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July 22, 2015



Lol Tomi I like your stuff but you should stick to commenting on phones :)

Wayne Borean

Heh. I'm hoping Trump will stick around. He's the comedians dream.

But what the Republicans need is Newt Gingrich. He's a damned smart politician with some really good ideas (and I include the moon base as a good idea). He wouldn't win the general election, but he'd get people talking, and hopefully regenerate a badly damaged Republican Party.

As to the Democrats, I'm hoping that Bernie Saunders can shake things up.


I just read a thriller about the Republican primaries in the previous US presidential elections, which translates 1-1 to the current situation. It is weird:

The Lafayette Campaign: a Tale of Deception and Elections
"America is rushing headlong into another election year, but something is wrong – the polls don’t match reality."


A PPP (D) poll yesterday

General Election: Bush vs. Clinton PPP (D) Clinton 46, Bush 41 Clinton +5
General Election: Walker vs. Clinton PPP (D) Clinton 46, Walker 41 Clinton +5
General Election: Rubio vs. Clinton PPP (D) Clinton 46, Rubio 41 Clinton +5
General Election: Trump vs. Clinton PPP (D) Clinton 50, Trump 37 Clinton +13
General Election: Huckabee vs. Clinton PPP (D) Clinton 46, Huckabee 40 Clinton +6

I enjoy your US politics blog a lot, it is always very interesting to read it, even when I disagree with you and even when you are wrong (not often) in your predictions (like that mid-term election prediction). Please continue the great job you are doing with the US politics blog posts.



A few things. First, the national polls are meaningless. 2012 showed that. Romney was leading a few the national polls before the election. He never led the state polls. Second, The Hill reports that the Democratic leadership is very concerned about these poll results. Of course, Trump could make it interesting with an independent run. He is a big contributor to the Clintons and most of his economic positions are center-left so he is more of a blue dog Democrat than a Republican.



Maybe they are meaningless, but I thought they supported the idea that there must be something wrong with those Quinnipiac polls in the three swing states. It is not surprising that the Democrats are concerned by those pools. That's the right attitude. Hopefully Trump comes to rescue and messes the GOP so badly that they will never recover.

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi Cornelius and Catriona

Thanks Cornelius for the kind words and obviously this topic area is a passion for me and I try to have the occasional blog about it which wouldn't just repeat what everybody else is saying, so I am also trying to add a bit to the dialog...

But haha yeah, looks like both of my statistics-related observations are now already having some confirmation. The new PPP poll of the Republican nomination has Trump support down to 19% so if that is followed by similar lower support levels, we may have experienced the 'Peak Trump' support moment and then its that McCain comment which essentially stalled his rapid rise.

I think its fascinating to study who gets immediate gains from Trump's fall. This is only one poll, it is by another organization so take that all with the necessary cautions but it looks like a few candidates are relatiely immune from Trump's ups and downs. Of the Top 9 rivals who are most likely to make the race, Bush, Huckabee and Christie seem very steady, no significant ups or downs related to Trump's recent see-saw.

If we look at who lost from Trump, and go back to just before he announced, the three big losers have been Carson, Cruz and Paul. Walker did an down-and-up but his climb is strongly related to his announcement-bump. Bush and Rubio lost early but then their support stabilized. So rather clearly there is a base level of support with several of the better-known brands. Trump has risen so fast in such a short time he's taken something from almost everybody but his appeal seems strongest in that Tea Party wing of the party.

Now to the first poll suggesting the post-peak Trump. Who is picking up and winning as the Republicans become disappointed with some Trumpisms? Walker, Rubio, Carson... and Fiorina !! She hasn't hit the 4% level in any poll this year but if this continues, Carly may make it into the Fox debate as 4% would get her in and toss most likely Rick Perry out. I find it funny that as Ted Cruz has been trying to be Trump's BFF, he isn't gaining anything from these early departures from Trump's support. Walker's announcement-bump may have gotten a bonus from Trump's self-induced damage. Rubio and Carson... thats interesting. Carson yes the Tea Party outsider, that I see, but Rubio? A bit surprised its not Rand Paul for example. Still, its only one poll.

