Latest Iowa poll a nightmare for Republicans, good for Sanders

The Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics Iowa Poll is reputedly one of the most respected ones and is referred to as the gold standard for that state and its latest one is a nightmare for Republicans and encouraging for Bernie Sanders, with Sanders closing the gap with Hillary Clinton 37%-30%.

What must frighten Republicans is that it shows Donald trump leading with 23%, Ben Carson with 18%, Ted Cruz and Scott Walker at 8%, and Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio at 6%. In other words, the three people that the party establishment might prefer (Bush, Walker, and Rubio) could muster only 20% between them while the people the party fears will take them into a major defeat (Trump, Carson, and Cruz) garner 49%.

What is even more shocking is that Trump’s favorability/unfavorability numbers have improved dramatically in ways never seen before, from 27/63 in May to 61/35 now.

The conventional wisdom seems to be that Trump will never get the nomination and the general sentiment seems to be similar to that of people like Kevin Drum.

Roughly speaking, I think the reason Donald Trump will eventually flame out is because people will get tired of his act. This is the downside of getting lots of media attention: when you recycle the same sentence fragments over and over, people eventually figure out that you have nothing more to say. His supporters get bored. The press gets bored. The whole country gets bored. And while the endless insults might be amusing for a while, eventually even his fans will conclude that he sounds an awful lot like a fourth grader, not a president. In the end, Trump will end not with a bang, but a whimper.

The idea that people will ‘come to their senses’ and will get tired of Trump’s shtick and abandon him seems like wishful thinking to me. That is the kind of thinking of people in the pundit class who find politics entertaining. For other people, once they give their allegiance to a candidate, they do not get ‘bored’ with them, they root for them to win. While it is tempting to think that because the man is so outrageous people will fall away, there is no evidence that this will happen.

What I have a hard time with is the actual mechanics by which he is defeated. It seems like he is managing to do well without raising a ton of money or having the support of the party. Even his occasional falling out with Fox News, which would be the kiss of death for other Republican candidates, has not hurt him. So other than him choosing to drop out (which seems unlikely), how exactly is he going to be defeated? No one provides any realistic scenario.

One possibility is that he goes to the Republican convention with less than the number of delegates he needs to win and all the other delegates gang up against him and deny him the nomination. This seems far-fetched too. And if he should happen to have the plurality of delegates and is denied the nomination, you can be sure that this would create a major party fight.


  1. Chiroptera says

    Kevin Drum: Roughly speaking, I think the reason Donald Trump will eventually flame out is because people will get tired of his act.

    I dunno. Just the other day, I read yet another article that once again tried to say that Trump finally said something that was absolutely going end his popularity, this time for sure. And yet, he’s still there.

    Still, it’s many months away from the national conventions; I suspect that it’s likely that in that time Trump really will say something unpopular or that the rabid rabble will lose focus and latch on to some other candidate.

    On the other hand, it’s many months away from the national conventions, and I think it is possible that as alliances shift, coalitions form and dissolve, and the elitist prima donnas start getting angry at each other throwing their tantrums, some of the Republican establishment might end up jumping onto Trump’s wagon.

  2. busterggi says

    Republicans answers to polls don’t matter -- they’re authoritarians and ultimately will vote for anyone or anything that has an (R) by its name.

  3. philipelliott says

    Roughly speaking, I think the reason Donald Trump will eventually flame out is because people will get tired of his act.

    It took this country 14 years to get sick of Bonanza, even though we got the same story over and over.
    The Hairball has enough time left in his hour of glory to do plenty of damage.

  4. machintelligence says

    Plenty of damage, indeed — but to whom? So far he seems to be leading the Republicans right off a cliff.

  5. naturalcynic says

    Chris Hayes of MSNBC went to his press conference yesterday where Trump pledged his fealty to the cause and was handed a press package and Hayes was hoping for some position statements. No such luck -- it was page after page of screen grabs of polls. The media seem to just want a horse race and now Trump is giving it to them.

  6. Bruce says

    In 1980, I felt that Ronald Reagan was a clown who might get the Republican nomination, but that nobody of any sense would vote for him for President. I was crushed that fall when he rose in the polls and never went back down, and got elected anyway.

  7. says

    @doublereed #2 -- “Why do they keep putting Joe Biden in the polls?”

