Posts Tagged GOP

Trump Breaks Through Crucial 40% National Poll Barrier

Trump PollsRepublican front-runner candidate Donald Trump has a big lead in the race for the 2016 presidential nomination nationally, swamping his opponents with a 40.6 percent share of those surveyed, a Reuters-Ipsos tracking poll found on Friday.

The survey of 582 respondents found Trump with a higher percentage of the vote than his next four challengers combined, with Texas Senator Ted Cruz drawing 10.5 percent, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson with 9.7 percent, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush at 9.2 percent and Florida Senator Marco Rubio with 7.2 percent.

In a hypothetical matchup between Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton and Trump, Clinton holds a statistically insignificant lead of 41.4 percent to 40.8 percent.

Trump has been leading national polls of Republican voters for months. He also holds a lead in some polls in the early voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire with the Iowa caucuses just days away on Feb. 1.

A separate Reuters-Ipsos poll on Friday found the U.S. economy re-emerging as a major concern for voters. Economic concerns had taken a back seat to fears of terrorism after last year’s Islamic State attacks in Paris.

The survey of 1,614 respondents found terrorism a top concern at 20.3 percent, but the U.S. economy close behind at 18.2 percent.



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Trump Keeps Surging in Latest Polls

Donald Trump pollsDonald Trump continues to dominate the field in the latest national poll and his attacks on Sen. Ted Cruz’s eligibility to be president seem to have some legs.

A Monmouth University poll released Wednesday finds the real-estate mogul leading the Republican primary with 36% support among Republican voters, a 19-point edge over the Texas senator, who is second at 17%. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio has 11%, and all other candidates are in single digits.

The poll also asked voters if they believe Cruz, who was born in Canada to an American mother, is a natural-born citizen and thus eligible for the presidency. While two-thirds said he was, 12% said he was not and 24% weren’t sure.

Monmouth asked the same of Trump for comparison, and found that 91% of Republicans said he’s a natural-born citizen, 2% said he’s not and 7% weren’t sure.

President Barack Obama has also faced steady skepticism about his U.S. citizenship despite the fact that he was born in Hawaii. In a 2014 Fairleigh Dickinson University poll, 19% of Americans said Obama was definitely or probably not a legal U.S. citizen.

For its poll, Monmouth surveyed 1,003 adults by telephone from January 15 to 18, including 385 Republican voters. The Republican sample has a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percentage points.

Polls have continually shown Trump leading the field since this summer, though Cruz has drawn neck-and-neck with the billionaire businessman in Iowa.

In a separate poll, released by Florida Atlantic University was released on Wednesday says Donald Trump is crushing the competition among likely Florida voters.

The Florida Atlantic University Business and Economics Polling Initiative says when it comes to likely Floridian Republican voters, Donald Trump draws 47 percent of the vote, Sen. Ted Cruz came in second with 15 percent, and Marco Rubio came in third with 11 percent of likely voters.

In North Carolina, Donald Trump is building his lead according to Public Policy Polling. Its new poll puts him at 38 percent to 16 percent for Ted Cruz, 11 percent for Marco Rubio, 8 percent for Ben Carson, 6 percent each for Mike Huckabee and Jeb Bush, 4 percent for Chris Christie, 3 percent each for Carly Fiorina and Rand Paul, 2 percent for John Kasich, and 1 percent for Rick Santorum, Tom Jensen writes on the PPP blog.

The survey was done before Sarah Palin’s endorsement, so Trump may still be rising. He was at 33 percent in the state a month ago. The North Carolina primary is March 15. Key endorsements for Rubio haven’t helped him. He’s dropped 3 points.



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Trump Returns to Economic Theme in Visit to Iowa

Trump IOWADonald Trump sought to regain his edge in the early voting state of Iowa Tuesday, returning to the themes of economic populism that helped fuel his surge toward becoming the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination.

Most polls now show Trump trailing in the state, which holds its caucus Feb. 1, to Senator Ted Cruz of Texas. But he continues to hold the advantage in national polls

The most recent Reuters/Ipsos 5-day rolling survey showed Trump outpacing the field of likely Republican voters nationally by 39 percent, compared to Cruz at almost 14 percent.

Speaking to a large crowd in Council Bluffs, Trump vowed to return manufacturing jobs to the state.

“I really know the game,” he said while decrying the offshoring of jobs by U.S. corporations. He restated his vow to impose a 35 percent tax on goods brought into the United States by companies that utilize foreign labor in nations such as Mexico.

