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Election Day
November 8, 2016
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On today's Iowa Caucus Polls page you'll find some interesting survey results. On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders has pulled within seven points of embattled frontrunner, Hillary Clinton, in the latest Des Moines Register poll. His previous best showing against Clinton here was a 19-point deficit earlier this month. While the former first lady still holds the lead in Iowa, Sanders appears to hold the momentum.

Looking to the red team, it also appears the Trump phenomenon continues on the GOP side, but another Republican is making a lot of noise. Ben Carson has moved solidly into second place in Iowa and two recent polls show his trend is headed north. The Des Moines Register also polled the GOP contest here and puts Trump at 23% with Carson just 5 points behind at 18%. Even more impressive for the former neurosurgeon, a Monmouth University poll pegged the top two exactly tied at 23% each. No other Republican is averaging double-digits.

posted by Scott Elliott at 3:57pm 08/31/15 :: link
I'm looking forward to being able to make a pretty significant announcement three weeks from tomorrow, Wednesday, September 16. (No, I'm not going to make it 18 Republicans running for president!) The announcement pertains to Election Projection and what's in store for me, my family and the website going forward. In the meantime, regular programming will continue - including daily poll reports for Election 2016.
posted by Scott Elliott at 8:35pm 08/25/15 :: link
In the race for the GOP nomination, Donald Trump continues to enjoy the lead in both national Republican nomination polls and state primary polls. He currently holds the advantage in the three earliest state contests - Iowa Caucus, New Hampshire Primary and South Carolina Primary.

On the other hand, Marco Rubio fares best when paired against possible Democratic opponents in the general election.

Florida Presidential Election Polls
  Rubio Trump Bush
Clinton Rubio +9.0 Trump +2.0 Bush +7.5
Sanders Rubio +16.0 Trump +4.0 Bush +19.0
Biden Rubio +4.5 Biden +3.0 Bush +11.0
Ohio Presidential Election Polls
  Rubio Trump Bush
Clinton Rubio +1.0 Clinton +5.0 Clinton +2.0
Sanders Rubio +8.0 Sanders +2.0 Bush +6.0
Biden Biden +1.0 Biden +10.0 Biden +3.0
Pennsylvania Presidential Election Polls
  Rubio Trump Bush
Clinton Rubio +3.0 Clinton +5.0 Clinton +4.0
Sanders Rubio +12.0 Sanders +3.0 Bush +8.0
Biden n/a Biden +8.0 Bush +1.0
Michigan Presidential Election Polls
  Rubio Trump Bush
Clinton Rubio +1.5 Clinton +4.5 Clinton +4.0
This is not an endorsement of Marco Rubio as the GOP nominee, nor is it necessarily a knock on the current frontrunner for that honor. It is simply a look at the numbers - which are, realistically, way too premature to make any conclusions. If you're looking for a positive situation for Trump, you can look to North Carolina. The Tarheel State is the only place where Trump outperforms his Republican colleagues against potential Democratic opponents. In fact, he is the only Republican to poll ahead of Hillary Clinton there, albeit in a pool of just one poll.
North Carolina Presidential Election Polls
  Rubio Trump Bush
Clinton Clinton +0.5 Trump +3.0 Clinton +1.0
posted by Scott Elliott at 11:27am 08/21/15 :: link

  vs.   

I believe Bernie Sanders is not a viable choice in the general election next November. Moreover, I'm convinced Democrats will not ultimately settle on him as their nominee. He seems to me to be not unlike Donald Trump in that he tickles the ears of the ideologues in his party but won't have the staying power to actually earn the nomination once primary votes start coming in.

That said, Sanders, like Trump, is doing very well in early primary polling. In fact, he has surged seven points ahead of Hillary Clinton in the latest New Hampshire Democratic primary poll conducted by Franklin Pierce Polling forthe Boston Herald.

It seems the GOP primary battle won't be the only one to provide political watchers like me a wealth of entertainment value this cycle.

posted by Scott Elliott at 1:57pm 08/12/15 :: link
I don't know what proportion of Republican primary voters tuned into tonight's debate in Cleveland, but those who did were treated to a lively show in which Donald Trump took center stage, both literally and figuratively. Standing behind one of two podiums at the center of the Quicken Loans Arena platform, Trump enjoyed the most talk time and endured, perhaps, the most damaging moment. Here is the rundown on how much each of the 10 GOP presidential hopefuls spoke during the debate:

Because we're still over four months from the Iowa caucuses and 15 months away from Election Day 2016, it is far too early for this debate to decide the GOP nominee or even to settle on a true front runner. However, the jockeying for position coming out of it will cast its shadow on the primary and caucus votes to come. So who won the debate tonight? Let me list first some highlights I took from the evening's proceedings.