    Because he seems to be the preferred choice of the DNC establishment. Sanders scares the crap out of them, and the many manufactured scandals against Clinton have badly damaged her electibility (aside from her very close and very well documented ties to Wall Street, corporate interests, and a powerful Talibangelical group in DC called The Family.) The other three declared Democratic candidates — Lincoln Chafee, Martin O’Malley and Jim Webb — all have numerous problems of their own, or are not well known on the national stage.

    Biden is seen as the best candidate: his progressive credentials are unimpeachable, he is not associated with any scandals real or imaginary, and after eight years as VP, he is very well known to the American public. Unfortunately, Biden would be 75 if inaugurated in January 2017, six years older than was Reagan, and by all accounts he wants very, very much to exit public service and retire while he can. But there is a lot of pressure to force him into becoming a candidate, including putting his name into opinion polls.

  8. daved says

    Gregory @8: Biden’s credentials are far from unimpeachable. He voted for the Iraq war, he supported civil asset forfeiture, he didn’t help keep Clarence Thomas off the Supreme Court. Also, his previous efforts to run for president aren’t exactly inspiring. He wasn’t a winner, not by a mile. I really hope he stays out. And screw the media and their horse race obsession, those morons.

  9. yaque says

    I’ll tell you when Trump buns out, yea, the precise second!
    It’ll be at some podium at Timbuktu, Wherever. A gust of wind catches that hat he wears to guard his combover outside.
    Suddenly, on national TV, his hair flies up like something out of … help me out here people … I dunno …

    Well, whatever, It’ll be looping on Fox, etc. for the next month at least. Trump crashes and burns!
    Remember, you heard it here first!

    Please, Jesus, let it be AFTER he gets the GOP nomination!

  10. Nick Gotts says

    I agree with Mano that it’s now hard to see how Trump will fail to get the nomination. Of course there’s always the possibility a video of him torturing kittens or praising Obama will turn up, but the situation is quite different from that in 2012, when a whole series of buffoons briefly came to the front, before the party reluctantly settled on the obvious-but-boring choice, Romney -- and he was always high enough in the polls to remain clearly in contention. His nearest counterpart, Bush the Least, is not -- and there’s no alternative establishment figure doing better.

    If Trump does win the nomination, I think the establishment and the billionaires will swing behind Clinton -- assuming she wins the Democratic race, as, along with almost everyone, I still think she will. Above all, they fear an unpredictable and uncontrollable POTUS, which Trump would certainly be. He’s liable to start a war or six because he thinks he’s been insulted, or wants to build a new golf course in the country concerned. If it’s Trump versus Sanders, maybe they’ll try to get Obama to cancel the elction and declare himself President-for-Life 😉

  11. StevoR says

    In a years time we’ll probably neither care nor remember what the polls are now and those polls will almost certainly be totally different with Trump long since reduced to a footnote of “Oh yeah, that dropkick also ran once didn’t he? FSM that was embarrassing!”

    Oh and then this time next year we will still be flippin’ months away from the actual US Presidential election.

    (A week is a long time in politics, six months is a virtual geological aeon. A year plus three months or so is the polituical metaphorical equivalent of the astronomical megaparsecs betwixt distant galaxy clusters.)

    Remember this part in the last POTUS election cycle it was Michelle Bachmann or was it Herman Caine or Rick “Oops!” Perry or some other silly goon leading the Repubs race for runner up wasn’t it? (After them, it was a whole string of other Not-Rmoney’s too. All the way up to the inevitable Mittens nomination and loss.)

    Broader perspective. It helps to have some.

    If Trump is still leading this time next year then it may be time to worry -- and I’ll be extremely surprised. Mark my words. It’ll still be Hilary Clinton vs Jeb! (BUSH!!!) come November and then Hilary Clinton will have eight years as POTUS, I’m calling that now.

  12. StevoR says

    .. Of course, I could be wrong but I don’t think so. (I wouldn’t would I?)

    But seriously. Trump? POTUS? Realy? No. Flippin’. Way.

    I do have more respect for Americans intelligence than to think that could actually happen.

    (Please don’t prove me wrong on this ‘k? I know you won’t but .. still make sure ‘k please?)

  13. StevoR says

    @9 daved : Yeah, pretty certain Biden won’t be running and hope he doesn’t. Not only would he not stand a chance it’d look far too desperate and wrong for the Democratic party if he did. It’ll be Hillary almost certainly. Both Biden and Sanders are really too old and not very electable in my view.

