The Presidential Pensieve for August 17, 2015

Splash water dropThe post-debate polling has finally worked itself out, and the candidates are beginning to jockey for a position on the next debate stage. It’s clear the first debate helped a few, hurt several, and really didn’t do anything to the frontrunner.

We’re still projecting 135,000 turnout, if the Caucus were held tomorrow.

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13. Rick Perry (2,000 votes) — a devoted staff will stick it out for a month or two without pay, but you can be sure they’re already being offered an actual paycheck somewhere else. No money, no staff, and no support means we’re nearing the end of his campaign.


11-tie. Rick Santorum (2,500 votes) — bumming gas money off your campaign supporters when you’re tanking takes a lot of guts, but it takes a big steaming pile of … hubris … to run for President of the United States.


11-tie. Chris Christie (2,500 votes) — stagnated, at the bottom of the pool, doesn’t lend itself to longevity in this race.


10. Rand Paul (3,500 votes) — it’s sounding more and more likely he may be among the first to drop out, especially if the Kentucky GOP doesn’t allow him to run for both his Senate seat and the presidency. Skipping out on the Iowa State Fair, even for something as admirable as his annual mission trip, is going to hurt a campaign that is already reeling from self-inflicted wounds.


9. Bobby Jindal (4,000 votes) — he’s just not gaining any traction with Iowa’s Christian conservatives. There are too many other big names vying for those votes, and he was the last to jump in, due to his obligations to the State of Louisiana. In hindsight, he should have announced earlier and said he would get on the campaign trail once the legislative session was over.


8. Marco Rubio (8,000 votes) — he’s the last of the legitimate contenders, and he just can’t seem to get any momentum/traction to move up past the rest of the crowd (Fiorina is going to come back down, eventually).


7. Carly Fiorina (9,000 votes) — she’s still seeing a significant bump from the debate, but will it last once Iowans get a “second look” at where she really stands on a number of key issues? Tomorrow, she does well. Six months from now will likely be an entirely different story.


6. Mike Huckabee (10,000 votes) — he’s done well by his campaign, and he’s pretty safe where he’s at right now. He just announced a pretty solid leadership team in Iowa, which can help where his current finances won’t, but he’s still going to need a lot of help to get one of the five tickets out of Iowa in February.


4-tie. Jeb Bush (10,500 votes) — we still don’t see any grassroots activity, but on name recognition alone, he’ll get some low-information-voter support.


4-tie. Ben Carson (10,500 votes) — he’s been the hardest nut to crack this electoral cycle, largely because his supporters match his demeanor: calm, cool, collected … and quiet. It’s hard to tell if they’re really there or not, and his campaign’s continued dysfunction is only making it more difficult to read. Comments over the weekend about abortion are going to hurt by this time next week, though.


2-tie. Ted Cruz (17,500 votes) — this is a good place to be for a guy who stands to benefit most if Trump should stumble.


2-tie. Scott Walker (17,500 votes) — he’s likeable, he’s relatable, but he’s just nowhere near as exciting to Iowans as Donald Trump. And with a personality somewhat resembling “Silent Cal,” that’s not good news in today’s media environment.


1. Donald Trump (37,500 votes) — this number doesn’t include potential moderate union members who may cross over based on yesterday’s immigration policy statement. We’re going to need a couple of weeks to see how that plays out. If we see that happening in large numbers, we may have to increase our turnout projection and increase his numbers accordingly.