The latest 2016 presidential polls in the wake of Sept. 16’s CNN debates have further colored in the Republican candidate landscape. Just as tellingly, national polls leading into the percolating Iowa Caucuses and New Hampshire Primaries see early Democratic-nomination favorite Hillary Rodham Clinton likely defeating any of the likely Republican nominees.
Latest 2016 presidential polls
Of course, a year in American politics might as well be a lifetime. This wouldn’t be the first time the final showdown for the White House has looked absolutely nothing close to how polls 12 months out depicted it. Nevertheless, especially with the scathing trash talk being tossed about by GOP debate hopefuls Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz and Donald Trump and the intriguing early two-way race between captivating Democratic nomination challenger Sen. Bernie Sanders and Clinton, there are plenty of compelling narratives to spotlight.
Here are a few individual candidate stories whose roads the latest major debate illuminated just a bit more brightly…
- Gop Shake-Up In Trump Gang-Up
The former Hewlett-Packard CEO and sole female Republican candidate earned her place at the “main event” table with a sterling performance during the first debate’s undercard and made this coming-out party with the big boys count. She stoically let Trump have it when he took cheap shots at her appearance and remained composed and articulate throughout. She’s still coming in below 5% in the latest polls, so what she does next could be pivotal.
Speaking of the surprising GOP frontrunner, Trump took beatings from most sides in the second debate and lost ground to surging neurosurgeon Ben Carson without dropping far in the polls. He came into the event holding over 30 percent of national support and remains in the lead, but GOP debate Fiorina may have made some very meaningful gains among women that could dramatically soften the outspoken billionaire mogul’s cushion at the top. This debate’s blunders and some impatience with his ongoing personal attacks could come back to haunt him.
Carson himself is capitalizing on Republican voters‘ fascination with outsiders sans-political experience and has gained major momentum in the Iowa hub of social conservatives and passionate evangelical Christian voters. However, he may not have spoken strongly enough to make any significant headway in the race, even if he didn’t exactly lose ground. He’s thoughtful and judicious with what he does say, though, and that’s doing him all kind of favors.
Meanwhile, Jeb Bush went on the offensive against Trump, seemingly spurred to a new gear by Trump’s remarks about the former Florida governor’s wife and former President brother, George W. Bush. He’s playing into Trump’s vicious verbal games, and time will tell whether that strategy pays dividends or not, but he is backed by a substantial super-PAC war chest to keep him afloat.
- The Rest?
To say the least, the remainder of the pack failed to deliver anything spectacular.
Once seen as a standout favorite for the general election, Marco Rubio’s youthful vigor and passionate Hispanic heritage aren’t carrying the senator from Florida into serious contention. He’s coming across with strong, articulate responses, especially on foreign policy, but he’s holding slow and steady for now.
Scott Walker held an impressive lead in Iowa a month ago, but his failure to stand out among lively, passionate responses in the second debate may have furthered the Wisconsin governor’s push to the side.
Some candidates with massive name value, such as Mike Huckabee and Ted Cruz, are riding surprisingly under whelmingly in the middle of the pack while others such as Rand Paul, Chris Christie and John Kasich are seemingly are just not detonating the sorts of memorable moments that build on major grass-roots support.
There’s one important thing to remember, though: the latest election polls are just that – the latest polls. Be prepared for anything to change in a single sound-bite between now and November 2016.