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February 07, 2016


Stephen Reed

Thanks for your analysis Tomi. Seeing Donald Trump debating tonight made me wish that Trump had debated prior to Iowa.

As a debate expert, do you think that somehow Rubio put too much emphasis on memorizing his lines during his debate preparation? Television pundits are saying his 5x repetition gaff was of historic proportions.


What was odd was that the moderators hardly asked about the economy. They spent more time asking about North Korea (something the Democrats have not been quizzed much on). ABC dropped the ball a bit.

That said, given that the debate was on a Saturday night, ratings were probably low, even in New Hampshire, where traditional retail politics holds a lot of sway. So perhaps it won't be that bad for Rubio after all. Even Obama had a bad debate performance against Romney in 2012.

As for Trump and Cruz, while I don't like Trump, Cruz's move in Iowa has been roundly criticized. CNN made very clear that Carson wasn't pulling out of the race, and as an Evangelical, Cruz would benefit most from Carson dropping out.

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi Stephen & Catriona

Stephen - I think it says something about Rubio's technique compared to those who think on their feet (Christie, Cruz & Trump). Rubio has memorized very good well-working lines and has adopted the 'I will use my memorized line regardless of what is asked' method - which can work (look at Sarah Palin in 2012 VP debate haha). But today, it really exposed Rubio as not THINKING and not LISTENING during the debate. I can't believe he actually did that, right after Christie exposed his technique, to then do the same thing again. And yeah, some counted it as 5 times he had the same response during the debate, thats not a sign he is particularly deep in what he knows haha. I think this will not end today, he will be hearing about that in the future - and he will be particularly be studied in the next debate, if this is still the pattern (but luckily for Rubio, Christie probably won't be there anymore to hassle Rubio on it, the moderators didn't bother to, but Christie pounced).

So I think it tells the difference in level of skill, Rubio is good at memorizing a successful line, and pivoting to it, without actually answering a question. Christie (best of the field) is opposite, he listens to the question and pounces, even to the point of listening not just what HIS questions are, but what the OTHERS are asked - and pounces when THEY don't answer the question. When Christie is gone, expect Cruz to employ this technique now, reminding debate audiences that this is what Christie showed about Rubio in the past. Jeb isn't fast enough on his feet to pick that up, he is just trying to keep his mouth functional for 60 seconds at a time.

Oh on the previous debate and Trump - probably VERY many Trump supporters feel the same way. But lets be honest.. last debate on Fox has the NASTY surprise that hadn't been used in any debates ever before, of videotape of a candidate arguing many times for an opposite view of what they now claim to support. That was only run against the front-runners ie Cruz & Rubio. It would have DEFINITELY be run against Trump too. Both Cruz and Rubio were damaged by that type of attack. It would have hurt Trump even more, because obviously Fox had had plenty of time to prepare this 'ambush' and had Trump been there, its very likely his videotape would have been most damaging, and Trump also, would likely not have dealt well with it (with no warning, at least now he can prepare for this method of attack in future debates, so he will never be ambushed quite as suddenly as Cruz & Rubio were). That being said, yes, Trump would have probably had a night similar to now on ABC but I think, the mood heading into Iowa and the feistiness of the debate then, would have been more contentious, more attacks - but also - like today, the second tier is fighting for survival now, and not bothering to attack Trump (yet). So he probably would have had r oughly as 'easy' a night as today on ABC.

Catriona - true about economy, but its not a train-wreck worth debating in every round. There were two debates already on the GOP side that were by business news networks, so we've had a lot of economic issues discussed. I'm sure the next one will have some again. And on N Korea, the only reason its now in the news is that missile launch.

About TV viewership, I think it will be good audience again because Trump was on it, and especially NH viewers will be eager to see the candidates so probably it was highly viewed in the state. Rubio's best bet was a strong bounce he was seeing out of Iowa, so if this debate now stalls his trend, he's still headed for 2nd place and I can't seen him falling below 3rd in almost any scenario. The embarrassment for Rubio is, that Kasich could snatch second (dropping Cruz to 4th) and for Rubio, if he's not the top candidate for the moderate wing, he is in trouble. A lot of the powers of money and institutional forces, party elders, local party leaders in the early voting states, etc would prefer a moderate Governor but they had what was it, 7 Governors I think, to begin with in this year's race, so they couldn't quickly settle on one. I think the two Governors out of NH will be Kasich and Jeb, and based on today's debate, almost all of Christie's supporters (and Fiorina's) will end up with those two, not with Rubio. It makes the race something like 35-20-15-15-15, kind of impossible for any one of the 'Three Moderates' to climb above another. In that race - if Jeb is not knocked out, he is the one who has the most money and big donors and party backers. He can still come out ahead of that 'bracket' if he keeps improving through SC and Nevada. Rubio needs to crush the moderates so he would be the only viable 'Non-Trump non-Cruz' candidate. But the next few races will be very entertaining and this will be seen as a major stumble by Rubio. Not in any way a career-ending stumble of the type of 'Oops' with Perry or 'Moonbase!' with Gingrich.