But Trump trained his wrath more on the presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton rather than Cruz or any of his Republican rivals.

Of the prospect of facing the first viable woman candidate for the presidency in the general election, Trump remarked, “If it has to be a woman, it shouldn’t be Hillary.”

Tuesday’s event in Iowa marked a clear shift in the race in which Trump has vowed to start using his personal fortune to bolster his candidacy in states such as Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina, without entirely relying on the media attention he has garnered. He has announced an aggressive travel schedule in those states.

Moreover, Trump said earlier Tuesday he plans to run advertisements in early-voting states ahead of the first nominating contests in 2016.

“I’ll be spending a minimum of $2 million a week and perhaps substantially more,” Trump, the party’s front-runner, told reporters, according to video that aired on CNN. “I’m going to be doing big ads in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and they’re going to be very substantial.”

“My campaign for president is $35,000,000 under budget, I have spent very little (and am in 1st place). Now I will spend big in Iowa/N.H./S.C.,” Trump tweeted earlier on Tuesday.

“Starting around January 4 we’re spending a lot of money,” he told reporters following a campaign event in Nashua, New Hampshire. “The press is hearing this for the first time, they’re probably gonna go crazy.”

Trump pledged on Tuesday to return fire with a flurry of negative ads if anyone aired spots attacking him, though he did not say whether any of his upcoming spots planned to be negative themselves.

Recent polls have showed a one-on-one race in Iowa with Ted Cruz, who, along with his allies, also has spent fairly little on television advertising. Before his event in Iowa and on Twitter, Trump continued to take digs at the advertising strategy of a primary rival: Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

“So, I have spent almost nothing on my run for president and am in 1st place. Jeb Bush has spent $59 million & done. Run country my way!” Trump tweeted.

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Carson Hints At Staff Shake-Up Then Not So Much

Ben CarsonRepublican presidential candidate Ben Carson said Wednesday morning he is moving toward a major shake-up of his struggling campaign, with less than six weeks to go until early voting begins to select party nominees.

Yet by Wednesday evening, he tried to steer away from that message, announcing that all is well in the Carson camp

In a Wednesday morning interview at his Maryland home, conducted without the knowledge of his own campaign manager, Carson said “personnel changes” could be coming, suggesting he would consider sidelining his top aides.

“Everything. Everything is on the table,” he said of potential changes. “Every single thing is on the table. I’m looking carefully.”

Carson’s longtime business adviser Armstrong Williams put it more bluntly: “Dr. Carson is back in charge, and I’m so happy to see that,” he said. Williams himself has publicly feuded with the paid political professionals brought in to run Carson’s campaign.

Following an afternoon meeting with some of his paid advisers Wednesday – a group that did not include Williams – Carson said in a statement that while he has 100 percent confidence in his campaign team, “we are refining some operational practices and streamlining some staff assignments to more aptly match the tasks ahead.”

The statement added that his senior team “remains in place with my full confidence, and they will continue to execute our campaign plan.”

Campaign manager Barry Bennett was not aware of Carson’s statements about potential changes until later. He later texted: “No staff shake-up.”

The apparent rift between Carson, Williams and the paid campaign staff comes after his weeks-long slide in polls. The political newcomer – a celebrated pediatric neurosurgeon – briefly surged to the top of the GOP field in October, riding public appeal for more anti-establishment candidates, while making headway with Christian and conservative voters.

With the spotlight came scrutiny. Carson publicly lashed out at media reports questioning details of his celebrated autobiography.

Terrorist attacks in Paris and California shifted the focus of the race to foreign policy and national security, sometimes highlighting Carson’s lack of experience. Another challenge: He is soft-spoken in a race dominated by media-savvy, tough-talking figures including real estate mogul Donald Trump and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.

“I certainly don’t expect to get through a campaign without some scratches and bruises,” Carson said. “That’s the nature of the beast.”

Then came the internal disarray.

Carson had raised $31 million by the end of September, more than any other Republican in the race, but he’s outpaced the competition on spending – mostly on fundraising costs rather than critical political infrastructure.

“I recognize that nothing is perfect,” Carson said. “And, yes, we’ve had enormous fundraising, but that requires that you be efficient in the way you utilize the funds. And, yes, we are looking at all those things.”

Carson acknowledged that some of his difficulties were of his making.

He said he must prove to voters that he is up to the challenge to be commander-in-chief.