  14. Just an Organic Regular Expression says

    @Bruce #7, “In 1980, I felt that Ronald Reagan was a clown who might get the Republican nomination, but that nobody of any sense would vote for him for President.” Clearly you were not a Californian at the time, or you would have already suffered through eight years of a Reagan governorship, and known darn well that he was a capable politician and campaigner. And that was the Presidential campaign against a fatally damaged Jimmy Carter, who could put up virtually no fight against Ronnie’s folksy steamroller of down-home sincerity.

  15. StevoR says

    @ ^ Just an Organic Regular Expression :

    Reagan will probably go down as one of the greatest American presidents if only by luck of history presiding as he did over the end of the Cold war and USSR.

    OTOH Carter as a single termer and widely historically considered failure is usually ranked pretty low in the POTUS lists.

    Reagan now given a lot of his policies and positions would probably be considered a RINO and disowned by a lot of the current party which has swerved wa-aay to the far right since. Although Reaganomics and Thatchernomics were seen as pretty bad in their time probably deservedly.

    (I was a young boy at the time, he is the first US president I ever recall seeing -- his words after the ‘Challenger’ Shuttle disaster were excellent.)

    Donald Trump is no Ronald Reagan nor are any of the other Repub POTUS wannabes.

  16. StevoR says

    PS. One more thing, it may be worth recalling is that Carter was, if memory serves, an evangelical Christian who, I think, was widely seen as excessively religious at the time, yeah? Not that sure if or how much that worked against him vs Reagan back then but perhaps more so than we now realise or take into account maybe?

    Carter was derided as a peanut farmer too I gather so maybe some classism at work as well? (With extreme XN~ity a marker of low class unsuitability too then? An era when Presidents were meant to have more “nobility” (aristocratyic “bearing”, less approachability?) or something?)

  17. says

    in the redneck neighborhood where I live, the confederate flags are going up all over the place. Trump is leading redneck america off the cliff.

    good. It’s their cliff.

  18. WhiteHatLurker says

    From outside the US, it does appear that Trump will be your next president, despite assurances from many Americans. It will be a culmination of the current trends in American democracy. He has money and celebrity, short sound bites, lots of press coverage, and large amounts of entitlement.

    Or at least he will be the Republican candidate. The performance of the Democratic campaign will determine the president. I’m not seeing much life in that part right now. Perhaps they are saving their resources to fight the Trump card, but they really need to get some positive traction in their campaign, even given that it is so long.

  19. Nick Gotts says

    Gregory in Seattle@8,
    I don’t think it’s necessarily the case that those pushing Biden to enter the contest think he’s the best candidate -- many may just want a backup in case Clinton’s campaign blows up, or she has to withdraw for health reasons. Certainly if that happened at present, Sanders would become front-runner -- a horrific prospect for the establishment.

  20. says

    Perhaps they are saving their resources to fight the Trump card

    Presumably they are sitting back and watching and doing their research. The last campaign had way too much shuffle this early on and any time spent arguing about the clowns in the clown car is wasted until the lead clown is anointed and steps up to the podium. When that happened in the last one it didn’t take long for spotlights to triangulate on Romney’s worst warts.

    I suspect the democrats are pursuing a tactic of “don’t fire until you see the whites of their eyes” which is emininetly sensible at this juncture. Besides, they’re going to enjoy using the Sanders/Clinton ‘divide’ (both serve the oligarchy slightly differently) to target their messaging more carefully. Once that’s all polled out and the republicans have anointed their command clown, both parties will steady down for some serious lying and sniping.

  21. Nick Gotts says

    Besides, they’re going to enjoy using the Sanders/Clinton ‘divide’ (both serve the oligarchy slightly differently) -- Marcus Ranum@22

    I don’t think so. Sanders of course is not particularly radical, but he would shift the range of political debate very significantly leftward. How would that “serve the oligarchy”?

  22. StevoR says

    @ ^ Nick Gotts : Someone who proudly claims the tag of “socialist” in US politics is not particularly radical? Really? Hate to think what you would consider “radical ” then.

    From what I gather, Sanders is unelectable and like Trump will almost certainly soon be relegated to footnote and memory status. Of course I could be wrong. We’ll find out next year and the rest of this one ..

  23. StevoR says

    @ 19. Marcus Ranum : “Trump is leading redneck america off the cliff.
    good. It’s their cliff.”

    Yeah but its part of our world and has its nasty consequences and implications too.

