Friday, December 11, 2015

What Makes Marco Rubio Such an Unusual Frontrunner

Assuming Rubio is the frontrunner-as a large swath of the Beltway press believes, there are some troubling signs.

It's often asked if Trump has the requisite ground game that will translate his stellar poll numbers into actual votes in the primaries. But from what I've heard, he actually has set up a good ground game-he's right up there with Ted Cruz who has a very good organization.

Meanwhile there is some consternation that Rubio hasn't really done this, not in Iowa, not in NH, not in South Carolina.

Yet it seems that his lack of ground game is by design. .

"Is Marco Rubio a Paper Tiger?"

"He’s supposed to be the GOP’s best consensus pick. Then why is he trailing and absent from the states that matter most?"

"Because polls aren’t set in stone, it’s tempting to take this all with a grain of salt. And if Rubio were hustling—if he were using his cash and support to make contacts, find supporters, and prime them for voting—that would be the right choice. But the striking fact of his campaign is that he’s not on the grind, at least not compared to his rivals."

"Not in the grind? So how does this guy spend his days? We know he's not in the Senate-he got bored with the job the people of Florida elected him to a long time ago. You had to assume he was spending all this missed time in the Senate on the grind. But no. Is he already bored running for President? He's not a scientist, man, He''s not a Senator, he's not a campaigner, man. He's not a lot of things. like honest-his history shows he's very corruptible-or particularly well qualified."

“In recent conversations with nearly a dozen unaffiliated Iowa GOP veterans, a consensus has emerged across the party’s ideological spectrum,” write Tim Alberta and Eliana Johnson for the National Review. “The state’s caucus-goers are interested in Rubio, but his infrequent appearances and paltry field operation leave lingering doubts as to whether he is interested in them.” According to National Journal’scandidate tracker, Cruz has held 67 events in Iowa since entering the race. Rubio has held 38."

"The Rubio campaign believes it can win with a “different kind of campaign that eschews spending on policy staffers, field operations, and other traditional aspects of a winning bid in favor of television advertising and digital outreach.” The Cruz team thinks differently, investing in voter contacts and direct interactions. “Ted Cruz has done perhaps the best job in the state, frankly,” says Sen. Tim Scott of the Cruz campaign in South Carolina. And while Rubio can still buckle down in New Hampshire, he must contend with Christie, who has devoted his entire campaign to winning the state."

Speaking of Christie, you know how I feel about him. However, the silver lining of his NH surge is that he's stealing from Rubio's thunder there. Today's polls showed Christie suddenly surging to second in NH.

"New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie surged to second place among New Hampshire Republicans in a poll released by Boston radio station WBUR on Friday, while Donald Trump maintained his lead in the key primary state."

"Among Republican primary voters in New Hampshire, 27 percent support Donald Trump, 12 percent support Christie, 11 percent support Sen. Marco Rubio (FL), and 10 percent support Sen. Ted Cruz (TX)."

"Since WBUR's poll released in November, Trump has risen three points, while Christie has jumped six points. Rubio has dropped two points and Cruz has gained 2 points in the past month."

"In the December WBUR poll, 8 percent of Republican voters backed former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, 7 percent backed Ohio Gov. John Kasich, and 6 percent backed Dr. Ben Carson. The retired neurosurgeon saw a six point drop since the November WBUR poll in New Hampshire."

It''s been a question with Rubio-just which early primary he's in any way in line to win-and now Christie is muscling him in NH. What's more, yesterday's NY Times polls showed Trump at 35 percent, Cruz at 16 percent, and Rubio at only 9 percent

So we have the frontrunner-who isn't in front and if that poll is a sign, could even be slipping in national polls.

P.S. To be sure, the establishment will be cheered to see Christie's rise in NH. Surely they will hope maybe he can even catch Trump who remains way ahead, but at the least, Christie could finish a strong second in NH.

However, it's not clear where else Christie has a shot other than NH. He's thrown all his eggs in that basket. He wins there but he's nowhere in SC, Florida, or Nevada which follow NH.

And this would be a serious hit to Rubio's presumed frontrunning status. We'll see with Crhistie's now undeniable NH surge whether his estalbishment rivals-Rubio, Kasich, Jeb,-start to hit him.

If you want to know where to start, gentlement, it's with one word-Bridgegate. Trump, of course, already went there with the NJ bully once.

Why can't the folks of NH listen to the folks of NJ? Just as he's surging in NH, he's at an all time low in NJ.

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