Trump struggles to explain his fall in oft-touted 2016 polls

28 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

5 things you need to know Wednesday.

WASHINGTON — What’s a Donald Trump campaign for president look like if he’s no longer the only front-runner for the Republican nomination? WASHINGTON (AP) — The Republican candidates for president will gather Wednesday for their third debate amid fresh volatility in an already chaotic race, with Ben Carson surging past Donald Trump in Iowa and one-time front-runner Jeb Bush under pressure to prove he’s still a viable candidate for the GOP nomination.All eyes will be on Ben Carson and Donald Trump for the third GOP debate, one day after Carson overtook Trump for the first time in USA TODAY’s GOP Power Rankings.Donald Trump on Monday defended women who wear burkas – but did so in the perhaps worst way possible, suggesting they might prefer the traditional Islamic veils because it frees them from having to put on makeup. We’re about to find out, just as soon as he decides. “Well, I don’t get it,” a confounded Trump said this week when asked to explain why the preference polls he touts every time he’s campaigning no longer show him as the unquestioned leader of the GOP’s 2016 presidential field.

The soft-spoken Carson has been a low-key presence in the first two GOP debates, but the retired neurosurgeon is likely to get more attention from moderators — as well as his fellow candidates — after a series of preference polls show him atop the field in Iowa. The GOP presidential hopeful, who according to a new national poll has lost his front-runner status to rival Ben Carson, said at a rally in New Hampshire Monday, “I saw a woman interviewed.

Preference polls are a far-from-perfect way to predict election outcomes, especially with voters still three months away from casting ballots in the first-to-vote Iowa caucuses. The question stands if Carly Fiorina can regain her polling numbers, and if Jeb Bush has the staying power to continue in the race. (Does Bush seem like he wants to be there?) The debate airs on CNBC at 8 p.m., and moderator John Harwood is expected to pay particular attention to economic issues — taxes, retirement spending and job growth. Marco Rubio, because he’s the greatest natural politician in the field, and if you think calling him “the Republican Obama” is an effective insult, you should go work in retail, not politics.

Slower-than-expected fundraising has led Bush to slash spending and overhaul his campaign structure, and he’s voiced frustration with the way the unusual race has progressed. The latest New York Times/CBS News poll shows Carson with 26 percent support among Republican primary voters with Trump in second place with 22 percent. So far, the real estate mogul and reality TV star has forgone paid advertising and traditional small-scale campaign events, where candidates interact with voters in the early voting states, for massive rallies in arenas and auditoriums. There will be 10 candidates on stage in the prime-time debate in Boulder, Colorado, all seeking a share of a smaller spotlight: this debate on CNBC will run for only two hours after the last affair went on for more than three.

The deal, which was reached this week, would suspend the debt ceiling until March 2017; that pushes any argument over the debt limit beyond the 2016 election cycle and places it into the hands of a new presidential administration and a new Congress. At nearly every one, Trump begins his speech by recounting his place in the latest polls, reciting one number after the next with the help of hand-written notes. The deal also creates a two-year budget plan that would bring some relief from across-the board spending cuts and would create a path to avoid a government shutdown in December. Experience as Florida governor and the Bush name haven’t ignited the Jeb Bush candidacy, with the high-profile candidate forced to trim expenses and payroll recently. (David Becker/Getty Images) Among them, two senators — Florida’s Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz of Texas.

Those six have to keep earning their place, but there are also nine other people on the debate stage tonight who don’t deserve to be there and shouldn’t be there. The stakes seem especially critical for former Florida Governor Jeb Bush who recently slashed campaign spending after slipping further behind in national polls and surveys in key early states like Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. I know in the United States of Ambition we’re supposed to wait for the outside play, the one-off political moment, the single performance that reshapes the field…but let’s be honest. While the plea agreement could mean that Hastert could spend time in prison, it could also mean that the 73-year-old can keep embarrassing details about his past out of the public eye.

Wednesday’s prime-time debate will also feature former business executive Carly Fiorina, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Ohio Governor John Kasich and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul. Hell, even a couple in the top bracket are nervous, so the guys below should know nothing awaits them but a slow, quiet political death, and campaign debts. In referring to a poll taken in Iowa, Trump called The Des Moines Register a third-rate newspaper and described Bloomberg News as a company against him because its founder and namesake, Michael Bloomberg, has indicated a desire to run for president in the past. “Right now it’s not very scientific,” he said Tuesday of the polls. The political rookies appealing to voter anger with Washington have ceded no ground and establishment politicians are still waiting for the race to turn their way — and increasingly wondering if it ever will.

And Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar criticized the billionaire businessman’s remarks on The View Tuesday, with Golberg saying, “It’s not a vanity thing.” But his dip in Iowa has prompted some speculation among Republicans that the tide could be turning against the bombastic billionaire. “His only hope of staying competitive is to entertain voters with his provocateur-in-chief routine right up until Election Day,” said Josh Holmes, a former adviser to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. “He’s the one candidate where ‘acting presidential’ actually has a detrimental effect on his campaign.” While Carson is unknown to many Americans, he’s built a loyal following with tea party-aligned voters and religious conservatives. The size of the Republican field is a major contrast with the Democratic race where only three contenders remain: former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley.

They’re ambitious, a little narcissistic (ok, a lot narcissistic), and they all think they’re the one guy in a country of 360 million people who should sit behind the Resolute Desk. Carson has raised eyebrows with his incendiary comments about Muslims and references to Nazis and slavery on the campaign trail, rhetoric he’s made no apologies for. Clinton also helped herself with her strong appearance before the House Select Committee on Benghazi and a crisp debate performance the previous week.

He also raised questions about Carson’s religious faith and has started to highlight what he says are contradictions in his record and policy positions. Britain’s Prince Harry will join Michelle Obama and Jill Biden in Virginia on Wednesday to promote the May 2016 Invictus Games — an international sporting competition for injured military members. In the Republican race, Trump has stepped up his attacks on Carson in recent days, accusing him of having “super low energy” in an interview with CNN. In an effort to highlight the importance of mental health and well-being in service personnel, Harry will visit the Fort Belvoir military base to meet wounded servicemen and women.

On foreign policy, he’s said, “all options should remain on the table when dealing with international bullies,” such as Russian President Vladimir Putin. Expressing dismay at his apparent drop in support among evangelical Christians, Trump repeatedly touted his faith, telling evangelicals in the audience: “I am the real deal.” Trump also shook up his usual rally format, taking questions from those in the crowd. But his challenge Wednesday is less about highlighting his mastery of the issues and more about showing his supporters he has the temperament to fight through a long and grueling primary. “You’ve got a guy here speaking from experience, speaking with knowledge about issues, speaking with a reasonable approach to matters,” said Pat Hickey, a Bush supporter from Nevada. “The problem, though, is: do those things seem to matter to the electorate?” With a well-funded super PAC standing by, Bush doesn’t appear to be on the brink of a campaign collapse, even if he performs poorly in the debate.

Trump has long said that he will spend whatever it takes to win the nomination, telling a crowd in Jacksonville recently that he’ll “be putting up a lot of money.” But the billionaire has yet to deliver, largely relying on donors to fund his early state-focused campaign. But Trump did well in a new Associated Press-Gfk poll where seven in 10 Republicans surveyed said Trump was the party’s strongest general election candidate, compared to six in 10 for Carson.

Trump also got a boost recently when Politico reported that 81 percent of Republican insiders who they check with regularly believe that the odds of Trump winning the nomination have grown measurably over the last two months. Bush, wrote in the Wall Street Journal that Republicans may have to choose between a nominee who has a conservative agenda or one “reflecting populist anger”, presumably referring to Trump.

He’s sharp as hell, a strong conservative, and a guy I’d want in a senior role in any Cabinet, but this was always a splash-and-dash name-ID building exercise. Fiorina, the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, earned strong reviews for her performance at the last debate, but her organization has not been able to capitalize on the positive media coverage in terms of poll numbers. Huckabee is a gifted earned media guy, but this race only has room for scenery-chewing, uber-populist, big-government Republican, and Trump is sucking up all that oxygen. On Obamacare, and a host of other 1990s-inflected Big Government Republican things, Kasich seems like he was designed in a lab to piss off modern GOP primary voters.

We tried electing a liberal-moderate-turned-conservative Republican governor from the Northeast once before, and Mitt Romney, for all his failings as a candidate, was 1000 times stronger as a Presidential prospect than Pataki.

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