“I think I have to directly address the issue,” he said, sitting in his basement game room, where the walls around him are covered in decades’ worth of accolades.

People think that “because you are soft-spoken and nice, you can’t possibly be tough, you can’t have the strength to deal with the incredible security problems we now face,” Carson said. That “is not true, but I’m now talking about it.”

In recent campaign stops, Carson has started offering more specifics on foreign policy, such as detailing how U.S-led coalition forces can work to retake the Syrian city of Raqqa, the de-facto capital of the Islamic State group’s so-called caliphate.

Carson said he plans to put emphasis on his strategy for Libya when he returns to the trail after Christmas. He maintains that too many U.S. leaders, including some of his GOP rivals, have zeroed in on the Islamic State group’s activities in Iraq and Syria, while failing to acknowledge that they pose a threat beyond those borders.

“They have a global strategy,” Carson said of the militant group, arguing that the U.S. must counter it.

Carson said the rough-and-tumble nature of the 2016 race has not outweighed his favorite campaign moments. “The patients,” he said with a smile, explaining that he often meets former patients on the campaign trail who are eager to share their stories with him.

He recalled meeting one patient to whom he’d given a hemispherectomy – removing half the brain – as an infant. “He had graduated from college number one in his class – with half a brain,” Carson said. “These are incredible stories.”

Carson said a retooled campaign will not involve personal attacks on his Republican rivals, though he said he will look to place greater emphasis on their differences in policy and experience. He repeated his pledge to support the eventual GOP nominee if he does not win the nomination, explaining he’d respect the voters’ wishes.

Besides, Carson said, he likes his opponents – including bombastic Trump.

“There isn’t anybody there who is unpleasant,” Carson said. As an example, he noted that Trump had complimented him during the most recent GOP debate in Las Vegas.

“Then he came up to me during the break,” Carson recalled, “and said, ‘I really meant it.'”


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Trump Hits a Massive 41% in New National Poll

Donald TrumpDonald Trump has hit a new milestone in national polling, garnering 41% of the Republican vote in a new national poll.

Trump is at 41% in a Monmouth University poll out Monday, holding a wide advantage over his GOP challengers. His support was up from 28% in October.

In second was the rising Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, at 14%; followed by Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, at 10%. Ben Carson was at 9%, down 9 points from October, and all other candidates were in the low single digits.

A flurry of polls released in the last few days have pointed in sometimes conflicting directions as the first debate since the terror attacks in Paris and the shooting in San Bernardino approaches, but the Poll of Polls points to clear story lines emerging nationally and in the two states set to cast the first ballots of the 2016 presidential campaign.

The CNN Poll of Polls finds that across the five latest national, live-interviewer telephone polls, Trump tops Cruz 33% to 17% in the race for the Republican nomination. Behind Cruz, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (12%) and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson (11%) are the only other candidates with average support above 10%. Former Florida governor and one-time front-runner Jeb Bush averages 4%, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie holds 3%, with businesswoman Carly Fiorina, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul all at 2%.

Trump’s lead in these national polls varies from 27 points in the most recent poll from Monmouth University to just five points in the NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey conducted early last week. Some of that difference stems from sampling the CNN/ORC Poll and the Monmouth poll measure opinions among registered voters who say they are Republicans or lean toward the Republican Party, and both found Trump with larger leads than some polls using a different sampling method.

The NBC/Wall Street Journal, CBS News/NYT and Suffolk University/USA Today polls all interview those who say they plan to vote in their state’s Republican primary or caucus.

There is also timing, with the Monmouth poll the only one conducted entirely after Trump released his proposal calling for a ban on allowing Muslims to enter the United States.

Still, each of the five polls included in the national CNN Poll of Polls shows Trump holding a lead larger than its margin of sampling error.

While the national polling shows significant volatility, the Iowa poll results show even greater variation from poll to poll.

According to the CNN Poll of Polls averaging the six most recent live-interviewer telephone polls, the race in Iowa is a tight one between Cruz (27%) and Trump (25%). Rubio and Carson follow here as well, with 13% and 12% respectively, while Bush (5%) and Paul (4%) lag behind, trailed by four candidates at 2% each: Christie, Fiorina, Huckabee and Kasich.

Three of the six Iowa polls included here found Cruz with a significant lead over Trump, two found the two within margin of error of each other, and one found Trump ahead by a wide margin. The CNN/ORC poll which found Trump ahead is the oldest in the bunch, with interviews conducted between November 28 and December 6.