Then on the Hillary weird polling by Quinnipiac. Thanks Cornelius for the link and yeah, I noticed that already and yes, it clearly indicates that there is no sudden catastrophic 10-point collapse of Hillary vs her Republican rivals. The national head-to-head is pretty steady and consistent huge leads for Hillary against all rivals. I hear you Catriona, yes its true a statewide poll is more likely to reflect a real situation than a national poll, but you also read my blog. There is something VERY fishy about Quinnipiac, and because its 3 separate simultaneous state polls (ie three separate audiences of about 1,000 people interviewed in each of those states) AND because those states are not all in one region - the ONLY feasible explanation for how the strong Hillary lead suddenly evaporates and turns into strong leads to each of those three rivals - is if there is a NATIONAL collapse of her support. It doesn't need to be quite 10 points, but she has to see huge drops and going from favorite to being behind nationally, or else those Quinnipiac findings cannot be valid. And now we have (the first) such poll that shows that case. I am now 90% - 95% confident the Quinnipiac poll cannot reflect reality.

As both of you know, there is NO national news story of a huge ongoing and new Hillary Clinton political crisis (or even ANY state-wide crisis in those three states, Colorado, Iowa and Virginia). There is nothing going on with her that is out of the totally normal. The nation is focused on the black woman who died in jail in Texas and there was the brief flag 'controversy' about half-mast, Cosby's sex scandal, and some typical accusations once again about Planned Parenthood and obviously the big story is the Iran deal which features Obama and John Kerry. And tons of stories about Trump vs Lindsay Graham or Trump vs Perry or Trump on the border but... nothing about Hillary. There is nothing that could possibly cause her total support to instantly collapse.

Meanwhile the first national poll says no, all is good, there is no collapse whatsover. With this, Catriona, we do have to accept there is ZERO collaborating evidence that Quinnipiac's bizarre and utterly unanticipated illogical polling results would have merit. They got a LOT of press from that - it makes me VERY suspicious - but nobody can point to any valid reason or evidence it actually is so. So yeah. Am not yet 100% convinced, I do want to see in-state polling in at least one of those three states to finally be conclusively convinced but the evidence is overwhelming, Quinnipiac messed up on that call. Hillary is not behind in those three battleground states. And now, ignore that poll, look at only in-state polls from the recent other polls, and you find Hillary is ahead in all 3 states against one rival, and in 2 of the 3 states against the remaining two rivals. She's in about the same level of election victory confidence as Obama was in 2012 at this time, when it does look good but obviously its a long ride and she can't take it for granted.

Onto 'Democratic leadership is very concerned' I think that even then when that story was reported by The Hill, it was not strictly true. Concerned, maybe. Very concerned, come on, when the polls are so CLEARLY off-base that even I back here in Hong Kong, a tech nerd, can see it, then no, the Hillary campaign who has internal polling on each of those states knew there is no reason for being VERY concerned. But a bit concerned, that is healthy and like I wrote here, if that weird polling turns out to be true, she's in deep shit. If her support can go from a massive lead to huge deficit in less than two weeks, then she'd also be a VERY weak and vulnerable candidate and her overall national support also would be incredibly fragile. Again, as we saw of her campaign in 2008, and her reputation and image, and decades of the electorate knowing her, almost all of her support is baked in. You either love her or hate her, there is VERY little in the middle and luckily for the Clinton dynasty, the majority is, has been for years, and is clearly by all relevant and reasonable polling too, showing that she holds a comfortable lead. Good enough against this Republican field as it exists.

So part of that may have been some opportunistic journalism or even an editor writing a headline that goes beyond the story. It may have been the quoted people were exaggerating a bit just to suggest the campaign is not taking Bernia and the boys for granted haha, or that she is 'fearing' the Republicans haha, but in reality, no, they did't lose any sleep over those polls.

