Hope for Anti-Trumpers?

 

For those who are worried that there is no hope of avoiding a Trump victory, I offer the following graph of opinion polls leading up to the South Carolina Republican primary. This is hardly ideal data, but it is the best we have, and it does seem to reflect what happened in the final vote.

Cropped Screen Shot 2016-02-26 at 8.41.16 AM copyThe magenta line is Rubio; the dark blue line near the bottom is Kasich; the black line is Cruz; and, most importantly, the blue line at the top is Trump. I’ve put a vertical line on February 11, because it was clearly an inflection point with sudden shifts in many of the candidates’ slopes. And, beautifully, you can see that the Trump blue line near the top starts sloping down.

So what happened immediately after February 11? There may be other factors that I don’t know about, but I can think of two.

First, there was a Republican debate in South Carolina and Jeb Bush (bless him, and may I be smitten for every negative word I’ve ever said about him) showed that you can successfully attack Trump in a debate. He got Trump to say several damaging things that could be used to turn voters. In South Carolina, people really don’t like Planned Parenthood, and his praise for them changed the minds of previously committed Trump voters. And the 9/11 and Iraq War trutherisms also helped. Rubio’s recovery from the New Hampshire debate undoubtedly contributed to his improving numbers. But while that might explain a recovery to a previous level of support; it does not explain how his support rose higher than it had ever been before.

So that brings me to my second observation: the inflection point corresponds with when the ground game really got started in South Carolina. And ground game really matters in primaries. Relatively few voters vote in primaries, and they often make their decisions based on personal contact. Ground game means going out and talking to voters. It’s a technique that works best with volunteers with sincerity and enthusiasm, and I think that Rubio’s late start ground game — dwarfed by a professional ground game run for weeks out of Cruz’s SuperPAC with paid workers — probably made a difference. (I am biased here, but the wisdom that ground game matters in primaries is widely accepted. Disclosure at the bottom to say how I formed this opinion.)

Let’s look at some of the other lines.

Kasich rose. Why? That’s obvious: the strong showing in New Hampshire led a few voters to think he was the best Trump stopper. I am desperately hoping that no one thinks that any more.

Jeb Bush was slightly up, but not by much. Why? He attacked Trump, but everyone otherwise thinks he is just not a strong candidate.

Carson dropped. Why? I think we can all guess that everyone is figuring out that he is not a serious candidate.

Finally, there was Cruz. He’s got a drop, but it’s shallow, and it’s easy to say that that’s “error of measurement,” except for the fact that Rubio ended up beating Cruz in the final vote tally. This is where this post is going to make some people angry, and I apologize for that. Maybe Cruz advocates can come up with a better explanation than mine for why that happened. But I believe that there is one other factor that made a difference, and that is the quality of the candidate. The third thing that changed at around that time is that, of course, all the candidates arrived in South Carolina and voters got to see them. And many voters just do not like Ted Cruz.

I’m no Majestyk, but I hope that some of you who have been discouraged will take heart, and perhaps take action.

Disclosure: I woke up after the New Hampshire primary, took stock, decided that the Trump candidacy was far too dangerous for me to stand by and do nothing, and concluded that it was time for my family to make some sacrifices. So I packed my husband up and he went off to South Carolina to volunteer.

Adding on February 28, as of yesterday I am told that I am now to refer to my husband as “with the campaign,” rather than as a volunteer. I have absolutely no idea what that means, but I know I sent him off as a volunteer with no thought other than that we were going to have to do something to save the Republic, and it was going to cost us something.

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  1. Frozen Chosen Inactive
    Frozen Chosen
    @FrozenChosen

    Frozen Chosen:Though I fear the worst, I am not ready to give up and will be speaking for Marco Rubio at the caucus in Minnesota tomorrow night. I think Rubio has an excellent chance of winning here and that win could be the spark that ignites his campaign.

    Why do I think he’ll win here? Minnesota nice – we don’t go for the nasty people like Trump. Unemployment is about 4% – if you can fog a mirror you can find good work. Furthermore, we need more immigrants here, not fewer (at least those who are willing to work). Trump’s schtick don’t play here.

    As for why I support Rubio over Cruz, there has been recent analysis done based on exit polls that show Rubio has much more room for growth in his support than Cruz does. Crux does horribly with moderates and non-evangelicals, for example, and will have a hard time growing beyond his current 20-30% support base.

    UPDATE: I just got a call from Rubio’s MN headquarters and it turns out I have been thrown over for another speaker who will be at my precinct tomorrow night.  You may have heard of the guy – Congressman John Kline.

    I told them I would gladly step aside for congressman Kline, who is a conservative ex-marine officer who I have enthusiastically supported for many years.

    I imagine I’ll still get in a few pro-Rubio remarks to my fellow caucus goers – I just can’t help myself.

