The Democratic nominee is unpopular, the Republican nominee is unpopular, and polls show voters taking a look at the Libertarian. Flash back or flash forward: Two marquee 2014 campaigns are looking a lot like the 2013 Virginia governor’s race right now, and that campaign provided some useful guidance for how to watch them. — Quinnipiac’s latest Florida poll confirmed its previous ones: More people view Gov. Rick Scott (R) and ex-Gov. Charlie Crist (D) unfavorably than favorably. The numbers have been even worse for Sen. Kay Hagan (D) and state House Speaker Thom Tillis (R) in North Carolina, where national Democrats and state Republicans also plumb the depths of popularity. And recent surveys in both states show Libertarian candidates pulling 9% or higher. — Polls usually overstate third-party support, and they’re likely to do so again in North Carolina and Florida this year. That’s the same story we saw in Virginia in 2013, when the two unloved major party contenders pushed Robert Sarvis (L) higher than usual in the polls — and his actual vote share underperformed 19 of the 20 final public polls of his race. — But in races where voters aren’t in love with either nominee, Libertarians can still catch on more than usual at the ballot box. (Sarvis still pulled in 6.5% of Virginians’ votes in 2013.) There’s plenty of campaign left, and Tillis especially may have an opportunity to change voters’ minds about him once the Legislature’s damaging special session is over. But on the other hand, most of the money flowing into these races is negative. It would be very unlikely for Libertarians to do as well in November as they’re doing at the polls now. But the same surveys also show why they could keep the eventual winners from getting a majority vote all the same.— Scott Bland
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A snowstorm is supposed to hit New Hampshire today and “linger into Primary Tuesday.” GOP consultant Ron Kaufman said lower turnout should help candidates who have spent a lot of time in the state tending to retail politicking. Donald Trump “has acknowledged that he needs to step up his ground-game, and a heavy snowfall could depress his figures relative to more organized candidates.”
Anticipating a primary loss in New Hampshire on Tuesday, Hillary and Bill Clinton “are considering staffing and strategy changes” to their campaign. Sources tell Politico that the Clintons are likely to layer over top officials with experienced talent, rather than fire their staff en masse.
We may not be talking about New Hampshire primary polls for another three-and-a-half years, so here goes:
- American Research Group’s tracking poll has Donald Trump in the lead with 30% support, followed by Marco Rubio and John Kasich tying for second place at 16%. On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders leads Hillary Clinton 53%-41%.
- The 7 News/UMass Lowell tracking poll has Trump way out front with 34%, followed by Rubio and Ted Cruz with 13% apiece. Among the Democrats, Sanders is in front 56%-40%.
- A Gravis poll puts Trump ahead with 28%, followed by Kasich with 17% and Rubio with 15%.
Well that didn’t take long. CNN has already declared Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump the winners of the New Hampshire primary, leaving the rest of the candidates to fight for the scraps. Five minutes later, the Associated Press echoed CNN’s call.