On Trump independent run. Yeah, I can't see him wasting the 100 million dollars or more it would cost, as he'd need to self-finance and he has to be smart enough to know he can't win as a third party candidate there is totally no way. But he is an ego-maniac (and trust me, it takes one to know one and I am one, seriously) and I can see that if he is offended enough, he could go in just out of spite and that yes, the appeal of the 10,000 person audiences yelling his name is something that strokes the ego in ways you can't get by showing up on a TV show for an interview about your next golf course.

What I read between the lines Catriona is that you think Trump would pull more from Democrat support than Republican? I agree with you that most of Trump's natural and historical political positions are best positioned as a moderate Democrat, on the strong-business and strong-military side but very liberal on most social issues (like often New York based politicians of either side, whether a Chuck Shumer or Rudy Giuliani etc, not to mention carpetbagger Hillary herself the 'New Yorker').

If Trump was now running on his traditional political positions as a 'moderete' Republican, like a Tim Pawlenty or Jon Huntsman or Rudy Giuliani - then yes, he could draw support from plenty of Independents and some Democrats. But as you can see from all his rhetoric, he's running on almost a single-issue candidacy (hating Mexicans or if you want to be generous, on a conservative immigration position). However, just about anything he's been quoted on apart from Mexicans are Rapists, he's taking extreme right-wing tea-party positions from Obama (he's TERRIBLE) to Hillary's tenure (she was TERRIBLE, the worst Secy of State of all time) to the Iran deal (its TERRIBLE) to ISIS (they are TERRIBLE, did you know they are building a hotel and are competing with me?) etc etc etc. These are all Tea Party positions that have long since alienated Trump 2016 from the moderates, the independents and will gain him zero support from the Democrats.

Now, if Trump runs as an Independent or picks some third party to run with, he'll have some room to alter his positions and do some flip-flops. I can yes, see Trump then - but only then - gaining some support from moderates and independents, but hardly any Democrats. He would risk then losing Tea Party support so he can't do this much. Most of Trump vote would be stolen from the Republican candidate, at anything from 4 to 1 ratio vs Hillary, to possibly as much as 10 to 1. Some will be from Hillary too, yes, but far far more, at least 4 times more, would come from the Republican nominee. Now, remember, the Republican HAS to do his/her etch-a-sketch moment, to drop some of the extreme conservative pandering positions and adopt moderate positions instead. That will be always ridiculed by the other side (and Hillary will be doing this too, but to a lesser extent as most of her positions, while Liberal yes, already align with the USA mainstream). But with Trump as the Independent, and NOT playing the middle, Trump appealing to the Tea Party would destroy the extreme and most loyal Republican support. And any time the official Republican candidate pandered to the center, he'd hear from Trump on the right, that look, he's only a RINO anyway.

If Trump ran now, after this Republican run, as a moderate, he'd fail to gain any moderate support and his Tea Party support would mostly vanish too. Its a suicidal strategy plus it would not get him any of the attention he desperately would need as the third-party candidate. But if Trump ran as a Tea Party right-wing nut, he would draw easily 5% and could take as much as 15% or more of the general electorate. If we say 12% came from the Republican and 3% from Hillary and for the sake of easy math, lets say otherwise the race would be tied - Hillary wins 47 to 38 to 15. Trump in the race turns an even race to a 9 point landslide - because Trump isn't in the middle, he takes it from the Tea Party side. Now imagine if the race is as the current polls suggest, Hillary at 5 point lead. That means she crushes the Jeb Bush and Scott Walker ticket by 14 points! It means she wins at least 40 of 50 states and both the Senate and House flip on her coat-tails.

