidates have been profiled.
posted by Scott Elliott at 11:57am 10/01/15 :: link
Tuesday, September 29, 2015
The polling collaboration between NBC News and the Wall Street Journal has released a set of polling data
that should serve as a warning for Republican primary voters who are caught up in the phenomenon of The Donald. I've maintained from the beginning that Donald Trump would be a bad idea as the GOP nominee, and the polls continue to confirm my suspicion. Here is how the leading GOP contenders stack up against Democrats Clinton, Biden and Sanders.
|Potential Presidential Matchups|
With Obama fatigue well in place and growing, Republicans have a great opportunity to reclaim the White House in 2016. But it's an opportunity the polls show will likely be squandered if Donald Trump is on the ballot. Trump fans may say it's too early to make such a declaration. Perhaps, but there is no denying that he must improve considerably in the polls to match other Republican hopefuls against the Democratic field. Moreover, there's plenty of doubt that his persona will ever be an electable option. As a Republican myself, I say that's a risk we should not take.
posted by Scott Elliott at 10:45am 09/29/15 :: link
Saturday, September 26, 2015
Donald Trump filed papers on Wednesday for the South Carolina GOP primary, exactly a week before the September 30 deadline. Vox.com reports
the deadline is especially early and the $40,000 fee is unusually expensive. So presidential hopefuls don't take the investment lightly. Trump's official entrance onto the ballot in the Palmetto State hints at his intent - he's likely in the Republican nomination race for the long term.
Several other Republicans have already posted the fee and filed papers, but it is the ones who haven't yet that may foreshadow coming changes to the GOP field in the near term. Chris Christie, George Pataki, Rand Paul and Jim Gilmore have not paid yet, though Paul is scheduled to file
The GOP field appears set to decrease by at least a couple very soon. Pataki and Gilmore shouldn't have entered in the first place. So seeing them on this list is no surprise. I'll be a bit surprised if Christie drops out, but I would applaud the move. Finally, given the status of Paul's poll numbers, I'm counting him as a serious drop out possibility as well.
posted by Scott Elliott at 11:28am 09/26/15 :: link
Thursday, September 24, 2015
The Commission of Presidential Debates released its debate schedule
for the 2016 presidential general election yesterday. There will be 3 presidential debates and 1 vice-presidential debate next year.
I'll post a page with the debate details soon. For now, be sure to check out the GOP debate schedule
and Democratic debate schedule
for listings of primary debates remaining on the calendar.
posted by Scott Elliott at 10:25am 09/24/15 :: link
Tuesday, September 22, 2015
Nate Silver, statistician extraordinaire and founder of FiveThirtyEight.com
, thinks Donald Trump and Ben Carson don't have much of a shot at winning the GOP nomination. For someone who never thought, nor hoped, Trump would get to the head of the pack - much less stay there this long - hearing 5% associated with his chance for victory is encouraging.
But since 57% of all stats are made up on the spot, I wanted to see what his reasons are for being bearish on the two non-politicians. Here's what Breitbart reports Silver saying
|One [reason] is that if you look back at history, you've never seen candidates like Donald Trump certainly, or Ben Carson win a party nomination, and secondly, if you look at the polling a lot of times, a candidate leading the polls now, mid-September didnít win the nomination, didnít even come close. So, if you look four years ago, Rick Perry was in the midst of a surge right now, and eight years ago on the Democratic side, you had Howard Dean - or 12 years ago, rather, Howard Dean was surging, Hillary Clinton was still way ahead of Barack Obama in 2008. Rudy Giuliani was leading the polls in 2008. I think people - there's so much interest in this election, in this campaign, people forget that polls five months before Iowa, historically, have told you very, very little.
He goes on to point out something that I've been saying about the preliminary nature of what's going on right now in the nomination contest.
|As much interest as there is in the campaign right now, it's going to be probably about five times higher by the time we get to January and February, and so people are about 20% of their way to their decision-making process.
For political activists and aficionados, the current political atmosphere feels like we're already in the heat of the primary election season. That's because we are hanging on every article, bracing for every poll and talking like crazy with other political aficionados. The truth is most rank and file Republicans (and Democrats, for that matter) aren't seriously engaged yet.
That said, however, due in part to Trump's celebrity and bravado, the latest GOP primary debate
did give CNN its highest ratings ever (23.1 million viewers), a sign that perhaps more people are engaged earlier this year. That brings up an interesting question. What if the phenomenon of Trump has caught the attention of many Republicans who would typically be mostly oblivious to election matters at this stage of the cycle?