Surveying likely Iowa caucusgoers is one of the toughest challenges in election polling, as it is routinely one of the lowest turnout events in the entire presidential election process. In 2012 and 2008, only about 6% of the state’s registered voters participated in the Republican caucuses, and whether turnout this time around will be similar is a question that can’t be answered until the caucuses themselves are complete.

Some argue that Trump’s appeal among those who are not regular participants in the caucus process will drive turnout higher, much as the hotly contested presidential race on the Democratic side in 2008 did for that party. Others say Trump’s supporters’ allegiances aren’t strong enough to overcome the challenges inherent in participating in a caucus: Having to trudge out on a wintry night for several hours of political speeches and declare your support for your chosen candidate publicly.

In New Hampshire, a larger turnout means the task is somewhat easier, and the most recent polls are more closely aligned with each other. Five polls were included in the CNN Poll of Polls in New Hampshire, with the earliest including interviews conducted November 14 and the latest running through December 8.

The CNN Poll of Polls in New Hampshire finds Trump (26%) with a more than 2-to-1 advantage over his nearest competitor, Rubio, who at 12% is the only other candidate to average double-digits. Behind Rubio, a passel of candidates range in support from 7% to 9% Carson and Cruz each average 9%, Bush 8% and Kasich and Christie 7%.

That bunch-up around third place masks some clear trends that have developed in recent New Hampshire polling, Christie’s numbers are on the rise, with the governor averaging 11% in the two polls conducted after Thanksgiving compared with 5% in the three conducted earlier in November.

Carson, meanwhile, has been losing steam, dropping from 11% in the pre-Thanksgiving polls to 6% in the polling conducted more recently. Bush, Rubio and Cruz have been roughly steady in the Granite State lately.

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Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal Quits GOP Presidential Race

bobby jindalLouisiana governor Bobby Jindal is quitting next year’s race to be US president, ending a campaign that failed to gain much support among Republicans.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal on Tuesday announced he was ending his campaign for president.

“This is not my time,” Jindal told Fox News’ Bret Baier. “I’ve come to the realization that this is not my time. So I’ve come here to announce that I am suspending my campaign for president of the United States.”

Jindal, 44, was once seen as a rising star in the Republican Party and a strong contender for the White House. The Brown University graduate and Rhodes Scholar was viewed as a strong voice for a Republican Party looking to reach out to minorities and broaden its base.

He rose to prominence at the start of President Barack Obama’s first term and was given a major spot delivering the Republican Party’s rebuttal to the State of the Union address in 2009, but delivered a widely-panned performance.

Jindal’s presidential campaign never gained traction as he, along with other establishment Republican candidates, fell victim to the GOP’s desire for outsider candidates such as Donald Trump and Ben Carson, who have never held public office.

He never topped 2% in any CNN/ORC poll and never advanced past the “undercard” round at the Republican debates held thus far.

A top adviser to Jindal told CNN he may endorse one of his former Republican rivals. But if he does, it will not be imminent.

He has a respectable following among some Iowa conservative activists, the product of spending years planning a presidential run.

He is the latest governor to drop out of the race, following Scott Walker and Rick Perry. One adviser said Jindal believes government experience is needed in a presidential candidate, so he is more likely to back Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio than Trump or Carson, the two leading candidates in the race.

Jindal reached his decision, two aides said, because he didn’t want to go into debt and realized there was no credible path to the nomination.

As he left the Fox News studio in Washington Tuesday night, a CNN reporter asked Jindal about who would be the Republican nominee.

“It’s not going to be Trump,” Jindal said. “It’ll be somebody else.”

Elsewhere D r. Ben Carson was facing new questions about his foreign policy capabilities.

One of his closest advisers, Armstrong Williams, said Carson was having intense briefing sessions with former US State Department and military officials, but admitted the retired neurosurgeon sometimes struggled to explain foreign affairs on the campaign trail.

The New York Times published a story quoting one of Carson’s advisers saying the candidate had trouble grasping the complexities of the Middle East.

Former CIA agent Duane Clarridge told the newspaper Mr Carson needed briefings so “we can make him smart”.

The Carson campaign hit back at Mr Clarridge, describing him as “an elderly gentleman” who was not among Carson’s inner circle.


