January, 2016

The Most Important Poll Is Coming Tonight

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Rubio Confident as Voting Nears

Sen. Marco Rubio “was exuding confidence on the campaign trail — cracking impromptu jokes, pointedly criticizing his main competitor Sen. Ted Cruz and spending more time taking questions from the press and donors,” Politico reports.

“The renewed confidence comes as Cruz’s campaign flipped its ad strategy to go after Rubio, redirecting money for negative ads that had been slated to hit Trump.”

The Hill: “Buzz is growing on the ground in Iowa around Marco Rubio, who many political watchers believe is set for a stronger-than-expected showing at Monday’s caucuses.”

Cruz Staggers Into Final Weekend

Sen. Ted Cruz “enters the homestretch weakened by attacks from all sides, lagging poll numbers and a widely panned debate performance, putting enormous pressure on the onetime-Iowa poll leader to recapture momentum,” Politico reports.

“On Friday and in the hours following Thursday’s debate, other campaigns seized on an off-kilter performance from Cruz to crow that he is losing his grasp on Iowa, a state where he led by double digits last month.”

Who Will Actually Vote in Iowa?

Wall Street Journal: “In other words, if Mr. Trump wins, it will be because he pulled off a difficult feat: Changing the composition of a conservative electorate to draw in more centrist voters.”

“Iowa has been friendly territory for candidates such as Mr. Cruz, who campaign on a strict adherence to conservative policy. In 2012, almost half of Republican caucus-goers—some 47%—described themselves as “very conservative.” A mere 17% rated themselves ideologically moderate or liberal, with the rest calling themselves ‘somewhat conservative.'”

“But there are signs that the ideological mix of the voting pool could be far different on Monday, likely because of the presence of Mr. Trump. If the signals bear out, Mr. Trump will benefit.”

Clinton Looks Beyond the Early States

Washington Post: “Despite her immediate hurdles in the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary, Hillary Clinton has been quietly growing her political networks in states that come later on the presidential calendar, confident that she can deny insurgent Bernie Sanders the Democratic nomination by swamping him in a state-by-state delegate slog.”

“Many in Clinton’s Iowa staff of more than 100 are expected to quickly fan out to the two dozen states holding primaries and caucuses in March. Already, her campaign has held more than 10,000 volunteer training sessions, phone banks, debate watch parties and other organizing meetings to recruit and mobilize supporters in those places.”

Clinton Maintains Lead in Iowa

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Iowa finds Hillary Clinton leading Bernie Sanders by eight points, 48% to 40%.

Interesting: “One thing that will likely cause things to tighten up on Monday night is that O’Malley’s supporters are far more likely to move to Sanders than Clinton at the sites where he fails to meet the 15% threshold. 57% of O’Malley voters say Sanders is their second choice to only 27% who say it’s Clinton.”

Cruz Pulls Attack Ads Against Trump

“Ted Cruz has flipped his TV strategy heading into the crucial final weekend before the Iowa caucuses, rerouting money from negative ads that had been slamming Donald Trump to hit Marco Rubio instead,” Politico reports.

“The last-minute change is a sign that, even as both the Rubio and Cruz campaigns have publicly denied it, Rubio is increasingly a threat to Cruz in the state.”

Rubio is quoted by Time: “Obviously they must be concerned about something. You don’t spend money against a candidate if you’re not concerned about them.”

22 Clinton Emails Deemed ‘Top Secret’

“The Obama administration confirmed for the first time Friday that Hillary Clinton’s unsecured home server contained some of the U.S. government’s most closely guarded secrets, censoring 22 emails with material demanding one of the highest levels of classification,” the AP reports.

“The revelation comes just three days before the Iowa presidential nominating caucuses in which Clinton is a candidate.”

Branstad Tries to Bury Cruz Just Before Vote

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad (R) ripped into Ted Cruz — “mocking him for his debate performance and asserting that his prospects in the state are dimming,” Politico reports.

Said Branstad: “Ted Cruz was ahead in Iowa, but as people have figured out his stance on issues that are important to the economy of the state. He was ahead on polls, but now he’s dropped below Trump.”

He added: “It was a poor performance on his part.”

Issa Says FBI Has Evidence to Indict Clinton

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) told the Washington Examiner that the FBI has enough evidence right now to indict Hillary Clinton and her aide Huma Abedin, but that FBI director James Comey is being constrained.

Said Issa: “I think the FBI director would like to indict both Huma and Hillary as we speak. I think he’s in a position where he’s being forced to triple-time make a case what would otherwise be, what they call, a slam dunk.”

Trump Calls Cruz an ‘Anchor Baby’

Donald Trump again claimed that Sen. Ted Cruz may not be a U.S. citizen, The Guardian reports.

Said Trump: “He’s an anchor baby. Ted Cruz is an anchor baby in Canada, but Canada doesn’t accept anchor babies, they just waited a long time.”

He added: “I think that’s one of the reasons he’s a nervous wreck. Now they’re saying, I think, his career is over, right? How about this, he’s a citizen of Canada and he’s a senator from Texas?”

Why Clinton Could Survive an Iowa Loss

Nate Silver: “Unlike on the Republican side, this isn’t necessarily a choice between head and heart for Democratic voters. Democrats aren’t just backing Clinton because they think she’s more pragmatic or electable; most of them are closer to Clinton than Sanders on the issues. So even if Sanders gained a lot of momentum after the early states, he could have trouble closing the sale with voters who think he’s a little too far to the left.”

“The other factor is that Clinton has the Democratic machine more or less fully behind her.”

For members: Clinton’s firewall is still intact