20 February 2016

Bush Out; Advantage Rubio

Our next Republican Presidential nominee will either be Donald Trump or a Cuban-American Senator. This leaves us with three Republican candidates still in the running. We have also averted the unpleasant possibility of another Bush v. Clinton campaign.

Jeb Bush has suspended has campaign for the GOP Presidential nomination in the wake of his poor finish in the South Carolina (fourth place or fifth place, neck and neck with Kaisch).

Meanwhile, Rubio edged out Cruz for second place in the race.  Jeb Bush voters, in all likelihood, will vote for Rubio more often than they will for Cruz in future caucuses and primaries.

Kaisch's fifth place finish also suggests that his departure from the race is imminent.  Kaisch might hope to pick up Jeb Bush's supporters in order to become viable, so he might not drop out until he makes it to the primary in his home state of Ohio, but it is fairly obvious that he can't win the GOP nomination at this point.  He is far, far behind Cruz and Rubio (by a 3-1 margin in each case).  And, his supporters are also more likely to favor Rubio than Cruz.

Carson finished sixth in South Carolina, was also outvoted 3-1 by both Rubio and Cruz, and has yet to break even third place in any race.  There is no reason to think that Nevada will be different.  He's done. But, his supporters do not seem likely to lean strongly towards any of the remaining three viable candidates at this point.

Also, in the race for super-delegates and GOP establishment support, neither Trump nor Cruz have many friends.  Rubio is an easy choice for them in a three way race that Rubio has a real chance of winning.  This may or may not be enough to allow Marco Rubio to defeat Donald Trump.  But, it does give Rubio a decided edge over Ted Cruz.

Trump is the clear front runner.  But, if Rubio could consolidate more of the "not Trump" vote which made up two-thirds of the vote in South Carolina, he has a shot at the GOP nomination.  Trump won all but two counties in South Carolina, but the other two were won by Rubio.  There was not a single county in all of South Carolina where Cruz bested Trump and the demographics of their supporters is quite similar.

Meanwhile, as expected, Hillary Clinton won a narrow victory over Bernie Sander in Nevada and is now headed to South Carolina's Democratic primary on Tuesday where she is favored to win by a double digit percentage margin similar to the margin of Sanders' win in New Hampshire.


andrew said...

Also arguing that Rubio now has a shot at defeating Trump while Cruz really doesn't.

andrew said...

The Republican U.S. House Minority Leader has also publicly concluded that Trump or Rubio could win, but that Cruz has no chance of winning. He has also concluded that Trump is more likely to win the nomination than Rubio.