One more thought... Trump running as an Independent could trigger a genuine split of the Republican party with the Tea Party joining with Trump. I thought this was a bigger risk previously before Trump's McCain moment but it is still plausible. If you want the true nightmare scenario, the Republican party split is that. In the long run, I think, as a Finn from a multi-party system in our country, that eventually the USA should abandon the silly two-party limit and have more parties. So in the long run it would be healty for the USA, if there was that nationalistic ultra-militaristic ultra-libertarian party ie Tea Party, and a moderate Republican party that accepts science and freedom of choice but still stands for small government and private business and a strong military but isn't hijacked by the abortion-fanatics and haters, and then the 'classic' Democratic party which would stand for every imaginable minority and all national systems and services, and labor unions and a more pacifist and internationalist party. If the GOP were to split and the Tea Party became its own, it would of course mean Hillary's successor after two terms would also be a Democrat, probably a race between Elizabeth Warren, Michelle Obama and Julian Castro.

Cornelius, on Trump and messing up the GOP, haha yeah. I am really pondering about the first Fox debate (I actually had to rearrange a flight related to my holiday to ensure I am at a TV to catch the debates live that day, I would not miss that for the world). I am sure each Republican rival has worked on their strategy for the debate. They can't have a Tim Pawlenty moment when they are given the opening to strike and then pass, its seen as weakness and everybody will be watching. But what of Trump? One, he knows he's be the target - even more that he's now on the top of the polls and at the middle podium. But imagine if everybody takes potshots at him all debate, and some of those are poorly prepared lame attempts which don't land. And Trump gets to bask in how everybody is ganging up on him... he could also emerge from the debate as the hero who is sieged by the party establishment. And that should appeal well to his base and win him some sympathy and support.

If the attacks are by a few strong debaters/speakers, on a very well constructed and facts-based attacks, which have a lot of humor in it, and get the audience to laugh AT Trump, he would be humilated. If its a series of failing personal attacks on things like his hair and his name on buildings ie his ego and his past wives etc, that could well earn him support from the room and even a strong attack later, could fall into the clutter of 'its everybody ganging up on Trump'.

I really find this fascinating and spending a lot of time thinking of the dynamics. Ten candidates on stage, everybody knowing tomorrow's discussion will include one word 'Trump' and each wanting the other name mentioned to be his (or yes, maybe Carly, if her polling holds). Its conceivable that Trump is out of the race by the second CNN debate in October. This is potentially a make-or-break once-in-a-political career opportunity for a good speaker/debater, to try to land a knock-out punch on the most-viewed TV debate of the pre-season of any year haha. But I am SURE we will also see failed attempts so it will also in a way separate the men from the boys. We could have a headline on Aug 7 that X destroyed Trump. Who would that X be...

Also Trump is good at that. Its equally possible that we'll be reading about how Trump crushed the weaklings on the first debate haha.. and then it would mean yet another bump for Trump in the polls.

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Wayne Borean


I tweeted this to you, don't know if you've seen it. It is well worth reading, as it shows how part of the 'Religious Right' will respond.


That's curious. The national polls that I saw last Presidential election showed Obama with a lead. Not a big lead, but large enough that I thought Romney didn't have a chance.


Don't forget to buy lots of popcorn. Politics! The most exciting blood sport!

Oh, and there's noises that some of the emails on Hillary's server were classified. Classified after she recieved them... They are talking about opening an investigation, with an eye to laying charges.

There were 60,000 emails on that server. Keeping up with which ones were classified after sending would be impossible for a human, which shows why personal email servers should never be used for government business.

Will this hurt her numbers? I don't know. It may push some supporters over to Saunders. It may peel some off for Jeb Bush. Guess we'll have to wait and see.


Did none of the others use personal accounts for business (governours business) mails? I know it was widely used in GW' administration.


@Tomi, there is no two party "limit." The issue is that in a winner-take-all system , things gravitate toward two parties. Canada and increasingly the UK are the exceptions because of regional factionalization, but even there two parties dominate. Multi-party systems aren't panaceas, either (witness Israel, where the emergence of a two party system would likely be helpful and a moderating force). But with binary election results, and ballot requirements (it takes lots of signatures to get on the ballot in most states), it's difficult for minor parties to become major parties. The last successful one was the Republican Party, though others (Progressive Party, Dixiecrats, etc.) have had short-term success.