Former Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a late comer to the fray, performed well and benefited from the partisan hometown crowd that filled the arena. He could see a bump in the next round GOP nomination polls, but I would question the staying power of whatever uptick he enjoys. His chances at the nomination remain minimal in my view.

Former Arkansas governor and 2012 presidential candidate Mike Huckabee most likely will not be the nominee, but he did provide the best zinger of the night. Appearing to take a whack at Donald Trump, Huckabee tossed an unexpected twist in the following comment that had even the moderators laughing into their mikes:

"It seems like this election has been a whole lot about a person who is very high in the polls but doesn't have a clue about how to govern, a person who has been filled with scandals, and who could not lead."
With admirable comedic timing, he concluded:
"And of course I'm talking about Hillary Clinton."
He also took Reagan's famous "trust and verify" line and adapted it to President Obama saying the President believes in "trust and vilify":
"Obama trusts our enemies and vilifies anyone who disagrees with him."
World-renowned neurosurgeon Ben Carson will likely never see his poll numbers reach double digits nationally, but he comes across as probably the nicest man on the stage. I really like the man and appreciate the kindness, respect and civility he brings to the nomination contest. Even so, he too showed he could deliver a zinger when he said:
"I'm the first to remove half a brain, although when you come to Washington you might think someone beat me to it!"
Kindness and civility are not words that come readily to mind when thinking of Donald Trump. His bombastic, hold no punches style lived up to its advance billing. But while abrasive at times, Trump does seem to express the frustration many conservatives feel when we see the non-enforcement of immigration policy, the mandates of ObamaCare, and the progressive rulings of the Supreme Court.

However, I believe when conservatives get used to hearing Trump's rants and realize that, in order to effect solutions to the problems he accurately describes, the Republican nominee will have to prevail next November, they will turn to more electable options.

That shift may in fact begin right away after his performance tonight. The debate began with him being the only one who raised his hand to signal that he would not commit to foregoing an independent run if he doesn't win the nomination. Then it moved quickly to his previous comments that, rightly or not, were seen as disparaging to women. That's not an enviable place for a Republican candidate to be. Thirdly, he offered up perhaps the only real gaffe of the evening. When asked about his prior support for a single-payer health care system, Trump's response included this eyebrow-raising tidbit.

"[Single-payer] works well in Canada and incredibly well in Scotland."
Unlike much of what Trump has said since announcing his campaign, those words will not tickle conservatives' ears. Look for the Trump phenomenon to fade in the coming days and weeks.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, son of former GOP presidential candidate and outspoken libertarian Ron Paul got into the only real row of the debate. They butted heads over national security, specifically, about collecting records in order to sniff out terrorists. Neither Christie nor Paul is a serious threat to win the nomination, in my view, but the governor will see his numbers rise in the near term.

Also likely to see a bump in the polls is Texas Senator Ted Cruz. An early entrant into the race, he grabbed headlines out of the gate, but has faded some in the polls since then. Tonight he represented the Christian conservative view and did so admirably. He seemed to come across as one who can be trustworthy to keep his commitments and to stay conservative no matter what. His fortunes will rise, but I believe he'll remain at the back of the first tier.

That leaves the three frontrunners - at least in my opinion - Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio and Scott Walker. Jeb Bush showed himself to be much more eloquent than his brother (not hard to do, I know). He surprised me with his conservative rhetoric - except for his support for Common Core. I expected him to appear more moderate, and I'm doubtful that true conservative persona will hold up unscathed under scrutiny. Still, he would be an acceptable nominee…except for that name! I worry that the penalty he would inevitably incur because of his name may prove too much to overcome in a closely fought general election.

Marco Rubio gave a very good performance, one that was elevated by his closing remarks. The following comment addressing Hillary Clinton's likely class warfare strategy was a gem:

"How is Hillary Clinton going to lecture me on living paycheck to paycheck when I was raised paycheck to paycheck? How is she going to lecture me on student loans when I owed $100,000 in student loans just four years ago."
He's clearly a viable option as the nominee who can win the presidency, and he may vault into the lead at some point if he can duplicate tonight's performance in future debates.

