The Presidential Pensieve for August 31, 2015

Splash water dropIt’s now clear that Democrats and Independents are flocking to the non-traditional Republican candidates. There are a lot of potential reasons why, but it’s safe to say traditional conservative Democrats feel like they’re being marginalized in their own party.

This is boosting the candidacies of the non-traditional candidates. It’s also boosting our projections for the turnout of the Iowa Republican Caucus, if it were held tomorrow. At least one of the non-traditional candidates has a voter education drive underway, training first-time caucus voters how to participate.

Turning poll numbers into voters is critical to winning any caucus and we believe at least one of the candidates will have success in that area. We now project 140,000 turnout.

As a result of these dynamics, we will no longer report on candidates who fail to receive at least 4,500 votes, and will instead provide a “rest of the field” grouping to capture the remaining votes.

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The Rest of the Field (10,000 votes) — The voters who currently support Bobby Jindal, Rick Perry, Chris Christie, John Kasich, Rick Santorum, Lindsey Graham, Jim Gilmore, George Pataki, and Mark Everson — combined — would give a single candidate below a considerable “boost” on Caucus Night.


9. Rand Paul (4,500 votes) — He got the help his campaign desperately needed in his home state, but there’s no guarantee he can even win Kentucky by the time their caucus rolls around. Misfortune, miscalculation, and misstep have been the hallmarks of his campaign so far.


8. Mike Huckabee (6,000 votes) — Talking tough about social issues, getting personal about the Iran nuclear deal, and dropping the milquetoast campaign demeanor have helped a lot, but is it all too little, too late?


7. Jeb Bush (6,500 votes) — The news that his fundraisers have abandoned his campaign hasn’t had enough time to sink in with GOP establishment voters yet, but it’s going to hurt, once it does.


6. Scott Walker (7,500 votes) — Every time he’s on the stump, it helps his campaign’s polling numbers, but is he convincing those same people to actually go to the caucus to vote for him? The jury’s still out on that one.


5. Marco Rubio (8,500 votes) — Like the rest of the establishment contenders, he’s stuck where he’s at until one of the other establishment contenders (Graham, Kasich, Christie, Bush, or Walker) drops out and endorses him.


4. Carly Fiorina (9,500 votes) — She continues to ratchet up the intensity of her campaign, and she’s stopped the “Whack-the-Hillary” tactic just as it was starting to get old. Talking about specifics, while avoiding social issues that could hurt her, has helped a lot.


3. Ted Cruz (14,500 votes) — His religious liberty rally had a positive impact on Christian conservatives, who do come out in big numbers on Caucus Night when properly energized.


2. Ben Carson (27,500 votes) — People are still talking about him, even though he’s really given them very little to talk about, which equates to staying power in the race.


1. Donald Trump (45,500 votes) — Without a substantial change in dynamics very soon, he has the Iowa Caucus locked up.