At the state level, it's the Democrats who are the weaker party. Outside a few big states, they lack the grass roots organizations needed to win state legislatures. So what we have in the U.S. right now is a Democratic party that has stronger fundamentals in presidential elections, but a Republican party that has stronger fundamentals in state and local elections. Eventually it will balance out. More likely, as the Democrats move increasingly to the left, it will give the Republicans a chance to re-brand toward the summer, much the way that Bill Clinton moved the Democrats to the center in 1992.


I would calling 5% to get on the ballot a two party limit.

But the American system was different than in the UK etc. in that in the UK it is rare that an mp doesn't vote with the party while it was normal in the US

Tomi T Ahonen

Wayne - haha yeah I saw that, thanks and thanks for posting the link here. Must-read stuff. On the 2012 polls, nationally Romney pulled back into the game after the Obama snooze-debate. In the last days just before the election it was about even a few polls did have Romney ahead, but a few more suggested Obama ahead. I recall the Real Clear Politics final polling average was about 1 point for Obama when all national polls were averaged.

That didn't matter, as Catriona talked about before, its the state-wide polls that mattered and they were signalling a clear Obama victory across most battleground states so the actual election result was not in doubt (if you went by polls, but also, as Catriona has mentioned before, polls are becoming increasingly unreliable vs actual election results).

The Hillary emails latest scandal seemed to be that it wasn't Hillary to be under investigation but State Department officials (which was initially wrongly reported by the NY Times but then corrected) Its such a silly nonstory but the Republicans need everything they can get.

Winter - different rules in different times.

Catriona - I know there is no limit but the de-facto status is such. The trend has been away from two-party systems to ever more, the UK is not just three parties now. I know what you say about Israel that two-party system can be more efficient, that is totally true. Italy for decades was an utter mess. But it is LESS democratic. A dictatorship is far more efficient than a two-party system and obviously far less democratic haha... So yeah, its true, but has nothing to do with my point, I would hope a more democratic system also evolves in the USA, and a split of the cancerous Tea Party away from the Republican party would be healthy but in the shorter run, it would mean Democratic party rule for at least a decade.

About the state level, come on please don't write that, as you know its not true. The actual votes cast in state elections favor Democrats but the gerrymandering of 2010 means that the Republicans get the majority of the seats. There is not such a nastily tilted local political preference. But that will be corrected no later than in 2020 as the Democrats were caught off-guard in 2010 but are now prepared for that gambit (very smart by the Republicans back in 2010). The GOP - DEMS swing is not national vs local, its turnout based. High turnout DEMs win low turnout GOP wins. Next election 2016 will set recent turnout records because women who otherwise might not bother, will come to vote for the first female president. That means coat-tails, and the only question is how big are they. She brings the Senate, that is relatively easy as the GOP has too many vulnerable seats to defend. But can Hillary's coat tails flip the House, that is the only question about 2016. The rest is already clear.

Would you want to venture a friendly bet, how the election turns out. I have said I believe she wins with double digits. And I see absolutely no reason she won't. Hillary right now is sleepwalking and her campaign won't even kick into gear until the convention. But have you heard Obama recently or Bill? They are really eager to get onto the trail with Hillary. Very VERY smart by Hillary not to run away from a popular president like Obama - before you throw stats at us - Obama summer 2016 voter approval at 45% is on par with Ronald Reagan his 6th summer and Bill Clinton his 6th summer. They are the most popular past presidents since Kennedy. And neither of their VP's wanted to associate with them, Bush Sr ran away from RR and Al Gore ran away from BC. Hillary is smart to stay with Obama, the economy is good, his approval is good enough (for Democratic support ie in selected states) and Obamacare only gaining in its satisfaction. The Iran deal has majority of US population support as do most Obama achievements and executive actions.