    • #61
  2. Frozen Chosen Inactive
    Frozen Chosen
    @FrozenChosen

    Majestyk:

    Frozen Chosen:Though I fear the worst, I am not ready to give up and will be speaking for Marco Rubio at the caucus in Minnesota tomorrow night. I think Rubio has an excellent chance of winning here and that win could be the spark that ignites his campaign.

    Why do I think he’ll win here? Minnesota nice – we don’t go for the nasty people like Trump. Unemployment is about 4% – if you can fog a mirror you can find good work. Furthermore, we need more immigrants here, not fewer (at least those who are willing to work). Trump’s schtick don’t play here.

    As for why I support Rubio over Cruz, there has been recent analysis done based on exit polls that show Rubio has much more room for growth in his support than Cruz does. Crux does horribly with moderates and non-evangelicals, for example, and will have a hard time growing beyond his current 20-30% support base.

    I believe I made this argument inarticulately to Gretchen Carlson. :)

    Don’t sell yourself short, Majestik, you did a great job on Fox News.  I would’ve had flop sweat so bad they would’ve had to break out the floor mop!

    • #62
  3. Frozen Chosen Inactive
    Frozen Chosen
    @FrozenChosen

    Judge Mental:

    Frozen Chosen: Why do I think he’ll win here? Minnesota nice – we don’t go for the nasty people like Trump.

    Curious to know… does Rubio’s recent turn in style damage the nice vibe? I think it might for some people, but I have no idea how many or how many might like it.

    I don’t think it will hurt Rubio – he’s just standing up to the bully ala the Karate Kid.  Everyone loves an underdog story.

    • #63
  4. Frozen Chosen Inactive
    Frozen Chosen
    @FrozenChosen

    Sash:Rubio supporters aren’t the only ones who need to do some soul searching.

    I started to write all the reasons I think you are wrong about Cruz and Rubio… but that is probably not helpful.

    The bottom line is Cruz’s best shot is tomorrow. Rubio’s best states are still to come.

    And if Trump continues down and Rubio continues up… Rubio is our best shot to beat Trump.

    Trump’s mask stayed on too long for Cruz to rise.

    I do wish someone would get the three together and make some compromise.

    At this point any of them would be better than Trump… even Carson. Who seems oblivious that he is messing up. Maybe he’s the Democrat plant.

    I’m really torn about Texas – part of me hopes Cruz loses so he drops out but OTOH I want Trump to lose so as to dent his inevitability.

    Clearly Rubio needs to win somewhere tomorrow and I think Minnesota is his best chance.  In fact I just found out that he will be here tomorrow so obviously his campaign is thinking the same thing.

    • #64
  5. Lucy Pevensie Inactive
    Lucy Pevensie
    @LucyPevensie

    Frozen Chosen: In fact I just found out that he will be here tomorrow so obviously his campaign is thinking the same thing.

    I don’t know. He’s been in all the states, Frozen. I know because I can see all the campaign footage on the website. I have a funny feeling that lots of people in different states think theirs is the state he can win.  Hope they’re all right!

    Aside: I’ve been cheering myself up by watching the website videos from his various appearances. If you want to be heartened, go check them out.  However, I’m a little concerned because to my ears the Knoxville, TN, one that went up today sounds like he’s losing his voice. This is the one I ought to keep listening to, as should we all.

    • #65
  6. Frozen Chosen Inactive
    Frozen Chosen
    @FrozenChosen

    Lucy Pevensie:

    Frozen Chosen: In fact I just found out that he will be here tomorrow so obviously his campaign is thinking the same thing.

    I don’t know. He’s been in all the states, Frozen. I know because I can see all the campaign footage on the website. I have a funny feeling that lots of people in different states think theirs is the state he can win. Hope they’re all right!

    Aside: I’ve been cheering myself up by watching the website videos from his various appearances. If you want to be heartened, go check them out. However, I’m a little concerned because to my ears the Knoxville, TN, one that went up today sounds like he’s losing his voice. This is the one I ought to keep listening to you, as should we all.

    Except that the most recent poll in MN – two months old – has Rubio winning.  I couldn’t find any more recent polling so I could be kidding myself but I just don’t think that Trump plays well in MN.

    • #66
  7. Lucy Pevensie Inactive
    Lucy Pevensie
    @LucyPevensie

    Frozen Chosen:

    Lucy Pevensie:

    Frozen Chosen: In fact I just found out that he will be here tomorrow so obviously his campaign is thinking the same thing.

    I don’t know. He’s been in all the states, Frozen. I know because I can see all the campaign footage on the website. I have a funny feeling that lots of people in different states think theirs is the state he can win. Hope they’re all right!

    Aside: I’ve been cheering myself up by watching the website videos from his various appearances. If you want to be heartened, go check them out. However, I’m a little concerned because to my ears the Knoxville, TN, one that went up today sounds like he’s losing his voice. This is the one I ought to keep listening to you, as should we all.