Another viable option is Scott Walker. Going into the debate, he was my favorite choice. That hasn't changed. However, his performance was truly uneventful. He didn't do poorly, but neither did he light it up. My hunch is he will benefit in the polls simply due to Trump's likely decline. During the debate, he called himself, "aggressively normal." That pretty much pegs his performance tonight. I'm not sure if he can retain contender status unless he become more memorable - in a positive way, of course - in future debates.

So who won the first Republican presidential debate of the 2016 election cycle? In terms of who improved their standing with GOP voters the most, I'd give the nod Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Mike Huckabee. Chris Christie would follow those three in the positive category. Donald Trump was the clear loser in my mind with Rand Paul coming in second for that dubious honor. The other four neither gained nor lost much ground.

posted by Scott Elliott at 1:45am 08/07/15 :: link
I'll be glued to the TV with my Twitter account in hand tonight as the top 10 GOP presidential candidates take center stage in Clevaland Ohio. The first tier one debate starts at 9 o'clock. If you want to follow my reactions, feel free to follow me on Twitter @bloggingcaesar.

If you're not into Twitter, you can wait until later tonight. Following the debate, I'll be posting my reactiions here on Election Projection. Let's get this party started!

posted by Scott Elliott at 8:40pm 08/06/15 :: link

On Thursday night, 10 GOP candidates will open in earnest the 2016 presidential election season by taking part in a debate at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. George Condon, writing at the National Journal's website, uses the occasion to look at how Democrats, except for recent presidential elections, haven't fared well here.

Ohio Democrats have had a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad quarter of a century. They enjoy the national spotlight that comes to Ohio as the quintessential swing state in presidential elections and which this week shines on Cleveland as its hosts the first 2016 Republican campaign debate. But they aren't enjoying the reality that they are mired deep in an historically horrendous losing streak where it counts: at home.
I'm not sure "at home" is really "where it counts." Perhaps because I'm not a Buckeye, Ohio's recent presidential results seem enormously important, and Republicans likely remain unable to win the White House without carrying the state's 18 electoral votes. Still, state government certainly is important to each state's residents and Ohio is no different. In the article, Condon points out that Ohio Democratic party chairman David Pepper isn't resigned to perpetual second place.
"We aren't just focused on the next election or any individual cycle," he said. "Our goal is to go much deeper to get people energized again, both Democratic and independent voters who have decided in the last decade or so that it is only worth showing up on the presidential Election Day. When they do show up that day, we win."
Whether or not Pepper's plan will make a difference remains to be seen. Regardless, however, as the cycle's first presidential debate nears, Ohio promises to be, once again, a major battleground in the 2016 race for the White House.
posted by Scott Elliott at 9:29pm 08/03/15 :: link
The Florida Supreme Court has decreed that the GOP-authored congressional map for the Sunshine State is invalid. Charlie Cook's website reports that...
Last Friday, the Florida Supreme Court threw the state's 2016 congressional elections into chaos when it invalidated the boundaries of eight of the state's 27 districts and ordered the GOP-led legislature to go back to the drawing board.
To the delight, no doubt, of Democrats, the court also took the opportunity in its 172-page ruling to chastise Republicans.
The court slammed the GOP for flouting the state's 2010 "Fair Districts" anti-gerrymandering amendments, and threatened to draw its own map if the GOP didn't come up with its own in 100 days.
However, David Wasserman notes in the artical how the ruling could backfire on Democrats hoping for a more favorable map.
Republicans could theoretically comply with the court's very specific instructions and still draw an even better map than they have now.
Time will tell how all this shakes out, but Wasserman points to two sitting congressmen who appear to be headed for dangerous electoral times - Democrat Gwen Graham in CD-2 and Republican David Jolly in CD-13. Both races have been moved to "Toss-up" in Cook's latest House race ratings.
Filed under:  2016 House Races 
posted by Scott Elliott at 11:17am 07/15/15 :: link
With almost all potential candidates officially announced now, here is the current list of Republican and Democratic presidential hopefuls. Scroll down to the end for my quick take on who are true contenders and who are not.
Democratic Presidential Candidates
Hillary Clinton
Former U.S. Secretary of State
Bernie Sanders
U.S. Senator from Vermont
Martin O'Malley
Former Governor of Maryland
Lincoln Chafee
Former Governor of Rhode Island
Jim Webb
Former U.S. Senator from Virginia
Republican Presidential Candidates
Ted Cruz
U.S. Senator from Texas
Rand Paul
U.S. Senator from Kentucky
Marco Rubio
U.S. Senator from Florida
Ben Carson
Retired Surgeon
Carly Fiorina
Former Corporate Executive
Mike Huckabee
Former Governor of Arkansas
Rick Santorum
Former U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania
George Pataki
Former Governor of New York
Lindsey Graham
U.S. Senator from South Carolina
Jeb Bush
Former Governor of Florida
Chris Christie
Governor of New Jersey
Bobby Jindal
Governor of Louisiana
Rick Perry
Former Governor of Texas
Donald Trump
Real Estate Mogul
Scott Walker
Governor of Wisconsin
Democrats will select Hillary Clinton as their nominee in 2016. The splash being made right now by Bernie Sanders will dissipate before the start of primary season. The only true threat to Clinton's nomination, Vice President Joe Biden, may or may not run, depending on whom you ask.

