As noted in today’s Morning Jolt, it looks like the Democrats have a uniquely weak crop of candidates this cycle. NBC News thinks the big news is that Bernie Sanders runs stronger than Hillary Clinton in head-to-head matchups in Iowa and New Hampshire. Yes, but Sanders isn’t doing
In Iowa, Republican Jeb Bush leads Clinton by 10 points in a hypothetical general-election match up among registered voters, 50 percent to 40 percent, and Donald Trump is ahead of her by seven points, 48 percent to 41 percent – essentially unchanged from the poll’s results a month ago.
And Carly Fiorina leads Clinton in the Hawkeye State by 14 points, 52 percent to 38 percent.
Are you seeing this? A 14-point margin for Carly? Am I hallucinating this?
But when Sanders is matched up against these same Republicans, his numbers are stronger: Sanders leads Trump by five points in Iowa (48 percent to 43 percent). And he narrowly trails Bush (46 percent to 44 percent) and Fiorina (45 percent to 42 percent).
The same dynamic plays out in New Hampshire.
Clinton leads Trump in the Granite State (48 percent to 45 percent), but she’s behind Bush (49 percent to 42 percent) and Fiorina (50 percent to 42 percent).
Yet Sanders has the advantage against both Trump (52 percent to 42 percent) and Fiorina (47 percent to 45 percent), and he’s tied against Bush in New Hampshire (46 percent to 46 percent).
The margin for error is three points. With numbers that weak, it may be time for Republicans to do everything they can to help save Hillary’s campaign.
Meanwhile, you’ll see a lot of Trump foes citing the NBC/Wall Street Journal polls and high-fiving, concluding Trump’s moment has passed. Let’s not overstate it. Sure, NBC’s new poll in Iowa has him sliding from 29 percent to 24 percent, and their new poll in New Hampshire has him sliding from 28 percent to 21 percent — but Trump is still leading both states. Yes, there’s an Investor’s Business Daily national poll that has Ben Carson at 24 percent and Trump at 17 percent. But be a little wary because of the sample size (377 registered voters who are Republican or registered independents who lean toward the Republican Party, with a margin of error of +/- 5 percentage points) and remember this is the first IBD/TIPP poll of the cycle.