The Presidential Pensieve for September 14, 2015

Splash water dropCurrent polling data, surprisingly, continues to match what we see on the ground in Iowa. As a result, we continue to feel confident there has been little change in the field — other than Rick Perry’s announced departure — headed into Wednesday’s second debate.

We currently continue to project 140,000 turnout. The field has stratified in two locations: at the third-place position and the ninth-place position. The other candidates appear as “The Rest of the Field” in our rankings.

For those who have not read our previous projections, this is based on the current situation, and is based on what we believe the Iowa Republican Caucus would look like if it were held tomorrow.

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The Rest of the Field — 10,000 votes.


9. Rand Paul (4,500 votes) — A strategy of targeting young, college-age voters — and only young, college-age voters — has failed the senator’s father twice before. It will fail again.


8. Mike Huckabee (5,000 votes) — It would seem his rousing support for Kim Davis turned into a three-ring circus that made it look like political pandering at its worst. All of the good vides are gone.


7. Marco Rubio (7,000 votes) — His new assault on Obama over education might help a little, but he’s still constrained by the limits of the establishment field.


6-tie. Jeb Bush (7,500 votes) — There is no momentum to be had as long as he remains a Republican candidate. His positions resonate more with Democrats — the ones who are kicking the tires on Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders’ campaigns.


The Iowa Statesman’s Presidential Poll Power Rankings

The following are how the candidates are currently ranked, according to the weighted averages of Iowa and national polls.

1. Donald Trump          27.48
2. Ben Carson                18.10
3. Ted Cruz                      7.58
4. Jeb Bush                      6.34
5. Scott Walker               5.94
6. Carly Fiorina              5.70
7. Marco Rubio               5.28
8. Mike Huckabee         4.04
9. Rand Paul                   3.18
———  Margin of Error (+/- 3.17 percent)  ———
10. John Kasich              2.74
11. Bobby Jindal             2.32
12. Chris Christie            1.92
13. Rick Santorum         1.26
15. Lindsey Graham      0.38
————————  Out of the Race  ————————
14. Rick Perry                  1.06


6-tie. Scott Walker (7,500 votes) — A bad news week and a renewed focus on Iowa are not going to be enough at this point. His message doesn’t transcend the boundaries of the establishment field.


4. Carly Fiorina (8,500 votes) — Getting into the “A Team” debate this week was good news; getting there through affirmative action tactics by the debate hosts was not. We’re certain the spotlight is unlikely to be kind to her next week, too.


3. Ted Cruz (20,000 votes) — Of all the candidates, he certainly has the most momentum right now, and it’s heading in the right direction. He has the money to play the survivor game, but if the caucus were held tomorrow, he’d be in trouble.


2. Ben Carson (26,500 votes) — We were made aware of an interesting situation over the weekend that may be a sign of serious problems for this campaign, but it’s being handled in a way that it’s almost imperceptible to the casual observer. He’s made some unfortunate comments in the past week that didn’t help, either.


1. Donald Trump (43,500 votes) — A few people are beginning to show weariness over his shoot-from-the-hip politics, but it’s nowhere near enough to actually hurt him right now. His campaign is doing a great job mobilizing — keeping them mobilized will be his biggest challenge.