On the Cruz dirty tricks squad out of Iowa, thats what happens in elections. Luckily the primary process is prolonged, so one such trick can't steal you more than one cycle but yeah, it was probably a minor factor in Cruz's win, a far bigger factor was obviously the debate stunt by Trump. Note that Carson's actual vote totals were UP compared to the last polling, so Carson really wasn't damaged 'severely' by what Cruz did. But it may have given him a half a point or one point even. Nowhere enough to flip the race that Trump had already lost.

BTW on Trump. If he was 'really smart' he would try to keep Jeb, Christie and Kasich all in the race now, so that in addition to Cruz, there are four moderates. That would be the best political calculus because extremely conservative religious voters are not a large enough voter block to defeat Trump, but there are more moderates than Trump loyalists. Trump would need the moderate vote as fractured as possible. If he plays smart, he will now focus on attacking only Cruz (or possibly Rubio as well) but not attack at all Jeb, Kasich or Christie... He could even say nice things about those three haha...

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Wayne Borean

Checked the Reuters polling report, fro the two weeks ending Friday February 5/2016 and the trend lines are interesting. Trump showed an uptick starting on the 1st. Cruz and Rubio both showed downticks.

So maybe Trump's decision to skip the Fox debate was the correct decision. Assume that Trump already knew he was likely to loose in Iowa, and that the Fox trap had been leaked to him. In that case attending the debate could have done a fair bit of damage to him, and by skipping, he avoided that.

Maybe. We'll see what happens at the next Fox debate...

As to this debate, I didn't see it, so I can't comment on it. I can't wait to see the New Hampshire primary numbers, and who drops out. It would be funny if none of them drop out, and the candidate's desperation climbs a few more notches!


Betting odds are now mostly:
1 Clinton
2 Rubio
3 Sanders
4 Trump

Rubio is climbing wrt Sanders. At some point Trump will have to cut down Rubio to stay in the race.


@Tomi, Kasich is a one-and-done in New Hampshire. He had very little money and basically camped out. Unless he does extremely well he probably can't continue. He didn't get much debate time, so unless he "won" by not losing yesterday's debate, it's doubtful he'll stay in much longer. Bush would be in the same position if he hadn't raised so much money early on. Christie also put all his eggs in the New Hampshire basket, which is why he was on the offensive yesterday.

I sense that Rubio got blindsided like Obama did in the first 2012 debate. He was expecting some attacks, but also expected Cruz and Trump to take more. Christie was laser-focused on Rubio, however. Sticking with the stump speech in itself is fine (Sanders does that a lot, and Hillary retreats to the "I'm a woman" line in almost every debate and interview), but he overdid it yesterday. My guess is that he comes out firing next week.

The next debate is moderated by John Dickerson, who can ask tough questions when he wants to, but also throws softballs. He had Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders on today. He asked notably tougher questions of Sanders (getting right to North Korea) while pretty much letting Hillary give her stump speech against Sanders (while taking a swipe at Rubio), never even mentioning North Korea. Dickerson did ask Hillary some tough questions at the Democratic debate a few weeks ago (and has had two softball interviews since, which leads to speculation he's been told to hold his fire by the higher ups at CBS News). My guess is he'll be in "tough question" mode next week.


The latest Monmouth poll is as follows:
Trump: 30
Kasich 14
Rubio 13
Jeb! 13
Cruz 12
Christie 6
Fiorina 5
Carson 4

If the end result is like that, with 4 candidates bunched up, it prolongs the race. Obviously, that was before yesterday's debate, so we'll see how or whether Christie and Kasich benefit from their performances. Again, New Hampshire voters are notorious for lying to pollsters and/or changing their minds at the last minute (Obama had an 11-pt lead in the RCP average the day before the primary in 2008 and lost by 2 pts).