  24. Nick Gotts says


    If you didn’t hate my political views, I’d know there was something seriously wrong with them. “Radical” policies would be for example:
    A target of reducing net American greenhouse gas emissions to zero by (say) 2040. To bring this about, carbon rationing: individuals and corporations to be allocated steadily reducing amounts of greenhouse-gas production permits, necessary to buy anything. These could be tradeable, but the overall ceiling would be fixed.
    Rapid reductions in military expenditure, down to perhaps 1/4 of current levels, with use of the funding thus freed for urgent deployment of measures to reduce fossil fuel use, and alleviate poverty.
    An end to all foreign arms sales.
    Taking the largest banks, insurance companies, health providers, transport, energy and communications suppliers and other key economic sectors into public ownership. In case of those institutions which have received bailouts or subsidies within the past 20 years, or knowingly damaged the environment, these factors would be taken into account when calculating compensation. (For many of the largest financial institutions and fossil fuel companies, this would clearly mean compensation set at zero.)*
    For remaining large and medium-sized private companies, mandatory supervisory boards with elected employee representatives, and provision for compulsory conversion into workers’ cooperatives if a majority of employees so decide; for large companies, federal government representatives in addition.*
    Universal citizens’ income.
    Tax-funded universal health care free at the point of use.
    Free contraception and abortion on demand.
    A constitutional amendment mandating the addition of sexual orientation and identity to the grounds on which discrimination is forbidden in all states and territories.
    A federal commission into police racism and abuse of powers, with the power to mandate the dissolution and replacement of police forces.
    Adequate compensation for all broken treaties with American Indian “tribes” (sorry -- I don’t know a better word, and this would have been the wording in the treaties themselves), and the offer of genuine sovereignty to the current “reservations”.
    A commission of enquiry into the feasibility of compensation for the continuing effects of slavery on the descendants of slaves.
    A constitutional amendment to give children the right to protection from parents or guardians who deny them adequate health care or education, or assault (“smack”) them.
    Dissolution of the NSA, with a commission of enquiry to consider criminal charges for its abuses.
    Prosecution of those responsible for war crimes and torture, starting with those at the top, such as the last several Presidents.
    Repeal of the second amendment.
    Abolition of all tax exemptions for religious organizations.
    Abolition of all legal prohibitions on drug possession and use, with suppliers to be regulated and taxed.
    Outlawing private prisons and similar facilities.

    Of course a President Sanders would lack the power to push through many of these measures, many of them would in any case require adjustments and caveats to be workable, but a commitment to pursue them and achieve as many as possible would be “radical”. The ones starred are, arguably, actually socialist -- i.e., involving serious moves towards the collective ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange. I’m sure there’s a lot I’ve left out.

  25. Nick Gotts says

    Oh -- an end to shielding Israel from the consequences of its flagrant violations of international law in relation to the occupied territories, and support at the UN for the establishment of a viable and fully independent Palestinian state. Obviously the latter would require negotiation -- but with Israel deprived of the automatic support of the USA, and thus vulnerable to UN-mandated sanctions, those could take place on the basis of something like equality.

  26. StevoR says

    @ ^ Nick Gotts : Why am I not surprised to see you’ve totally misread my comment and the meaning of plain english words as per usual. Oh yeah, you’re Nick Gotts and you always seem to miss the point.

    My point isn’t that I “hate” your views -- I agree with quite a lot of it though not all -- but that it simply isn’t realistic to expect the US public to vote for something so radical (& yes in the US political context that and proudly labelling yourself a socialist is radical) makes you unelectable. There won;t be a president Sanders because the US public just won’t vote for him. he’s too far left and too extreme to win the votes of the centre -- the majority -- of the population. Putting Sanders up for election would be making the mirror image mistake as the Republicans running Trump or Santorum -- extremists who fire up their base and scare off most everyone else.

    There will, OTOH, most likely be a President Hillary Clinton who is, like Obama a mild, moderate realistic left-winger who is electable. Which is good news for both us really and certainly beats the (realistic) alternative. As I said in #12. “Broader perspective. It helps to have some.” That and patience. The trend is generally leftward in US politics and with Hillary appointing Supreme Court Justices and shifting policies and the culture generally towards the left some of what Sanders is proposing may become real policy in a few decades time -- earliest.

