Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Trump dominates a three-way race with Rubio and Cruz

Reuters-Ipsos recently added a daily tracking poll querying participants on who they'd pick in a three-way race between Trump, Cruz, and Rubio. Among Republicans, the results shake out like this:

And among independents/third-party members:

As a Trumpian, I was initially apprehensive about too much of the field dropping out after the first few states had voted, concerned that most of the capitulator support would go from one dead GOPe-approved candidate to another one still standing. A brokered convention would potentially allow for a corrupt bargain to be made if Trump had won something like 40% of the primary electorate to second place's 25%, but much as it would pain the party leadership to do it, I suspect they'd still give Trump the nomination in that scenario in exchange for some concessions and the VP spot.

To withhold the nomination from Trump in a situation where he had an indisputable plurality of the voters would invoke the Samson option and virtually guarantee a Democrat blowout in November. Sure, a lot of the GOPe would prefer Hillary to Trump, but most voters--even those who voted against Trump in the primaries--would be angry about the general election being conceded like that, and only the cuckiest of cuckservatives would feel Trump unjustified in refusing to endorse the non-Trumpian nominee in such a scenario.

Narrow the field, though, and the potential fact that Trump's Republican ceiling was below 50% could be revealed.

It looks like I was too pessimistic, however. If just 1-in-5 of either Rubio's or Cruz's supporters went to Trump or to "wouldn't vote", Trump comes out ahead in a head-to-head race, and this is without taking so-called electoral momentum into account, something that is probably especially beneficial for a 'controversial' candidate like Trump, for whom some people are waiting for a social signal that it is indeed okay to vote for him.

If it's Cruz that bows out first, it'd be shocking if less than 20% went to Trump. I suspect it'd be closer to 50%-50%. Rubio calling it quits would be a little more precarious, but Trump would still probably get there and anyway that seems unlikely given how the GOPe would really have to hold its nose to put pressure on Rubio to drop out so it could throw all its weight behind Cruz.

Parenthetically, comparing the daily tracking poll that still includes Kasich, Carson, and ¡Jabe! with the three-way poll suggests that if the second-tier were to collectively disappear, Rubio would get 50% of their supporters, Cruz would get 30%, and Trump would get 20%. ¡Jabe! and Kasich will surely benefit Rubio, while Carson could be better for Trump and Cruz.

And if this analysis isn't convincing enough, consider that the markets appear to be coming to a similar conclusion. Trump is now given a better than 60% chance to win the Republican nomination (and that prices in any sort of convention shenanigans that might keep it from him), Rubio just over 30%, and Cruz less than 10%.


Anonymous said...

With that smashing victory in Nevada the math got slighty better!

Dan said...

At 60% odds, there is still money to be made in the betting markets. I suspect some of !Jeb!'s money conflagration went to skewing those odds in his favor, because his polling numbers were always in the gutter since Trump entered the race.

What is left to throw at Trump from the right? The Pope said he was not a Christian, William Buckley's publication dedicated a whole issue to hating him, he got 0.0 endorsements from sitting Republicans and even the talk show folks endorsed other people. Tremendous sums were spent on attack ads, and he's endured completely stacked debates where his every utterance is booed. He attacked W. and neocon policy in the state that keeps electing Lindsey Graham. The UK has debated blocking his entry.

"Maybe he'll commit a terrible gaffe" ... what gaffe is there left to commit?

At this point, mere normalization would mean a big tailwind to Trump.

Dan said...

"At this point, mere normalization would mean a big tailwind to Trump."

Case in point, Google now has no image at all on the right side when you search for Donald Trump, which is very odd and intentional considering that there is a pleasant photo montage for every other presidential candidate.

This is an improvement from where they were using that section to pretty obviously attack him with his crazy finger photo.

Audacious Epigone said...


Right. When he made the joke about shooting someone in Manhattan and still retaining his support, he wasn't exaggerating that much! Trump solidly has more than one-third of primary voters in his camp, and they're firmly set up there. For Rubio (or theoretically Cruz, though that looks increasingly unlikely--the latest poll out of Texas basically has a three way tie between Cruz-Trump-Rubio, and if Cruz can't even win his socially conservative home state, it's hard to see how he keeps going) to overtake Trump, he has to get the support of almost everyone who is currently not supporting him or Trump. He'll be able to do that with the endorsers, but the electorate is another question.

Regarding the photos, yes, that is bizarre. I forgot to check the first time you mentioned it, but there used to multiple face shots of him and a profile off to the right, and now it's gone?

Audacious Epigone said...

Interesting how close the Nevada caucus results are to this three-way race poll. The fit is nearly perfect.

Mil-Tech Bard said...


Newt Gingrich pointed out that Trump plus Cruz plus Carson was 65% of the GOP primary/caucus voting universe back in early Feb was the anti-GOPe faction.

Trump has 1/3 of the GOP Base voting for him straight up from that faction.

Sundance over at The Conservative Treehouse blog found a good poll on GOP candidate 2nd choices that said the following:

"What this graphic is showing. If they drop out:

31% of Jeb Bush support goes to Donald Trump
39% of Ben Carson support goes to Donald Trump
43% of Ted Cruz support goes to Donald Trump
29% of John Kasich support goes to Donald Trump
29% of Marco Rubio’s support goes to Donald Trump"

33-35% straight up for Trump plus 1/3 of the rest puts him at ~55%, AKA most of the anti-GOP faction has Trump as their 1st or 2nd choice.

And note, a 1/3 of the establishment Jeb/Rubio supporters will take Trump as their 2nd choice over another establishment candidate.

Mil-Tech Bard said...


See this link --


The lead sentence from the article at the link is misleading --

A professor of political science at Stony Brook University has forecasted that Donald Trump has a minimum 97 percent chance of winning the general election as the Republican nominee.

Over all his model says a 61% of a generic Republican winning versus a generic Democrat. When narrowed down with the candidate voter results through South Carolina it says --

Norpoth then added data from the New Hampshire and South Carolina primaries to narrow down the forecast to specific candidates. As he brought up the first slide with matchup results, the silence was broken by muttering from the audience.

“Trump beats Hillary 54.7 percent to 45.3 percent [of the popular vote]. This is almost too much to believe.” Norpoth said, with a few members of the audience laughing nervously. “The probability of that [outcome] is almost complete certainty, 97 percent. It’s almost ‘Take it to the bank.’”

IMO, regards this guy's political forecasting model --

"Past model performance is no indicator of suture results."

It is encouraging none the less.

Audacious Epigone said...

New Hampshire 2008 to 2016 and the huge Nevada turnout lend some credence to this scenario. South Carolina isn't closed, either, so we'll get another data point when we compare South Carolina in 2008 and 2016 in terms of how many came out for the Republicans and Democrats.