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi Wayne, Winter and Catriona

Wayne - haha, happy you're enjoying the Reuters daily tracking poll tool as much as I am. Yes, on 5 Feb it shows an up-tick for Trump. Note that comes after a catastrophic continuing slide of his support from his peak at 44% (held for 2 days) to 24% on Jan 4, the lowest this daily tracking poll has shown its 5-day moving average since September 30. Trump's worst support since September. Four whole months he has been more popular than right now. So yeah, at some point that downward trajectory would get a correction. Polls do fluctuate, all of them, a bit up, a bit down. I don't believe that was a bottoming out moment where Trump now returns to a climb again. Rather I think this is now a 'flattening out' where his polling support has been re-set from the lofty levels in the 40% and above range, to this current range in the high 20% range, where it will be so say around 28% plus minus a few (nationally). That could be helped by his pending victory out of New Hampshire.

But your premise that a continuous downward spiral from Jan 23 to Feb 4 and then its uptick on Feb 5, that would suggest he was better off by not debating, haha, no. He was on 41% before his boycott. He was on a continuous rise. His highest peak of January was 44% just a few days prior. His previous month peak, December was 40%. His peak in November was 39% and his peak in October was 37%. This was a powerful growing campaign with momentum, which was destroyed by the candidate himself. Whatever was waiting at the Fox debate, if Trump had faced the music, he'd be far better off today. He could always blame the media for an ambush, he could have attacked his rivals and nobody - especially not various veterans groups - would have been calling him a coward for hiding from Megyn Kelly. This uptick now, it doesn't prove anything about the debate, it shows how much damage the past two weeks have caused Trump, from the Sarah Palin endorsement (and its Saturday Night Live mocking again) to the debate boycott to losing Iowa, its been a horrible two weeks for Trump. But yes, now it does seem like that decline is over (perhaps) and he can 're-set' and start a climb again. I think he has plenty of room still to grow into the mid 30%s but he now needs to bank as many delegates as possible, because the field of rivals will be winnowed down, and the moderate candidate at some point, when that candidate stands alone for moderates, he will be able to get more support than Trump. So Trump needs to now push up his numbers and hope that two strong moderate rivals remain (ideally not Rubio and Jeb, because Florida will force one of those out anyway). I expected in my earliest guesstimate that Rand Paul would run the full election cycle just to close the deal on the Ron Paul supporters, and was a bit surprised he quit this early, that is more voters who are available (disproportionately) to the non-Trump candidate(s) who I originally thought would be siphoning votes away from the moderate rival to Trump and Cruz.

Winter - thanks. Thats surprising how much they are now believing in Rubio (or conversely, simply not believing in Trump or Cruz haha).

Catriona - Kasich is playing a gambit many have tried, to be the darling out of NH. Normally that means you have to win NH which is highly unlikely with Trump having such a strong lead. But Kasich is climbing in the polling and Rubio's climb out of Iowa has stalled. The very last polls out Sunday show Kasich tied with Cruz only four points from Rubio, and one poll, the ARG Tracking poll, has for the first time of any pollster, Kasich one point ahead of Rubio. Rubio had a bad debate, it often shows in the next state(s) to vote after the debate. Kasich had his best debate to date, and he could benefit. ARG poll could be a signal of how it turns out in NH, its likely to be a two-man race for second place, Rubio vs Kasich, and that could go either way. I think Cruz didn't help himself enough to remain in that fight for second place, and Jeb (and Christie) are too far back in the pack. I do think Rubio is ahead, but that debate stumble came at a bad time for him. If Kasich finished second, there will be a lot of moderate support flocking to him especially Christie and Fiorina support as those quit, and possibly erosion from Jeb's support also, some who had held out for NH, to give Jeb one more chance, and if he can't beat Kasich, then some Jeb supporters will bolt - some to Rubio, some to Kasich. I think Kasich is do-or-die in NH but if he comes in second, he gets a lifeline through February and into March 1 SEC primaries, where he has some good states waiting for him to pick up his first win or two.

As to Rubio, as long as he finishes third, he's ok. If he finishes 4th (behind Trump, Kasich & Cruz) that would be a big problem. But if he ends up 5th behind Jeb then he'd be thought of as a mirage candidate who might find his support suddenly collapse. Third place is fine for Rubio but he'd be far better off finishing second.