I respect Silver for his statistical prowess, but I wonder if he's missing something here. He's looking at the future through the lens of the past. That doesn't always provide an accurate picture of what's going to happen. Perhaps The Donald has changed the parameters this time around. As an anybody-but-Trump Republican, I hope Silver is right, but I find it hard to believe Trump - or Carson, for that matter - only has a 1 in 20 chance at being on the ballot next November.
One more thing, Silver also points out a big reason why I am anybody but Trump.
|The biggest problem for Trump is that he's not really a Republican. Some columnist on National Review used the phrase 'hostile takeover.' He's running as a Republican, and he has some positions in common with them, but a lot of things might square more with what Independent or Democratic voters think instead.
Aside from his boorish manner and juvenile insults, Trump isn't the deliverer conservatives believe him to be. I just hope they figure that out before the GOP nominates a disaster.
posted by Scott Elliott at 11:02am 09/22/15 :: link
Monday, September 21, 2015
Republicans close to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, speaking anonymously, have said the free-falling presidential candidate's run for the GOP nomination will come to an end very soon. The conservative governor who became the first state chief executive to survive a recall election three years ago could not survive this election cycle's crowded Republican presidential field. He ran out of money, and his prospects for raising the funds needed to continue his candidacy mirror his dismal polling numbers.
Walker's decision probably should come as little surprise given his poor and worsening polling performance of late, but it is a disappointment to me, nonetheless. With his track record of taking on and surviving against liberal interest groups in a blue state like Wisconsin, he gave me reason to think he would be a formidible force in next year's general election. And that's quite a statement since his conservative views are pretty close to my own.
I'm glad for one thing, however. At least the monstrosity that is the GOP field has dwindled a bit. Perhaps several current pretenders will follow Walker's example and get out soon as well.
Scott Walker's demise is confirmed. He's out.
posted by Scott Elliott at 6:40pm 09/21/15 :: link
I'm excited today to launch EP's Primary Election Central
. The process of choosing presidential nominees is long and drawn-out with many moveable parts. There are candidates, debates, primaries, caucuses, delegates and conventions - not to mention polls and talking heads who try to predict who's going to win. With all this information, getting a handle on everything can be a daunting task.
Election Projection to the rescue! With EP's Primary Election Central
, you can easily find out all you need to know about the battle for the presidential nominations. Here's just some of what it offers:
You'll also find nomination polls, primary news, and information on the party conventions. I hope this tool will become invaluable to you during this crazy political season, one that promises to be the most memorable and entertaining primary election seasons I can remember.
posted by Scott Elliott at 2:44pm 09/21/15 :: link
Thursday, September 17, 2015
I'm busy working on getting everything ready for Monday's launch of EP's Primary Election Central, so I don't have time to post an exhaustive analysis of last night's Republican debate. I did watch the first 2 1/2 hours of it, though (3 hours is too long, don't you think?), and tweeted it real time. You can get my runtime comments during the debate by checking out my twitter account (@bloggingcaesar).
In lieu of a full analysis, here are some high points worth noting. First, Carly Fiorina was the winner in my view. We'll see how much she rises in the polls - and at whose expense. Second, Donald Trump stumbled early, improved after the first hour, and was typically boorish throughout. Hmm, is that harsh? Sorry, just calling it like I see it. Trump should appreciate that. His performance should result in a drop in the polls - but that's what I thought last time. I honestly don't get the Trump phenomenon.
Moving on, Marco Rubio came across polished and knowledgeable, but, as someone pointed out to me last night, it seems like he just has a library of memorized responses to call on at any given moment. Mrs. Blogging Caesar caught this. She said, "He talks a good game, but I'm not impressed."
Mike Huckabee appeared to be there, not as a candidate for president, but as a trumpeter of conservative talking points and as cheerleader for the GOP presidential field. That's not a criticism. Since he doesn't have any real shot at the nomination, I think it's a good thing for him to do - and he does it very effectively.
Jeb Bush lived up to his billing as the establishment candidate. Listening to him, I can't help but sense I'm hearing the same kind of message as the previous two Republican nominees for president. He tries to come across as conservative, but his effectiveness, unlike Huckabee's, falls short.
(This is turning into a lengthier reaction than I expected when I started. I guess that's a benefit of going full-time. Previously, I'd be rushing to get it done so I could move on to working my day job. This is nice.)
Back to Fiorina. She showed strength in her delivery as well as her knowledge - and when she challenged Hillary Clinton to watch the video of Planned Parenthood personnel keeping a fully-formed fetus alive so that its brain could be harvested, I was enthralled. The passion and conviction with which she spoke took my breath away. I fully expect her to benefit most from this second debate.