On the GOP side of the ledger, Trump's early splash will also peter out. Chris Christie won't make a splash at all. Ted Cruz, despite a strong start, won't win either. As I see it, the Republican nomination is a three-man contest. I'd confer the title of contender to Jeb Bush, Scott Walker and Marco Rubio. All the rest are also-rans.

posted by Scott Elliott at 8:07pm 07/13/15 :: link
While not as large as the Republican field, the list of Democrats vying for their party's nomination in the 2016 Presidential Election has increased today with Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee's announcement that he will join three others already running. In his announcement speech, Chafee took a jab at Hillary Clinton, the current overwhelming front runner for the Democratic nod.
Chafee [..] raised questions about contributions to the foundation started by former president Bill Clinton. At one point, he said the integrity of the Secretary of State's office - the job Hillary Clinton once held - has been called into question.
Chafee takes a diametrically opposing view from Republican Lindsey Graham, who announced a bit for the GOP nomination earlier this week, on the issue of foreign relations. In contrast to Graham's hawkish rhetoric, Chafee says he wants to "find a way to wage peace." Chafee and Graham are not dissimilar in one regard, however. Neither stands much of a chance of being on the presidential ballot next November.
Current Announced Democratic Presidential Candidates
Hillary Clinton
Former U.S. Secretary of State
Bernie Sanders
U.S. Senator from Vermont
Martin O'Malley
Former Governor of Maryland
Lincoln Chafee
Former Governor of Rhode Island
Another possible candidate
  • Jim Webb - Former U.S. Senator from Virginia
Regardless of whomever else joins the fray, Clinton should maintain a healthy lead among Democratic hopefuls for at least the rest of the year. In fact, I'm not in the camp that says the former first lady is in any danger of not getting the nomination for the blue team.
posted by Scott Elliott at 7:48pm 06/03/15 :: link
When Republican Lindsey Graham, South Carolina senator, said he was officially entering the race for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, the overcrowded GOP field swelled to nine. Graham pointed in his announcement to the strong approach he would take toward our enemies.
"I'm running for president of the United States," Graham said. "I want to be president to defeat the enemies that are trying to kill us - not just penalize them or criticize them or contain them, but defeat them."
That may not be convincing to many in the party who believe he is weak on illegal immigration. "Gramesty" is a popular derision offered by his conservative detractors. As a result, the potential for him to emerge victorious in the nomination race is quite small.
Current Announced Republican Presidential Candidates
Ted Cruz
U.S. Senator from Texas
Rand Paul
U.S. Senator from Kentucky
Marco Rubio
U.S. Senator from Florida
Ben Carson
Retired Surgeon
Carly Fiorina
Former Corporate Executive
Mike Huckabee
Former Governor of Arkansas
Rick Santorum
Former U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania
George Pataki
Former Governor of New York
Lindsey Graham
U.S. Senator from South Carolina
Other probable candidates
  • Jeb Bush - Former Governor of Florida
  • Chris Christie - Governor of New Jersey
  • Bobby Jindal - Governor of Louisiana
  • John Kasich - Governor of Ohio
  • Rick Perry - Former Governor of Texas
  • Scott Walker - Governor of Wisconsin
If all those on the probable list actually run, we'll be treated to a Republican nomination battle between no less than 15 combatants. Here's hoping the weeding out begins early in the process.
posted by Scott Elliott at 4:03pm 06/02/15 :: link
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