Thursday, February 26, 2015
Is it a three-man race...
I know it's early, but following up on yesterday's post, is the GOP contest really down to Scott Walker, Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush?
Forget the polls for a minute and just look at PredictWise and Paddy Power. From the former:
Jeb Bush (29.2%)
Marco Rubio (15.2%)
Scott Walker (14.3%)
The top three are followed by Rand Paul (9.8%), whose foreign policy is just plain out of step with the rest of the party, particularly if members of ISIS keep beheading people on TV. (Remember, the Republican Party is all about fear.) It's one thing to rail against President Obama and NSA spying; it's quite another to buck the party's neocons.
Ted Cruz is next at a paltry 4.4%, Chris Christie at 4.0%, Mike Huckabee at 3.2%, Ben Carson at 2.4%, Rick Perry at 1.9% and Susana Martinez -- who's not even running -- at 1.0%.
The only one of those who could break through, I think, is Cruz with some great debate performance. But so far he looks like an also-ran. Christie is fading fast, Huckabee is yesterday's news, Carson's a joke and Perry is just out to rehabilitate his image from his disastrous run in 2012.
Below Martinez is Rick Santorum (0.9%) and Bobby Jindal (0.8%). It's hard to take someone seriously if he can't even place above someone who's not running.
As for Paddy Power:
Jeb Bush (6/4)
Marco Rubio (9/2)
Scott Walker (5/1)
After the top three they list Rand Paul and Chris Christie, tied at 6/1, followed by Paul Ryan -- another Republican who's not even running -- at 12/1. I think that means you can write off the others behind Ryan: Ted Cruz (16/1), and Bobby Jindal, Rick Perry and Mike Huckabee, all at 25/1. (Michael Bloomberg and Rob Portman, who aren't running, are also at 25/1.) Oh, and Ben Carson is at 30/1 and Rick Santorum is at 33/1.
Now, as I said, it's early: the Iowa caucuses are about a year off. But don't kid yourself, the invisible primary is well underway, and has already claimed its first victim -- Mitt Romney. (Remember him?) Candidates are furiously hiring staff and lining up donors. And some hopefuls, like Paul and Christie, have been running for years now and aren't catching fire. Will they turn it around? I doubt it.
The only outlier I'd keep my eye on is Ted Cruz. Even though everyone in Washington seems to hate him (Republicans as well as Democrats), he's supposed to be an outstanding debater. We already know Cruz is something of a demagogue, so I'd say he's a bit of a dark horse to cause trouble.
But right now, I don't think it's too much of a stretch to say it's already come down to three: Walker, Rubio and Bush.