    Except that the most recent poll in MN – two months old – has Rubio winning. I couldn’t find any more recent polling so I could be kidding myself but I just don’t think that Trump plays well in MN.

    Well, we can pray. Watch the video. :-)

    • #67
  8. Lucy Pevensie Inactive
    Lucy Pevensie
    @LucyPevensie

    Oh, and come back here and tell me whether you like it.  Here’s the link again.

    • #68
  9. Frozen Chosen Inactive
    Frozen Chosen
    @FrozenChosen

    I saw Rubio  here in Minnesota last week so I know he is very good on the stump.  The speech you linked to is very good as well but I’m afraid I don’t share Marco’s optimism about our future.  I agree that God is in control of the big picture but He allows his children to be as destructive as they choose even though it greatly saddens Him.

    • #69
  10. Duane Oyen Member
    Duane Oyen
    @DuaneOyen

    Judge Mental:

    Duane Oyen:

    Judge Mental:Cruz supporter – additional observation.

    ……………………..

    Judge, the problem that Lucy describes is real, unless you think that Andrew Ferguson and Charlie Cooke are sneaky and mean leftists in disguise.

    In 2005, we pointed out something that still strikes me as true: if virtually everyone who works with you hates you and opposes you, it might be a good idea to check into it. In 2005, that was the case with almost all Swift Boaters, and in 2016 it is the case with virtually all Senators, GW Bush, and co-workers in the Bush43 administration. Are they all left-wing moles or Washington sell-outs?

    You can have the greatest platform in the world, but if the voters react negatively to the messenger, 1 Corinthians 13:3- it profits you nothing.

    I don’t know how you got any of that out of what I wrote. I made a simple observation that at about the same time as the inflection point described, he started getting a lot more coverage. Is that where you got the idea I was talking about leftists? ……… My point was simply that more positive coverage will lead to increased support. That has been proven many times. You can increase support for Hitler if you start running positive stories about him every day. (And no, I’m not comparing Rubio to Hitler.)

    Judge, all I was saying was that Cruz is probably not the solution to the problem.

    • #70
  11. The Cloaked Gaijin Member
    The Cloaked Gaijin
    @TheCloakedGaijin

    Ccab3mcW8AE3dWt

    So you like that chart.  He’s another for you.

    • #71
  12. Theodoric of Freiberg Member
    Theodoric of Freiberg
    @TheodoricofFreiberg

    @Sash: Is there room in the Democrat party for pro-life, rule of law, pro-traditional families?

    Nope.

    • #72
  13. Theodoric of Freiberg Member
    Theodoric of Freiberg
    @TheodoricofFreiberg

    @Sash: I wish he’d get out and run third party, because then I’d still have a poltical home.

    Sadly, this may be the best outcome at this point.

    • #73
  14. Lucy Pevensie Inactive
    Lucy Pevensie
    @LucyPevensie

    Lucy Pevensie:

    Matt Bartle:You know, every football season, about 10 games in, fans of 4-6 teams start working out the possible routes their team has to get into the playoffs.

    It’s almost always wishful thinking.

    Except for the teams that do make the playoffs. Are you suggesting that all the teams should just stop playing because there’s a chance they won’t win?

    Adding: This is politics in a democratic republic. We are the players. Giving up is not an option.

    • #74
  15. Lucy Pevensie Inactive
    Lucy Pevensie
    @LucyPevensie

    Frozen Chosen:I saw Rubio here in Minnesota last week so I know he is very good on the stump. The speech you linked to is very good as well but I’m afraid I don’t share Marco’s optimism about our future. I agree that God is in control of the big picture but He allows his children to be as destructive as they choose even though it greatly saddens Him.

    Yes, but as he says (and I’m paraphrasing) Christians’ peace is not the peace of the world, it’s not necessarily liking the circumstances.  It’s the peace of knowing that God is in control.

    • #75
  16. 2klbofun Member
    2klbofun
    @2klbofun

    Minnesota might be Rubio’s best shot.  They’ve already had their Trump moment with Jesse Venture a few years back.

    • #76
  17. Ross C Inactive
    Ross C
    @RossC

    One way to explain the graph is people’s innate sense of politics within any group.  It is politically expedient for a person to take both sides of any issue rather than take a firm stand.  In the case of voting and in fact anything we like to keep our options wide open.  That is, until the pulling of the lever at which time one must abandon that expediency.  But then immediately after voting the lines generally move to average out support for candidates.  So with the notable exception of Carson, higher scoring candidates go down while lower scoring go up.

    This reverse movement allows voters to create the fiction that, “I voted for X but I was not all that happy about it.”  Again staking more than one position and thereby gaining status in other peoples’ eyes as reasonable and prudent rather than foolish and impulsive.

    • #77
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