The Road to 2016

Every week in 2016, HeadCount will throw a short update your way on the Presidential campaign named “The Road to 2016.” Here’s the first installment:

Republicans

The race for the GOP nomination continues to center around the lightning rod that is Donald Trump. The RealClearPolitics polling averages show the real estate magnate in first with the support of 29% of Republican voters, Ted Cruz is next sitting at 16% followed by Marco Rubio at 15%, Ben Carson at 14% and Jeb Bush at 4%.

However a poll on Monday came out showing that Cruz had a five percentage point lead over Trump among likely Iowa caucus-goers. Soon after the release of that data, Trump made another headline-grabbing statement saying that he would ban Muslims from entering the United States. Was that statement an attempt to garner media attention after a rough poll? Was it something Trump would have said anyway? I do not know, but what I can say is that Trump’s statements are still trending on Facebook while that polling data is not.

Most Republican candidates, including Chris Christie, Carly Fiorina, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, John Kasich and Lindsey Graham outright criticized Trump and this stance, the man polling in second place, Cruz, distanced himself from this policy idea without denouncing the Republican front runner.

Democrats

The blue-side of the race has been much of the same lately. Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are not attacking each other, and  there hasn’t been much movement in their polling, with Clinton holding a comfortable 25 point lead in the most recent RealClearPolitics polling averages. For fans of The Wire, (many believe Mayor Carcetti is based partially off of the former Baltimore mayor) Martin O’Malley is garnering 2.3% of Democratic support, placing him 27 points behind Sanders.

TIME Magazine announced that Bernie Sanders won their online poll for Person of the Year. Bernie won a plurality with 10% of the vote, but that doesn’t mean the Vermont Senator will grace the cover of TIME–the magazine’s editors selected German Chancellor Angela Merkel as TIME Person of the Year.

Some good news for Hillary Clinton came out this week–she has better net favorability ratings among Democrats than Bernie Sanders has, and her lead in that category is growing.

Bad news for Hillary Clinton came out as well–Bernie Sanders out performs Hillary Clinton in head-to-head polling with likely Republican candidates, data that refutes the pre-existing narrative that assumed the former Secretary of State would be far more electable than the Democratic Socialist from Vermont.

Third Party Candidates

Green Party Candidate Jill Stein is campaigning abroad right now, attending the Paris climate talks, and pushing her plan to create living wage jobs and 100% renewable energy by 2030.

The only declared Libertarian Candidate, Robert David Steele, hasn’t gotten much press coverage this week. Others who have considered running against Steele for the Libertarian Party line are two former governors, Gary Johnson of New Mexico (this party’s candidate in 2012) and Jesse Ventura of Minnesota.

Tell your friends!