On your second comment, thanks yeah. Its bunched up there in the fight for second place. Lets see what the polls out on Monday say, which had been in the field on Sunday, after the debate. Those will be early indicators of who has that vital momentum into the election.

BTW Quinnipiac has the Democratic race suddenly as a 2 point split between Bernie vs Hillary, when all others had Bernie up by 15 points or so. I don't believe Q at all, they have a history of having a bizarre poll out often just before an election that is utterly wild. I wonder if they have some methodology trick to do that, to juice out a massively outlier poll just to get headlines or if they're that unethical that they ran several polling samples and threw out those who didn't fit this narrative haha.. but yeah, the race between the Democrats is not a 2 point race. 10 points, that I could believe, 15 points is far more likely, 2 points.. never.

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Stephen Reed

I believe, according to this reported quote from former Senator Brown, that Brown gave Trump a ground campaign plan from Brown's previous campaigns, scoped for the last three days of activity.
As for New Hampshire, Brown said Trump asked him if he would help, “So, I dropped everything and we’ve already gotten the phone banks humming. We’ve gotten the door knockers out. We had a great 72-hour plan that’s been implemented. Weather permitting, we’re encouraging people right now to go to their townhalls” to get an absentee ballot if needed to avoid not voting due to inclement weather on election day.

Also, reportedly Trump is tailoring his populist message to independents who could vote for either Trump or Sanders.

millard filmore

with all of nine votes counted ...

4 Sanders
0 Hillary

3 Kasich
2 Trump


Strategy Analytics says that Tizen was 4th largest smartphone OS (beating BlackBerry) both in Q3 and in Q4.
Will we see top 5 OSes put into order in your full year 2015 numbers once they come out?


Sorry, posted that to wrong thread...

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi all

For the record, my guess of this wild and unpredictable New Hampshire vote today? On Republican side safe 10 point win for Trump, Kasich second, Cruz third, Rubio fourth, Jeb fifth, Christie sixth, Fiorina seventh and Carson at 2% or less.

On the Democratic side 10 points for Bernie.

Then lets see the counting...

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Wayne Borean


I didn't answer you before because I wanted to see a couple of extra days of polling on Reuters. If you set it to give you polls from February 1 to February 9 you can see Trump's lowest numbers were on the 4th, and he has been gaining back support slowly since among likely Republican voters.


While it shows Trump at 38% support (which in a normal year would pretty well guarantee him the nomination), the total number of people polled is 262. That's less than 0.00001% of the United States population, so accuracy is questionable.

Do the same time period with all people polled, and there was only 919 people. Do it with registered voters, and you've got 750 people. In both cases the number polled is so low that I'd have concerns about the numbers.

Of course that is national. New Hampshire, like Iowa, is different.

I think Trump will be number one. Beyond that, I've got no idea.


"YUGE" night for Sanders. He could crack 60%! Kasich parked himself in NH, so he got what he needed. Christie is probably done. He won't even pass up Rubio. Bush did well enough to keep plodding for a few more weeks. Not good for the GOP establishment, who won't coalesce around a candidate for a while.

Regarding Sanders, being from Vermont is no real advantage in itself. New Hampshire is NOTHING like Vermont. The latter is socialist and heavily progressive. New Hampshire is contrarian, independent, and somewhat libertarian. I'm sure Hillary was hoping to keep the margin under 10 points.

Regarding Rubio, as of right now we don't know if he'll finish 3rd or 4th. The candidates are so bunched up it might not make a difference, but obviously he'd prefer 3rd to 4th. South Carolina should help him, but Cruz will also do well there.


Rubio's going to finish 5th. Ouch. The Establishment will be very unpleased, though to be fair, less than 2 points will separate 3, 4, and 5. Christie is done. Unfortunately Bush is still in.


Clinton is planning a major shakeup to her campaign staff. The top pollster imported from Obama's 2008 campaign is on his way out (not officially, but he'll get relegated to a back office position). She's panicking. Sanders is no Obama, but he might do enough damage to her to convince Bloomberg to make an independent run.


Trump will finish with more votes than Clinton in NH.

