Last night’s GOP debate further separated the only three viable Republican contenders from the rest of the field. Donald Trump, who by most reports gave his strongest debate performance to date, has solidified his place as GOP front-runner since the last time I adjusted EP’s nomination odds. The debate in North Charleston, South Carolina did nothing to slow his march.
Trump’s closest competitors, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, also had good performances. Cruz went toe-to-toe with Trump with mixed results, winning on the ‘birther’ issue but coming up short on the New York values exchange. He remains the biggest obstacle to Trump’s quest for the nomination, but his chances, while improving a bit are barely keeping pace with Trump as The Donald’s surge continues to outlive expectations.
After Trump and Cruz, Marco Rubio is the only other candidate with a realistic shot to survive the primaries. Somehow Rubio has been cast as the establishment candidate now that Jeb Bush has faded to irrelevance. Because of that his chances have dwindled as well. None of the other also-rans have a shot, and all of them should exit the race at their earliest convenience.
Updated Republican Nomination Odds:
|Donald Trump||60% (up from 55%)|
|Ted Cruz||30% (up from 25%)|
|Marco Rubio||10% (down from 20%)|
The Republican nomination battle is not the only one going on right now, and the Democratic nomination race has taken a more competitive turn lately. Hillary Clinton is still the prohibitive favorite to move on to the general election, but persistent questions about her emails and her and Bill’s foundation are starting to take their toll on her polling numbers. And as the second-place contender, Bernie Sanders is benefiting from Hillary’s stumble.
Recent polls have moved in his direction. Evidence of a shift can be seen in the current EP Poll Average of national Democratic primary polling. A month ago, Hillary held a commanding 25-point lead over Sanders in national polls, and despite his edge in New Hampshire, he looked like a vanquished foe. Since then, Sanders has made a substantial move, closing the gap with Hillary to within single-digits.
Sanders probably still won’t win the nomination, but Hillary’s troubles have introduced a new, albeit remote, possibility. Could someone else jump in at this late date and still the show? While it is highly unlikely, we have to consider another Democrat jumping into the race. That possibility is reflected in EP’s new Democratic nomination odds.
Updated Democratic Nomination Odds:
|Hillary Clinton||83% (down from 98%)|
|Bernie Sanders||15% (up from 2%)|
|Someone else||2% (up from 0%)|