Republican Presidential Race is Heating Up – What’s Next?

The Republican Presidential Race is getting exciting!  Conventional wisdom has flown out the window.  The pundits, political consultants, and establishment experts continue to get it wrong.  They simply don’t understand the American people and how upset they are with the Republican Party.  By the way, they are also missing the fact that the American people are also upset with the Democratic Party as well.  Let’s talk about what’s happening this week and importantly, what’s next?

First, What are the Polls Telling Us?

Tier 1 Candidates. Since the second Republican Presidential Debate on CNN, the polls have tightened and four groups have emerged.  At the top, the Top Tier (or Tier 1) candidates are Donald Trump and Ben Carson.  What’s changed at the top is Trump has lost momentum and is no longer climbing rapidly.  He has leveled out, while Ben Carson has come up and essentially met Trump in the low 20% range.

In the latest NBC/WSJ national poll on Sunday 9/27, Trump has 21% to Carson’s 20%.  In the North Carolina Republican Presidential Primary poll by Elon University on Sat 9/26,  Trump was at 22% to Carson’s 21%.  Very close in both cases.  These polls are probably indicating a statistical dead heat.  Recall too Carson has huge favorability ratings which foreshadow potential upward polling pressure.

Tier 2 Candidates. In the polls, the Tier 2 candidates right now are the two candidates who both appeared very presidential in the CNN debate.  These candidates are Carly Fiorina and Marco Rubio who now garner about 11% of the vote in the NBC/WSJ poll.  If you recall, I had predicted the day after the second debate that both Carly Fiorina and Marco Rubio  would move up in the polls and they did.

Tier 3 Candidates. Tier 3 candidates are in the 6% – 8% range.  Tier 3 candidates seem to include Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, and John Kasich.  Probably, the biggest surprise here is that Jeb Bush continues to look tired as he campaigns, continues to seem weak in his ability to articulate his positions,  and news reports indicate some donation bundlers are starting to abandon Bush and move to Rubio.  Obviously, the money follows the polling numbers.  If someone gets bad polling results, the money seems to move to the likely winners.  Incidentally, Bush is getting his family (41 and 43) to help raise money for his campaign.

Tier 4 Candidates. The Tier 4 candidates are all the candidates that are left and that are only getting polling numbers of 3% or less.  In the NBC/WSJ poll Sunday, here are the Tier 4 candidates: Chris Christie – 3%; Rand Paul – 3%; Mike Huckabee – 2%; Rick Santorum – 1%; Bobby Jindal – 1%; George Pataki – 0%, Lindsey Graham – 0%.  It would not be surprising if 3 or 4 of the Tier 4 candidates drop out before the next debate hosted by NBC in Boulder, Colorado, on October 28, 2015.

Second, What Conclusions Can We Make and What’s Next?

1.  Trump is losing ground, but is putting up a strong fight.  His tax plan is note worthy.  His communications skills are convincing.  His Political IN-Correctness is a real plus with the electorate that is fed up with political correctness.  But, it also bothers people a lot that his demeanor is not presidential.  It remains to be seen, if the electorate will accept Trump because of his bravado, or reject him for the exact same reason.

2.  Ben Carson is looking solid, thoughtful, presidential, a man of resolute character.  Think of his recent comments.

3.  Carly Fiorina and Marco Rubio both seem presidential.  Carly probably needs to show more of a human quality.  Marco seems to be a natural leader with no effort.  Expect both to continue to climb  in the polls.

4.  Tier 3 candidates (Bush, Cruz, Kasich) need to move up soon or they will be considered out of the main race.  Note that Bush and Cruz have well-funded Super-PACs that might help.  But, Super-PACs can’t coordinate with campaigns.  Bush, Cruz and Kasich will still need to raise funds to pay for their campaign operating costs.

5.  In Tier 4, there are 7 candidates with 3% or less of the votes in the latest NBC/WSJ poll.  It would not be surprising to see that half of these candidates will be gone by Tuesday, November 8th, 2015 (exactly one year before the election on Tuesday, November 8th, 2016).  Unless they make substantial progress soon, all of them might be gone by Tuesday, January 5th, 2016.


For More Information

My new book on the 2016 presidential election is due out on Tuesday, January 5th, 2016.  My new book makes some surprising predictions about what’s about to happen.  So far, my predictions this year seem to be coming true.  We’re in for an incredible presidential election.  Stay tuned.

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