Presidential Primary Brief: 463 days until Election Day

2016 Presidential Primary Brief_2 Aug Update

209 days until AL Presidential Primary

463 days until Election Day

Convention Dates: Republican July 18-21 2016, Democratic July 25-28 2016

Weekly Headlines:

Primary Brief_3 Aug 2015_GOP Polls Primary Brief_3 Aug 2015_Dem Polls

Press Clips:

 A third of all 2016 campaign cash has come from about 60 donations (Chicago Tribune 8/1/15)

It took Ted Cruz three months to raise $10 million for his campaign for president, a springtime sprint of $1,000-­‐per-­‐plate dinners, hundreds of handshakes and a stream of emails asking supporters to chip in a few bucks. One check, from one donor, topped those results. New York hedge fund magnate Robert Mercer’s $11 million gift to a group backing the Texas Republican’s White House bid put him atop a tiny group of millionaires and billionaires whose contributions already dwarf those made by the tens of thousands of people who have given to their favorite presidential candidate.

Fox lowers threshold for early debate (Politico 7/28/15)

Fox News is opening its 5 p.m. debate to all the announced Republican candidates who fail to make the cut for the Aug. 6 prime-­‐time event, removing a requirement that participants reach at least 1 percent in polling. The change amounts to an insurance policy for candidates who were in danger of being disqualified from the vital first debate based on low polls – Carly Fiorina, former New York Gov. George Pataki and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-­‐ S.C.).

Tom Steyer unfazed by Hillary Clinton’s silence on Keystone (Politico 7/29/15)

Tom Steyer’s hard green line is turning soft when it comes to Hillary Clinton.

The billionaire climate activist has spent more than $100 million of his personal fortune to support green-­‐minded candidates and ballot initiatives in the past Tie years, ruffling the Washington establishment while threatening to torpedo even fellow Democrats who don’t hew the line on controversies like the Keystone XL oil pipeline. But he declined repeatedly Tuesday to criticize Clinton, who still refuses to take a stand on Keystone, and whose just-­‐ released initial climate proposal is notably short on specifics about issues like fracking and Arctic drilling.

There’s something about Bernie (The Atlantic 7/29/15)

There’s no way this man could be president, right? Just look at him: rumpled and scowling, baldpate topped by an entropic nimbus of white hair. Just listen to him: ranting, in his gravelly Brooklyn accent, about socialism. Socialism! And yet here we are: In the biggest surprise of the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, this thoroughly implausible man, Bernie Sanders, is a sensation. He is drawing enormous crowds—11,000 in Phoenix, 8,000 in Dallas, 2,500 in Council Bluffs, Iowa—the largest turnout of any candidate from any party in the first-­‐to-­‐vote primary state. He has raised $15 million in mostly small donations, to Hillary Clinton’s $45 million—and unlike her, he did it without holding a single fundraiser.

Right sees 2016 as chance to take over Supreme Court, reverse marriage equality (Huffington Post 7/30/15

Right-­‐wing leaders have spent the past month denouncing as illegitimate and tyrannical the Supreme Court’s June 26 decision that declared state laws banning same-­‐sex couples from getting married to be unconstitutional. In addition to waging a campaign of resistance to the ruling, right-­‐wing activists are looking toward the 2016 presidential elections as a chance to pack the Court with far-­‐right justices who will overturn the decision. Journalist Paul Waldman argued recently that 2016 will be a Supreme Court election because right-­‐ wing voters will be motivated by anger over their losses on marriage and health care, even though “the Roberts Court has given conservatives an enormous amount to be happy about” -­‐-­‐ gutting the Voting Rights Act and giving corporations and zillionaires the right to spend as much as they want to influence elections, and much more.

Presidential Polls: How to avoid getting fooled (New York Times 7/30/15

Polls with surprising or novel results can be irresistible to journalists and the public alike. It’s newsworthy if public attitudes seem to have changed in some unexpected way. As a result, these findings tend to attract the most public attention and media coverage.

Unfortunately, they are the most likely to be spurious. What looks like a shift in public opinion is often just random statistical variation. First, all polls should come with an associated margin of error or some other estimate of uncertainty. Take it seriously. With the sample sizes conventionally used in polling, changes in support of one or two percentage points can’t be distinguished from random variation. Second, given the number of polls that are conducted, outliers are likely to be common. Approximately one in 20 polls of President Obama’s approval rating, for instance, will produce a statistically significant change from the last estimate even if nothing changed.


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