The Presidential Pensieve for July 22, 2015

Splash water dropTypically, we publish our new projections on Monday, but with the situation that developed at the Family Leadership Summit over the weekend, we wanted to see how the first polls following the event were impacted.

The polls have reacted in a mixed manner for Donald Trump, and few other candidates really saw any other changes, indicative that Trump’s monopoly of earned media over the past week has weakened any bumps the other candidates (specifically, Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, and Bobby Jindal) might have gotten. However, Ben Carson still remains popular with a larger segment than we initially estimated.

We’re still projecting 130,000 turnout, if the Iowa Caucus were held tomorrow. We’re also beginning to see a solidification of the Top 10 (in a field that has now grown to 18 major candidates).

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16. George Pataki (0 votes) — he’s been a virtual no-show at major Iowa events, and his policies do not resonate with Iowa Republicans. This will be the last time we mention the former Governor of New York, barring a substantial change in campaign dynamics.

15. John Kasich (500 votes) — his “big-government Christianity” will appeal to Christian centrists, but many of those folks have probably already committed to other candidates. He’s got a mountain to climb to have any kind of relevance in this race.

14. Chris Christie (750 votes) — he’s a candidate without a natural home in this race. Trump and Perry are killing him on immigration, Santorum is trying to tie up the populist-worker niche, and Bush and Rubio are duking it out (Rubio is winning — more on that in a moment) for the Establishment.

13. Carly Fiorina (1,250 votes) — Hillary’s tanking with Democrats, which means her attacks on the “presumptive Democratic nominee” aren’t going to help her much longer. She recently switched to attacking the Left in general, particularly on the Planned Parenthood videos, which could help her out long term.

12. Lindsey Graham (1,500 votes) — his tough talk on foreign policy helps, but his defense of John McCain and attacks on Donald Trump have hurt him. The earned media is helping, but not enough to move him into the top tier.

11. Rick Perry (2,500 votes) — after numerous Man Card violations in an wildly unsuccessful effort to kneecap Donald Trump, the former Governor of Texas is left grasping at straws. Immigration was supposed to be his issue, and it isn’t anymore. He really doesn’t have much else wouldn’t fail a reasonable fact check effort.

10. Rick Santorum (4,500 votes) — he’s trying to establish himself as a “pro-life populist,” but to many, it sounds an awful lot like a 2012 redux. The Planned Parenthood videos are helping him hold onto a few of his Christian supporters from four years ago, but his big-government solutions are hurting more.

9. Bobby Jindal (5,000 votes) — He really hit a grand slam at the Family Leadership Summit, and while he’s not getting earned media as a result, he’s getting a lot of grassroots talk, which is almost as valuable in Iowa. He’s on everyone’s radar now; let’s see what he does with the newfound attention.

8. Ben Carson (6,000 votes) — despite the chaos going on behind the scenes with his campaign, voters are still turning out in big numbers to see him speak. Turnout at events isn’t necessarily indicative of caucus support, but it does mean he hasn’t completely alienated voters.

7. Jeb Bush (8,000 votes) — Iowa just isn’t buying what he’s selling, and now media reports suggest the Hawkeye State isn’t alone. While Jeb has a lot of SuperPAC money available, he’s not the candidate with the most hard cash on hand — translation: he’s not necessarily the Establishment’s guy.

6. Rand Paul (9,000 votes) — last week, we assumed he had the support of most of the old Ron Paul Machine. Now we know he doesn’t, but he still has a lot of them. The money reports, however, indicate he may not have the support where it matters most, though: committed caucus voters.

5. Marco Rubio (13,000 votes) — his big bump isn’t necessarily indicative of anything he’s done to change his position as much as it is a reflection of the new data we’ve received regarding campaign finances. He’s definitely the Establishment’s top guy.

4. Mike Huckabee (17,000 votes) — lackluster fundraising for a previous Iowa Republican Caucus winner isn’t a good sign, especially this early in a race that features a deep field. Grassroots support is carrying him, but will it carry him past Iowa?

3. Ted Cruz (18,000 votes) — his defense or religious liberty is starting to bring back voters who were turned off by his flirtations with Obamatrade, or who had concerns his past as an attorney made him a judicial supremacist. His event next month could be a “deal maker” for many.

2. Donald Trump (21,000 votes) — the knee-jerk reaction to his counterpunch after John McCain’s comments calling his supporters “crazies” was that his campaign was done. The immediate polling, however, suggests it’s not, but it didn’t overtake the frontrunner (when it easily should have). Several more polls are due out in the coming week in the lead-up to the first official candidate debate.

1. Scott Walker (22,000 votes) — Donald Trump being Donald Trump saved his bacon this week. His post-announcement bump was blunted by the fact everyone on the planet already knew he was going to announce (he focused his attention on his gubernatorial duties until the Wisconsin legislative session was completed). His “Winnebago Tour” of Iowa was well received, but his appearance at the Family Leadership Summit was a bit lackluster.