We have not had that situation in recent years when the outgoing President actively campaigns for his successor but Obama can't wait to get back onto the campaign trail and talk politics and blame the Congress and secure his legacy. Bill Clinton, meanwhile, has never had his chance to really support a successor Democratic candidate, Obama even in 2012 only used him sparingly. Now he finally gets to do what he loves (second) most, ie the campaign trail.

Who can you pull for the Republican candidate? Either of the Bushes? Haha. Or Romney? Or Dick Cheney? Or McCain? Sarah Palin? Come on, there is nobody who is any kind of solid surrogate even for the Republicans, even Trump is now burned (by the time his run is done, he will hate whoever took 'his' nomination).

BUT - I do agree with you, Hillary is moving surprisingly strongly to the left. I didn't think she needs to and part of it seems, that she really wants to (now gun control) but that is, as you said, an opening for the Republicans to come and seize the mid-ground. Now, is there anyone on the GOP field capable of doing that? I'd say Chris Christie maybe or yeah Pataki but neither of them will win the nomination. Bush might have been but he has to tack far to the right that he loses those chances. Walker never will, he's two inches from a member of the Nazi party.

I think the earliest the Republicans can go grab the moderate mid-ground is 2020 but the FAR more likely scenario is, that 2016 is a bloodbath for a 'moderate' and in 2020 the party wants ideological purity and someone like Ted Cruz will go down in historic epic loss to Hillary's re-election. But if they now nominate someone who with hindsight can be accused of being 'too conservative' after all (ie a Mondale Moment in reverse) then yes, in 2020 someone like a Rand Paul could come as a moderate and appeal to the mid ground. I can't see that happening in 2016, the party is far too much in the grasp of the Tea Party and now all this nonsense of Iran war on day 1, supreme court recall elections, abortion limits etc.

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Wayne Borean


Another article about Trump. Some of it is incorrect, but hey, it's from a newspaper...


I see you don't know much about Canadian politics. We have a solid three party system. The fourth and fifth parties both have room for growth (even if it is unlikely). Here's a nice write up on polling from July 7. There's more recent polling, but the site is undergoing an overhaul and it isn't up yet.


So, if I understand these comments, we can speak of the "Attack of Trumpzilla, The GOP under siege"

Where is the movie!


Can the GOP presidential aspirations be saved from Trumpzilla?

URGENT - cnn poll trump

Most Republican voters want Donald Trump to remain in the race for president, and he's the candidate GOP voters are most likely to say they want to see on the debate stage, according to a new CNN/ORC Poll.

Wayne Borean

Mike Huckabee has just proved that he is insane


"Mike Huckabee has just proved that he is insane"

Reading this interview, I started to wonder whether Trumpzilla would really be a worse president than Huckabee?

But I suspect this perl of Huckabee's wisdom will cause a lot of pain to the GOP: A new tax on the poor.
"He argued that the best way to take away advantages of being an illegal immigrant is to institute a consumption tax."


Most people say that Trump as a clown etc. but look at the other republican candidates; compared to that crew, I'm not sure he's the biggest clown of the bunch..

1. He's got the money (he probably won't spend his own money, but still..)
2. He's got the medias attention
3. He knows the entertainment business well
4. He's had visits earlier from just about every other candidate but Bush, asking him for money
5. He's not a real politician (which is good)

When the debates start, Trump will most likely crush many of the candidates. Their track record will most likely prove that they are mostly talkers, while he can present himself as a man of action..



Sorry, but Huckabee's strategy makes sense. Basically make everyone's life in the US so miserable that nobody would ever want to immigrate. Trump's goal to "make America great again" is nonsense because it will inevitably attract even more illegal immigrants. Sorry, I couldn't resist :-)


The US president election is the most irrelevant election of them all. What happened and what will happen is that you will get to vote for two candidates that represent the same US permanent government.

They are allowed to get some pet projects like health care but forget any difference when it comes to foreign policy.

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