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi all

Ok, NH count is past 70% and the rankings seem close to set, the races on both sides were called a long while ago. As to my election-day morning forecast based on the last polling. Not bad, caught all three of the waves - Rubio falling, Kasich rising and Christie rising. Also wasn't taken in by a tightening of the race on either side. I even got the ranking of the Republicans almost perfectly (only 4th and 5th rank Jeb vs Rubio was flipped) which is a big departure from the Real Clear Politics polling average which on the morning of the election said Trump - Rubio - Kasich - Cruz - Jeb - Christie - Fiorina - Carson. My forecast was Trump - Kasich - Cruz - Rubio - Jeb - Christie - Fiorina - Carson. Actual result seems to be forming to be Trump - Kasich - Cruz - Jeb - Rubio - Christie - Fiorina - Carson.

So Kasich not only became the strongest Governor and strongest 'establishment' and strongest moderate out of NH, he came in second. Bad result for Cruz. If five moderates were splitting that vote, plus with Trump taking a third, Cruz should have been a strong second. He lost a lot of the evangelical and very conservative vote. Where did those go, if not Dr Carson (who is currently at just over 2%). Obviously Rubio didn't steal those, he saw a collapse of his support. Cruz probably keeps bleeding from his Canadian issue, and now the nasty politics of Iowa is catching up to him, as Trump keeps pounding.

Rubio crashed. He didn't have an 'Oops' or 'Moonbase!' moment but that 'robotic' repetition of 5 times the same answer in the debate is what caused his last support to fall quite dramatically. Remember, Rubio was polling second up to the debate. But polls out that were conducted right after the debate (interviews after the debate) gave Kasich his big bounce, Christie another, smaller climb, and Rubio the big fall. This was a self-induced mistake. Now Rubio will not quit because of this drubbing, but he has a serious messaging problem going forward. That line - that Obama knows what he is doing, he is not inept, that Obama is actively destroying America - that is a smart line (which is why he was using it) but now, one of his strongest campaign stunt speech points, has become poisoned, and whenever he utters it, that opens Rubio up for more ridicule of Robo-Rubio with the RubiOS that can't re-set and repeats the same message time and again. Will Rubio adjust, yeah, he's an ambitious and smart politician. How well trained is he to now be able to switch to a spontaneous responsive candidate, especially in TV interviews and the next debates. That partly determines how viable he can be.

The surprise winner is Jeb, who was on the brink of elimination before voting even started, with all the trouble his campaign had by January. Now he came ahead of Rubio. This finish gives Jeb much-needed life (and very unfortunately for Kasich's rise, is the worst of the five 'moderates' to be made viable, as Jeb is most like Kasich, splitting exactly his support. Then the money race becomes important into late February and especially March 1 and the SEC Primary. Meanwhile Christie, yeah, he once again saw a bounce out of the debate and a gallant finish but sixth is not good enough. He has no more money and will be dropped from the next TV debate, his funding will now end and he has to quit. Fiorina will also quit and Carson may have some money to keep on travelling in luxury but soon his pointless run will also end. Luckily we won't have to be bored by his presence in the next debates either.

The race becomes Trump vs four. Its the ideal race both from the viewpoints of Trump and from Cruz, that three moderates continue to split the vote (Kasich, Rubio and Jeb). Many pundits before the voting started this year, would have said there are only 3 or 4 tickets out of New Hampshire, now it seems there were 5 instead. This is best possible news for Trump and Cruz, both who need the moderate race to continue as long as possible splitting that vote. And two incredibly boring uninspiring technocratic candidates (Kasich & Jeb) are paired with a robotic and injury-prone young inspiring speaker (Rubio).

Trump, big win, on par with his polling. On the Democratic side, Bernie big win, ahead of the last polls going into the day. Hillary knew this was a lost cause but gave it a hard push. The real Democratic test comes out of the next two states, Nevada and South Carolina. If Bernie can steal either of those, then there would be a real race on the Democratic side. If Hillary wins both, then its really just the charade I've said it was.

Of my full-season forecast for the 2016 election primary race for the Republicans, Trump is exactly on track as is Cruz but Rubio is damaged, its possible that Kasich (or even Jeb) replace Rubio as the third place finisher of my model. Its even less likely for either of those to beat Cruz to second place and essentially hopeless to beat Trump for the delegate hunt the way all polls are now showing. Trump if he stays out of stupid stuff like boycotting debates, will do roughly what the polls say - meaning he'll win most states and take the Republican nomination, but he will have to wait until June to clinch.

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Tomi T Ahonen


You might want to re-read my debate analysis (this blog article) haha.. it caught essentially perfectly the subplots of the last days, how the debate aftermath played out. Enjoy

Tomi Ahonen :-)

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