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Gov. Walker Campaign Trying To Reverse Sinking Expectations

Scott WalkerScott Walker has downshifted his initially ambitious campaign for president to focus on first-to-vote Iowa, scrambling Thursday to reassure jittery donors and supporters after a quiet performance in the second Republican debate.

Walker spoke less than anyone else during a three-hour marathon in which he was asked only two direct questions. While Walker’s campaign manager said on Twitter it was “ridiculous” how little attention his boss got from the debate’s moderators, Walker said afterward it was time to adjust his strategy to win the Republican nomination.

“We’re putting all our eggs in the basket of Iowa,” he told MSNBC.

But first, Walker needs to settle donors hedging their bets on the Wisconsin governor. Among them is billionaire media mogul Stanley Hubbard, who said Thursday that while he still supports Walker, he’s going to also start giving money to Carly Fiorina, Marco Rubio and Chris Christie.

“For some reason, the people I’m close to, they aren’t getting excited about him,” said Hubbard, who gave $100,000 to two pro-Walker groups earlier this year. “And I don’t know why. He’s saying the right things.”

The turnabout comes a few days after Walker, seeking to spark a campaign that has lagged in polls and fundraising after a fast start, unveiled a sweeping proposal to reshape organized labor in the United States. Designed to be a dramatic moment on Walker’s signature issue, he wasn’t asked about it during Wednesday’s debate and he didn’t bring it up on his own.

Walker and campaign manager Rick Wiley told donors on a conference call Thursday afternoon that he retains key strengths in Iowa. His favorability ratings in a recent statewide poll were higher than nearly anyone else, and he has campaign leaders in each of the state’s 99 counties, a level of organization that should pay off in the February caucuses.

Walker returns to the state this weekend for a speech at an Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition dinner in Des Moines on Saturday night, followed by a full day of campaigning Sunday.

“The biggest thing for us is getting back to the basics, getting into Iowa and the early states,” Walker told MSNBC after the debate.

One of Walker’s top fundraisers, Chicago Cubs co-owner Todd Ricketts, praised Wiley during the conference call in an effort to quell grumbles from some donors that the campaign needs a change.

Some of the campaign’s top donors and fundraisers have expressed worry in recent weeks, as Walker’s poll numbers have slipped, that he’ll close out his first three months of fundraising without having raised enough to run a competitive campaign. Walker joined the call Thursday to personally plead for money.

Nervous campaign vendors are currently waiting to be paid more than $100,000 for outstanding debts, according to a person at one of the firms who spoke on the condition of anonymity. The person was not authorized to speak publicly about the firm’s financial relationship to Walker’s campaign.

The person said there is widespread recognition that Walker built a large and expensive campaign infrastructure when fundraising appeared strong earlier in the year. That is leading to fears among Walker’s creditors that he could become this cycle’s Tim Pawlenty, the former Minnesota governor who left the 2012 presidential race deep in debt months before the first votes were cast.

In addition to Thursday’s 30-minute conference call, Walker courted donors directly in California. He has a series of fundraisers planned, including next week in New York City and later this month in his home state.

Walker still benefits from two outside groups that can raise unlimited amounts of money from donors, and they reported amassing $26 million in the first six months of the year, before Walker made his candidacy official.

But like Hubbard, some of Walker’s biggest financial supporters have spread their largesse from the start, an indication that they’re not committed to him for the long haul.

Robert McNair, the billionaire owner of the Houston Texans, gave $500,000 to a pro-Walker super PAC — and the same amount to groups backing Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham. Chicago billionaire hedge-fund manager Ken Griffin cut $100,000 checks this spring to Walker, Rubio and Bush.

That’s a smart strategy for donors, Hubbard said Thursday.

“I’m not going to turn my back on Walker,” he said. “I’m still continuing to back him. … But I think it’s good to have a robust team.”

Walker still has a path to victory in Iowa, but interest has moved away from him and toward Fiorina, Donald Trump and Ben Carson, said Will Rogers, chairman of the Republican Party in Iowa’s Polk County.

“I don’t think people disqualify Scott Walker. I think they still look at him and respect him. I think that at the same time, the attention has really shifted from someone like Scott Walker, it has really shined on (Donald) Trump,” Rogers said.

But Roger Pilc, a Connecticut technology executive involved in an upcoming New York fundraiser for Walker, said he expects interest in the governor to increase as other candidates fade away.

“He’ll rise back up,” Pilc predicted, “as he shows that he is an outsider to Washington, but one who has a record of getting things done.”


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