Monday, February 08, 2016


Old conventional wisdom: Jeb is toast. New conventional wisdom: Marco Rubio is fading, and Jeb is making a comeback. Here's Slate's Franklin Foer:
... Bush may have ... an actual shot at the nomination....

Nobody -- not the media, not the GOP establishment -- can now consider Rubio a fait accompli....

As Republicans scrounge for their center-right tribune, they will find themselves coming full circle. Christie has no cash and no organization beyond New Hampshire. Kasich is out-of-synch with his party; his moderation won’t play outside a few suburban pockets. Which only leaves one....

Bush has bought himself more time, at precisely the moment that he’s corrected his candidacy. Watching him in New Hampshire, it’s possible to see a candidate who has stopped overthinking things, who has learned to be something resembling himself....

Seeing Bush press his case on the trail in New Hampshire, I was stunned by how he seemed high-energy, forceful, and confident.
And here's Ed O'Keefe of The Washington Post:
Something has clicked for Bush in New Hampshire in the past few days. What has transpired by no means guarantees him a top-tier finish in Tuesday’s Republican primary here, but the crowds turning out to see him are bigger, his delivery on the stump is crisper and some of his key rivals have stumbled....

Across Bush World ... there’s a growing sense of relief. Finally, after enduring months of bad news reports, tepid debate performances and two rounds of campaign budget cuts, some believe they’re on the verge of a good night.
This is being reinforced by an Emerson College poll that has Bush in second place in New Hampshire:

But here's the problem: Emerson's previous New Hampshire poll, conducted well before the Rubio-glitch debate, was a huge outlier in Bush's favor -- and, in fact, Bush did better in that poll than in this one:

Emerson had Jeb at 18% in New Hampshire at the end of January. No other poll conducted in New Hampshire in January had Jeb higher than 12%.

Now, maybe this means Emerson is right about Jeb and all the other pollsters are wrong -- after all, Emerson predicted the Rubio surge in Iowa:

But when you hear that Jeb's surging, remember: only one pollster really thinks he's going to beat the other not-Trumps. And also remember: Rubio won't drop out after New Hampshire unless he totally craters, so the Establishment still won't have a single candidate to rally around. The party decides? Not yet, in that case.


Unknown said...

Com'n Steve, you know better than this: pollsters don't 'THINK X or Y or Z or WTF WILL WIN'.

Polling outfits set out a plan for matching a set of questions to some group of humans between 700 and 350 who fit close as the pollster can to a template of that outfit's appreciation of what the country or the state as a whole looks like, if they could see only voters' expressed preferences.

Properly weighted AGGREGATIONS of polls still don't yield 'predictions' or any sort of 'thinking' by any corporeal 'group'. They represent estimates of trends, and only expressive results in terms of percentage probabilities at given measurement points. Since election day is a really freaking significant measurement point - some would say "the" point - naturally, the closer a seer of sooth asked to say sooth will end to be most accurate as the election date approaches.

People don't work like bacteria and viruses either eating or being eating, all reacting to narrow stimuli. Humans mostly function in crowds that work something like a cross between herds and packs. But the middle of herds is really constricting and powerful full of farts and crap and pre-breathed air, whereas it's easier to draw a reasonably clean breath on the edges. But out there on the edges as well there tend to exist packs that have only a nominal relationship with the herd (except for preying on its young, old, sick and otherwise vulnerable) and are more frequently in serious collision with the rational edge dwellers, who generally win out in the end because they cooperate better and they're not all gun-fondling post-literate morons.

Chai T. Ch'uan said...

@Unknown: "Polling outfits set out a plan..."

I'm thinking you either missed what Steve cautioned about in the prior post re "grains of salt" or you're just determined to stick to a salt-free diet.

petrilli said...

Jeb's campaign is as dead as a Norwegian Blue Parrot. He just can't pull the plug. Maybe Michael Schiavo can help him with that.