Friday, November 06, 2015

In which I pretend to be a wonkoversian

Normally, this would be the kind of thing that tanks a campaign. But Ben Carson is not running a normal campaign, so maybe it won't do anything.

On the other hand, if Carson dropped out, what will it do to the race? In some polls Carson is current the front runner, although he is in second place in others. The RCP polling average has him barely in the lead with 24,8% to Donald Trump's 24.6%. The next place candidate in the polling average is Rubio at 11%. After that, no one else breaks double digits.

Because Carson draws mostly from evangelicals, I would guess that Cruz would benefit the most, who is currently at 8.8%. Maybe Huckabee would too, which would be sweet timing for him as he just got demoted out of the grown up debate because he could not clear 2.5% according to Fox News' polling average (the RCP average does have Huck at 2.6%).

Especially if Cruz gobbles up most of Carson's support, the big loser from Carson's announcement would be Rubio. He is currently the up-and-comer in the media narrative and if a less popular with the press guy like Cruz leaps past him, well then, how will the media deal with that? Because Marco won't meet the wonkoverses (perhaps unrealistic) expectations of taking over the race once the unserious types like Carson and Trump falter, I think the press will mostly blame Rubio for being a flawed candidate. It's that or question the validity of their own expectations, so how do you think it will go?

Not that any of this horserace crap matters. I go back and forth between being amused by it and annoyed at the sheer meaninglessness of it all. I'm still convinced that Rubio ends up being the nominee, and I even think that's the case if Carson dropped out, causing Cruz to surge and generates a whole bunch of Rubio-is-floundering coverage. Because in the end, the media's assumption of Rubio's promise is based on a correct premise: he seems to be the only guy with any significant following who is also acceptable to both the party elites and at fair number of the wingnuts.