Monday November 23, 2015
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As the days between now and when the primary voting starts in February begin to dwindle, there were three new polls out over the weekend. They all showed Donald Trump leading the pack by double figures with Ben Carson in second, and Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz rounding out the top four.
Here are, as we say, the top lines:
Fox: Trump 28; Carson 18; Rubio 14; Cruz 14
Bush, Christy, Fiorina, Kasich and the rest are all bumping along at single digits.
The big loser after the Paris attacks has been Ben Carson, whose total lack of understanding of foreign affairs or of even understanding that he has no understanding of foreign affairs appears to have caused people to move away from him.
Donald Trump, of course, continues to astound.
ABC: Trump 32; Carson 22; Rubio 11; Cruz 8
NBC: Trump 28; Carson 18; Cruz 18; Rubio 11
A couple of weeks ago I was on TV and I said (A) was going to happened, followed by (B), and then (C). The studio host asked how I could sound so certain when everyone else was hedging their bets.
"Every single prediction I have made," I said, "has been wrong. I have no reputation left to protect. They must believe they do."
Added to the list of statements and positions that would have sunk every other candidate for President since George Washington, Trump appears to have come out in favor of a registry of Muslims in America. It did him no harm.
Although he later said it was a reporter who suggested a registry, not him, he told a different reporter, this for NBC News, on Thursday night, "I would certainly implement that. Absolutely."
Jeb Bush complained that Trump's idea was "not a question of toughness. It's to manipulate people's angst and their fears. That's not strength, that's weakness."
However, last week in South Carolina Bush said that we ought to admit people from Syria who are "orphans or people that clearly aren't going to be terrorists. Or Christians."
Asked how to determine if a prospective immigrant was a Christian, or a Muslim or whatever, Bush said "Well, you're a Christian, you can prove you're a Christian."
I don't know about that, but I do know that as far as I'm concerned, Jeb Bush lost his standing to chide Donald Trump on a Muslim registry.
The polls generally found that fighting terrorism moved to the top of the list of issues that concerned voters, running about evenly with the economy
In the Fox poll only 3 percent of the respondents thought climate change is the most important issue facing the nation. The other two did not ask (or have not yet reported) a similar open-ended question.
President Barack Obama's favorable are still in the low-to-mid 40s. The Washington Post asked directly whether respondents approved or disapproved with his handling of ISIS. Only 35 percent approved while 58 percent disapproved including 46 percent who strongly disapproved.
Hillary Clinton is still comfortably ahead of Bernie Sanders on the national scale by about 25 percentage points.
Assuming her campaign will shift to general election mode soon, she is going to have to come up with some answers for how much of this Middle East mess occurred on her watch and what she would have done differently had she remained Secretary of State.
Keep in mind that these are national polls, that is they are supposed to be balanced as to age, gender, race, economic standing, and geography. But, we don't have a national primary.
What is going on in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina (to name the primaries and caucuses in February) is much more important than who voters in California, New York or Texas favor when we're trying to figure out the relative standing of the candidates in the early states.
Nothing makes political hacks happier than spending a Sunday looking at crosstabs and watching NFL football.
On the Secret Decoder Ring today: Links to the three polls in question. Also to NBC's reporting on Trump's Muslim registry position.
The Mullfoto is from in front of Mullings World HQ - a last splash of color before the woeld becomes a Hazy Shade of Winter (as Paul Simon wrote).
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