Skip to main content

Up for grabs: three new polls in the South Carolina GOP primary

It's going to be an interesting night for political junkies- and for anybody else interested in America being rescued from the horror of a Trump or Cruz nomination and a resultant Hillary Rodham Clinton presidency. The polls in South Carolina are all over the place, and though there seems (at least in some polls) to be a late movement away from Cruz and toward Rubio, who knows?

This primary is critical, but not for the usual reasons. Everybody agrees that Trump is going to win it handily; his approximately one-third of the vote (it will never get smaller and almost certainly will never get much bigger) currently dominates a field in which the "sane lane" votes are divided three ways. Those three candidates- Rubio, Bush and Kasich- have, together with the departed Chris Christie and Carly Fiorina, received enough votes in both Iowa and New Hampshire that if they had been cast for a single candidate, he would have won both. The real issue at this point is how quickly "sane lane" votes can be concentrated behind a single candidate- almost certainly Rubio- so that at least one of the three can be viable going forward. Therefore, Rubio has to do well (preferably, though not necessarily, finishing ahead of Cruz), while Bush and Kasich have to do badly enough that they're motivated to drop out at the earliest possible date.

Three last South Carolina polls have come out after popular Republican Gov. Nikki Haley's (above and  left) endorsement of Marco Rubio. An Emerson poll taken in the same time frame has already been reported here.

The Clemson Poll looks like this:

Trump 28%
Cruz 19%
Rubio 15%
Bush 10%
Kasich 9%
Carson 6%

The poll reflects the views of 650 likely voters and has a margin of error of six percent.

A new NBC/WSJ/Marist poll reports:

Trump 34%
Cruz 18%
Rubio 15%
Bush 13%
Kasich 9%
Carson 9%

The poll questioned 722 likely voters and has a margin of error of 3.6%

And the Opinion Savvy poll- reported by "Real Clear Politics" but for some reason not included in the table- shows the likely result as:

Trump 27%
Rubio 24%
Cruz 19%
Bush 11%
Carson 8%
Kasich 7%
Undecided 4%

A weighted 780 voters participated, and the margin of error is 3.5%

Opinion Savvy adds:

Rubio has increased his support in several key demographics, including the 45-64 and 65+ age cohorts. Rubio is also ahead of Trump in the Lowcountry, a less conservative area of the state with a lower percentage of Republican voters. In our most recent polls, Cruz has hovered around 19%, which he maintains once again.

Trump has managed to improve his ranking within the youngest demographic, and he maintains the highest commitment from voters: 97% of Trump supporters indicated that they do not foresee changing their vote.

For all intents and purposes, the results indicate a very likely Trump win… just don’t be surprised if Rubio fares better than expected.

Macht Nichts, as my grandmother used to say. If the results are as predicted by Opinion Savvy Bush and Kasich will likely be forced from his race, uniting the "sane lane" vote behind Rubio in advance of Super Tuesday on March 1. And equally important, Rubio will replace Cruz as Trump's main opponent.

In that case, expect Il Duce's propaganda machine to begin to target Rubio much as it has targeted Cruz since New Hampshire.

But the results (as you may have noticed) are all over the place. Trump will indeed most likely win. But the significant results tonight will be whether Cruz or Rubio finish second, and whether or not Bush and Kasich do well enough to justify their staying in the race, at least in their own minds.

Of the two, the second is by far the more important. I don't put much stock in those rather arbitrary statements by various pundits that Rubio will somehow cease to be viable if he finishes behind Cruz. As long as Bush and Kasich are out by or shortly after Super Tuesday on March 1, Rubio will be well positioned for the main part of the battle for the nomination as a candidate able to compete on equal footing with Trump and Cruz. The most likely result would be a brokered convention, with Rubio by far the most likely among the three to emerge as the compromise nominee. Cruz's supporters will almost certainly prefer him to Trump.

Graphic by DonkeyHotey

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

McMullin, Kasich, Hickenlooper, Huntsman, or somebody else sane in 2020!

I don't expect to be disenfranchised in 2020. I'm looking forward to Evan McMullin running against President Trump and whatever left-wing extremist the Democrats nominate. McMullin may or may not run for the Senate next year, and he may or may not run for president as an independent again next time around, but the nation can't afford to lose its most eloquent and intelligent critic of the populist takeover of the Republican party and the Executive Branch. We need the man in public life.

But interesting alternatives have developed. Ohio Gov. John Kasich has been mentioned as a potential primary challenger for Mr. Trump. I hope somebody continues the fight for the soul of my former party, even though I believe it to be a lost cause. Entrepreneur Mark Cuban is reportedly also considering a challenge to Mr. Trump. While I tend to see him at this point as somewhere to the left of where a candidate I would feel comfortable supporting might be, I would wish him well. Still, I see…

A modest proposal for a shocking innovation which is completely within the rules but which would, if adopted, revolutionize college football

I call it defense.

The idea- crazy as it may sound- is to supplement the scoring of points by your offense with an attempt to stop the other team from scoring them. Yeah, I know.  Really "out there," isn't it? But it has a history of winning not only games but championships. Modern college teams should try it more.

I'm a bit bummed about the Rose Bowl outcome but amused by the score. It seems that certain conferences aren't sure whether they're playing college football or high school basketball! I've noticed that in the scores of Sooner games. Last season the nation's college teams set a record by scoring an average of slightly more than 30 points each per game. That's a lot. Historically, that's a REAL lot.

The final score of the Rose Bowl was 54-48, though to be fair that was in double overtime. But to get there, the teams had to be tied 45-45 at the end of regulation! Last year was even worse. Southern Cal beat Penn State 52-49- in regulat…

A third party President in 2020?

I had the pleasure of meeting Joel Searsby, the campaign manager for Evan McMullin last year, at an event for Evan here in Des Moines during the campaign. Here's an interview with Joel by Jon Ward of Yahoo News on the ways in which centrist French President Emmanuel Marcon's out-of-nowhere landslide election last year may serve as an example for the inevitable bid to elect a rational, moderate third party candidate in 2020.

I have a feeling that it will be Evan McMullin again. But names like John Kasich, the Governor of Ohio, and Sen. Lindsey Graham also keep popping up. Word is that Kasich may challenge President Trump for the 2020 Republican nomination, an endeavor in which I'd wish him well but hold out very, very little hope for his success. I sadly expect that my conviction that the Republicans are dead as a vehicle for rationality and the reuniting of our fractured and divided country to be confirmed by the easy renomination of the most unfit and unqualified preside…