Bracketed presidential race taking shape
New polls are out that should help clarify the race based on my presidential “brackets” analysis.
First off, the NBC/WSJ poll for September shows big changes from its July one. While Donald Trump still leads, his support has leveled off at about a fifth of the vote, while Carly Fiorina battling him in the businessman bracket has seen her support jump from negligible to 11%.
A handful of candidates saw their support double: Ben Carson now statistically ties Trump. Marco Rubio now ties Fiorina and beats Jeb. John Kasich also saw his support double and seems to have benefited from Scott Walker’s withdrawal from the race.
Other candidates saw their support shrink to half from the previous poll: Jeb Bush saw his support halve from June to July and then halve again from July to September. Ted Cruz saw his support drop to his June levels, even with Rick Perry out of the race. Rand Paul’s numbers have collapsed steadily and consistently since April; he now ties Chris Christie. Mike Huckabee has also dropped steadily since the summer.
The new Fox News poll reaffirms the analysis. Carson rises and continues to crush Huckabee, whose support is falling for the Christian right bracket (though I suspect Huckabee will pick up one more vote in the Kentucky primary now that Kim Davis has switched parties).
For the bracket of Florida contenders, Rubio’s big mo has him edging out Jeb in both of the most recent polls, and the Washington Post also has Rubio overtaking Jeb in the critical polls (both national and in New Hampshire and Florida), as well as picking up far more of Scott Walker’s bundlers.
The attention is still focused on the undecided businessman bracket, with Trump holding steady with an increasingly tenuous lead against Carly’s rising star.
After the next debate, it should be clear who wins each round of their respective brackets and who pairs off against whom in the next round.