She might even break out of the pack into third place behind Trump and Carson, pending how Republicans react to Trump's aforementioned boorish performance. (My daughter was watching the debate with me. Unprompted, at one point, she declared, "Donald Trump is such a bully.")
If Trump does falter, Ben Carson could become the frontrunner. He's a legitimate candidate whose mild-mannered professionalism is a breath of fresh air. He tackles tough questions with grace and agility while showing enough understanding of the issues to be a serious contender. Perhaps on the downside, however, were his comments about the Iraq war. I'm interested to see how the GOP faithful reacts to that and to his advice to former President Bush to essentially outsmart rather than outgun the enemy in the wake of 9/11.
Ted Cruz and Scott Walker both reinforced their solid conservative credentials. Cruz is more thoroughly and consistently conservative than anyone on the stage and, because of that, he would be my first choice as president
, if not as nominee. He is, in my view, the best man for the job, but with little chance to gain the majority of vote of the American electorate next November. On the other hand, Walker, I think, could get that job done, but his primary poll numbers give him little chance to have the opportunity.
Quickly to the rest of the candidates. Rand Paul's usefulness has expired. He should quietly exit the race. So should John Kasich and Chris Christie. Even though Christie can be somewhat compelling at times, those two just muddy the water. To that point, I sure hope, come early next year, that we don't still have a bunch of folks on the GOP debate stage. C'mon guys, get the hint and drop out. It's time.
In conclusion, Fiorina was the winner and will make the biggest move - perhaps the only significant move - among the top eleven. Donald Trump, with his second-grade cut downs and exaggerated sophomoric gestures, grunts and facial contortions, continues to prove he doesn't belong on the stage or in the race. And Ben Carson's quiet manner belies a formidable realistic contender who might quietly, in the end, win the whole thing.
posted by Scott Elliott at 11:45am 09/17/15 :: link
Wednesday, September 16, 2015
It is with great excitement, and perhaps some trepidation, that I announce today my quest to make Election Projection and related endeavors my full-time vocation. This morning, after nearly seventeen years, I said good-bye to Lenovo, a great place to work, by the way, and now my former full-time vocation.
If you've been with Election Projection for long, you may know that this website has been, since its inception in 2003, a part-time after-hours proposition for me. But no more. Today, I embark on fulfilling a dream that was born shortly after I first created a spreadsheet to track the 2004 presidential election, the dream of making a living on the internet.
So you may be wondering what this decision means for Election Projection. I'm glad you asked. As you might imagine, since I no longer have a 9-5 style career to consume much of my days and evenings, I'll be free to spend much more time on EP. That extra time will be invaluable in realizing the many new features and facets I've wanted to implement for a long time now. Here are some of those new things you can look forward to in the coming days, weeks and months.
- Extensive primary election coverage - Starting Monday, I will unveil EP's Primary Election Central with many resources to help you follow the crazy phenomenon we call the primary season.
- Broader election coverage - There are several statewide elections going on this year. Look for expanded coverage here at EP starting soon.
- Configurable election coverage - Early next year, I'll be redesigning the website to allow you to track the elections, polls and election news that most interest you.
- Election Pick'em - Do you want to try your hand at prognosticating? Some time in the summer next year, EP will give you that chance. I'm very excited about this new feature. It'll be unlike any pick'em game I've seen. Stayed tuned - you might even win a prize or two.
- Expanded blogging - Of course, one of the most obvious benefits of having more time to spend on EP will be the chance to blog a lot more. Not only do I plan to blog daily about the election in my Politics and Election News section; I will also be ramping up posting commentary in The Red Zone and on Expressions of Faith, a blog that is particularly near and dear to me. And don't be surprised to see another blog or two added to Election Projection's blog line up before too long.
I look forward to all this with lots of anticipation and excitement. However, I also know that transforming Election Projection from a part-time side job to a viable living will require support from my readers. Over the years, many of you have been so helpful and encouraging to me in this endeavor. I hope I can count on you again as my family and I move into this new uncharted phase of our lives.
For those of you wondering how you can help, here are some possibilities.
- Like my facebook page and invite your friends to like it too.
- Follow me on twitter (@bloggingcaesar).
- Share, retweet and like Election Projection's blogposts and projection pages.
- Contribute monetarily to this effort (using the donate button in the right sidebar).
- Last, but not least, visit the site regularly to get great 2016 election coverage and some of the best election projections on the web
Well, here we go. Be sure to check back on Monday to see the beginning of the new Election Projection.
posted by Scott Elliott at 12:52pm 09/16/15 :: link