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Mon Oct 26, 2015, 04:50 PM

538 Blog: "Can Ben Carson Really Take Out Donald Trump?"



Nate Silver:

Carsonís lead is too large across too many polls to be a sample-size fluke.... I think itís more about Carson. ... But there is an argument that itís bad news for Trump.... Iowans are paying more attention to the race than people elsewhere in the country, so they may be early adopters of trends weíll see elsewhere. In other words, once Trump starts getting Iowa-type scrutiny in other states, he might fade.... Whatís interesting is that Carson doesnít have all that much of a campaign operation in Iowa. Nor has he made all that many visits there. ... Carson seems to be a more familiar sort of candidate ó high floor, low ceiling guy who appeals to evangelicals. ... The media narrative about Trump is in disarray right now. If you look at the Iowa polls, heís clearly fallen behind Carson. If you look at national polls, heís still ahead (and, in fact, seems to have recovered some of the points he lost after the previous debate). So voters go back and forth between reading stories implying that Trump is doomed and those that imply heís invincible. I wonder if that dynamic doesnít help him a bit. It seems like heís totally Teflon when the real story is more that there isnít all that much news in the campaign and the media is over-interpreting noisy data.

Harry Enten:

Carson has 36 percent of born-again/evangelical support. That looks like Santorumís support did in 2012 in terms of what is needed to win. Carson is clearly connecting with the more conservative voters out there.... On average, Trumpís net favorability is +18 percentage points in the last four Iowa polls. Thatís basically the same as it was the last time the same four pollsters were in the field (late August/early September), when it was +22. But thereís always been this sort of discord between Trumpís topline (horse race) numbers and his net favorability. Weíd have thought, based off his net favorability, that he wouldnít be leading the horse race. Carsonís net favorability is +77 points! Heís much better liked. Net favorability isnít always linked to doing the best in the horse race, but better-liked candidates generally do better. So Iíve always been skeptical of Trumpís numbers....Trumpís net favorability wasnít good to start off with. Whatís finally happened, it seems, is that as voters are paying more attention, the better-liked Carson has jumped in front. Trump could remain just as popular as he is now and still lose ó because he isnít that popular. Voters just need to pay attention to the other candidates.... This has been one of the more interesting Trump phenomena; I believe Jon Robinson first discovered that Trump does better in non-live-interview polls. The belief being that people were afraid to admit they were voting for Trump to an actual person.

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Response to Attorney in Texas (Original post)

Mon Oct 26, 2015, 04:56 PM

1. Scary stuff

There is a serious brain problem with the electorate in this country. What is the cause and is it temporary?

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Response to Attorney in Texas (Original post)

Mon Oct 26, 2015, 04:56 PM

2. Iowa Repub caucus goers always pick the craziest Christian available

Iowan here. Pat Robertson, Huckabee, Santorum. The Iowa Republican Caucus is rarely if ever predictive of who the nominee will be. I don't think Trump will be out if he loses Iowa.

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Response to Attorney in Texas (Original post)

Mon Oct 26, 2015, 05:12 PM

3. Polling at Real Clear Politics shows that Carson's rise in Iowa is at Fiorina's expense, not Trump's

During Carson's 12.7% rise in Iowa (aggregate polling numbers), Trump has fallen only 1.1% and Bush has fallen .8% while Fiorina had fallen 5.2%. Here is a link.

This graph does not include Fiornia or show her nosedive, but it does show that Trump is not precipitously dropping:

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Response to Attorney in Texas (Reply #3)

Mon Oct 26, 2015, 05:16 PM

4. Jeb! Surging back to 6%. Look out, Marco Rubio & your precious 9%!! Jeb! is Coming! for You!!

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Response to Attorney in Texas (Original post)

Mon Oct 26, 2015, 05:18 PM

5. Hilariously

I don't often recommend reading the comments to a story, but the report on the MSN feed seems to be dominated by the "it can't possibly be true" crowd and their fellow travelers who are hooting that the 400 respondent sample size doesn't determine anything (basic statistics being a bit too advanced for some of the commentariat).

The same people who were so giddy about the ascendance of T Rump are unfamiliar with the second part of the old adage about what goes up.

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Response to Attorney in Texas (Original post)

Mon Oct 26, 2015, 05:19 PM

6. I would be perfectly happy with another 2012 type situation-where they cycle through "front runners"

Every 2 weeks.

I think the GOP doesnt really know what it wants, thats the problem.

For them.

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Response to Warren DeMontague (Reply #6)

Mon Oct 26, 2015, 07:27 PM

7. I think the Trump-Carson phenomenon is all about how the Republicans have taught their base to HATE

government so effectively that they can no longer turn off the hate long enough to sell the base on a Republican establishment candidate.

The Republican base has clearly rejected Walker, Perry, Bush, Kasich, etc. (Rubio is such an unknown to the Republican base that he's skating for the moment, but soon he will have to morph into Cruz -- someone so unpleasant to and despised by his colleagues that he's an "outsider" who's an elected Senator -- or he's going down the same path as Walker and Bush).

In the end, the Republican establishment is going to wrest the the party back from the Trumpkins (or will die trying) -- either way, there will be blood.

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Response to Attorney in Texas (Original post)

Mon Oct 26, 2015, 07:44 PM

8. Trump is leading Carson in 49 states.

Iowa is a very poor predictor of the R nominee. In 2012 Santorum won. In 2008 Huckabee won (McCain was 4th). In 2000 Bush won but Forbes and Keyes got more of the vote together than Bush did.

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