    Again, I’d be happy to be proven wrong (on most of it anyhow) and have happen sooner but, well, not likely! Sanders is in any case too old and has already caused himself issues with African-Americans over his reaction to being interrupted by Black Lives matter activists. Not that he was ever a realistic candidate in the first place. Currently by hurting Hillary Clinton he’s really only making things harder for the Democratic party and thus making it easier for the Republicans.

  27. StevoR says

    @27. Nick Gotts : Reality check : There’s never going to be a Palestinian state until Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, etc ..are gone.

    Israel isn’t suicidal and shouldn’t be expected to be. The Israelis have tried offering land for peace before -Oslo accords and Gaza withdrawal -- and that failed disasterously. The Arabs have repeatedly rejected even exceedingly generous peace offers basically showing they don’t really want a state anyhow -- and in any case they’ve already been given two -first Jordan (70% of the former territory) then Gaza.

    Also the International law here is highly disputed, often moot and outdated and a lot more complex than you think and the UN is utterly useless dictators debating club.

    You can’t have “negotiations” when one side (cluebat for ya -- Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad -please, Nick Gotts do go do some research on who they are, what they do and what they really want!)>is only out to kill and refuses to do so in good faith at all. Oh and again, I challenge you to put yourself in the place of the Israeli leaders -- realistically -- if you can although I honestly doubt very much your capability to do so.

    One possible solution that may work is the 8 state solution and palestinian emirates which I stumbled on the other night -- but even that seems highly improbable verging on impossible as long as the palestinians have groups like Hamas etc running their show -- tragically for them and everyone they encounter.

  28. StevoR says

    ^ See :

    For one article on the 8 state Palestinian emirates city states solution which is at least another possibility worth considering given that the two-state solution (so called) is already well and truly gone.

    Although, well, see my first sentence again -- nothing good can or will happen to the palestinians until the likes of Hamas are either totally gone or totally changed and their culture permanently gives up on the hateful moronic idea of genociding Israel out of existence and blaming everything on the Jews.

  29. StevoR says

    @ ^ anat : Yeah, that’s a paradox that I read in a Michael Moore book once too -- that a huge number of Americans are actually in favour of a lot of things their supposed ideological identification would suggest they oppose.

    It is odd.

    But I still think someone openly claiming to be “socialist” is unelectable in the USA even if their policies say otherwise. I could be mistaken about this and if so, well, that’d be good.

  30. StevoR says

    @26. Nick Gott : “I’m sure there’s a lot I’ve left out.”

    Your asterisked footnote(s?***) there for starters presume? Numbering and a few more white lines for readability would’ve helped too.

    Incidentally, I have no ill will towards Bernie Sanders although I’m certainly a Hillary Clinton fan. I think its a shame she missed out in 2008 and generally gets very poor treatment (cough, misogyny, cough*) and insufficient appreciation then & now.

    I think she’ll be a great POTUS -- quite possibly better than Obama and certainly given her early desire to become an astronaut** I think she’ll be better for NASA and the space program (for me a key political factor because it shows vision for the future, sense of wonder and courage and good character generally) which also incidentally shows she’s very much pro-science.

    I think Hillary Rodham Clinton deserves to win and should win and very importantly can win whereas Sanders I think fails at least that last criterion. Given that I do think Hilary should be supported by everyone who supports the Democratic Party in the USA and its policies and political side and who distrust and dislike the Republican party and what their side of politics stands for too.

    * No, NOT aimed at Nick Gotts or anyone else here, just in general.

    ** See among other places :

    *** I gather this is the standard and best way to indicate asterisk footnotes in writing generally, one asterisk for each point maybe switching to + in the rare case of a fourth footnote being required. Not sure if Nick Gott’s multiple asterisks refer to one footnoted point or more since he failed to follow this practice as well as omitting to write the footnotes I presume I intended as well! Not that I can talk myself (metaphorically Nick Gotts, metaphorically! 😉 ) when it comes to typographical errors and comment writing corrections being needed I know but still. )

  31. Numenaster says

    @StevoR, at least we can tell you didn’t read Nick’s post very closely. Here’s the quote you missed:

    The ones starred are, arguably, actually socialist – i.e., involving serious moves towards the collective ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange.

  32. StevoR says

    @ ^ Numenaster : Okay, you’re right. I did miss that.

    In fairness, usually when you have an * you look for the footnote at the bottom which it conventionally denotes which wasn’t there in Nick Gotts’ case here. It certainly wasn’t the most readable or reasonably constructed of comments.

    But, yes, I didn’t see that -- mea culpa.

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