GOP's Brand In More Trouble Than Its Candidates

An ongoing civil war in the GOP, especially one in which Trump was a combatant, would be a heavy burden for any Republican nominee. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

“Political brands are important,” I wrote more than a year and a half ago in a lede that was much less interesting than the entire column . Now, though, I am wondering whether political party brands are so different from soap brands or over-the-counter medicine brands, which loyal consumers often stick with no matter what the competition is selling.  

The entire subject of party branding is an important one given the prominence of Donald Trump and the inevitable analysis that he is diminishing the Republican brand.  

Obama Still Channeling George W. Bush

Both Obama and Bush promised they would bring Americans together but instead contributed to the increased polarization and anger in the country. (Tony Gutierrez/Pool Via Getty Images File Photo)

It has been almost 16 months since I wrote  about the comparative positions of President Barack Obama and former President George W. Bush as they approached their second midterm elections. Since then, the two presidents, and two administrations, have continued to resemble each other increasingly.  

Many Republicans, no doubt, will take issue with the comparison, arguing that the surge in Iraq was working when Bush left office, Obama’s foreign policy has been a mess, and the current incumbent’s reliance on big government is very different from Bush’s approach. (Other Republicans will agree that Bush grew government, arguing that that is exactly the problem they are trying to address in 2016.)  

Poll: Wide Divide Over Allowing Muslim Refugees Into the U.S.

A Syrian family arrives on the Greek island of Lesbos after crossing the Aegean Sea from Turkey. (Bulent Kilic/AFP/Getty Images)

A new poll shows six in 10 Americans don't want the U.S. to allow Muslim refugees from Syria into the country but are more inviting to Christian refugees.  

An Economist Group/YouGov poll released Tuesday shows a wide ideological split on the question of whether Syrian Muslim refugees should be allowed into the country, with 83 percent of those who identify as conservative opposed and 70 percent of liberals saying they favor allowing them entry.  

Poll Shows GOP Focused on Terrorism, Democrats on the Economy

Capitol Police officers stand by an armored vehicle in front of the east front of the Capitol on Monday. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

The latest American Values Survey paints a picture of a mistrustful, world-weary electorate that’s pretty much had it with political dynasties, monolingual immigrants and political correctness in general.  

Aside from the logical divide on who the two parties' official standard-bearers will be, both sides are far apart on the most critical issues facing the nation, the poll shows.  

What Does Bevin’s Victory Mean for Vitter?


Matt Bevin’s victory in the Kentucky governor’s race is yet another sobering reminder that polling is a risky business. And for some Republicans, Kentucky could be a glimmer of hope for GOP Sen. David Vitter’s gubernatorial bid in Louisiana.  

Early Iowa Presidential Polls a Better Predictor Than National Ones

National polls in 2007 showed Clinton with a big lead over Obama and Edwards going into the Iowa caucuses. (Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images File Photo)

Last month, national polls by CNN/ORC, Fox News and NBC News/Wall Street Journal got plenty of attention, and they certainly helped readers and viewers understand what is going on in the Republican and Democratic presidential contests.  

But if history is any guide, early national polls are far less valuable in understanding what is happening in the presidential contest than are reliable surveys of Iowa voters, such as the NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist polls.  

Predictive Markets Still Bullish on Bush

Despite lower poll numbers, Bush holds a significant lead in predictive markets. (Scott Olson/Getty Images File Photo)

Seasoned political operatives are dismayed at Donald Trump's staying power in the Republican presidential primary.  

But for those Republicans waiting for Trump's surge to crest and more establishment candidates to rise to challenge him, there's reason not to dump their Jeb Bush stock.  

A Significant Reassessment of the GOP Race

Trump’s image in Iowa has improved at the same time that his flaws, shortcomings and liabilities have become more apparent. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Republican front-runner Donald Trump isn’t going away anytime soon, I now believe.  

That assessment doesn’t mean I think Trump is the favorite for the Iowa caucuses or the GOP nomination, but it does reflect a fundamental shift in my thinking. I have believed and been arguing that once Iowa Republicans start to see the caucuses as an opportunity to select the next president, rather than an opportunity to express their frustration and anger, they will turn away from Trump (and other outsiders) and toward politically experienced, mainstream contenders.  

Internal Poll Shows Cresent Hardy Leading Potential Challengers

Hardy is one of the most vulnerable Republicans in the House. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Cresent Hardy, R-Nev., leads all four of the potential Democratic opponents in head-to-head matchups for his 4th District seat, an internal poll conducted for his campaign and obtained by CQ Roll Call shows.  

Hardy — who is arguably the most vulnerable House Republican in 2016 — has the slimmest lead over former state Assemblywoman Lucy Flores.  

Democratic Pollster Sees the Light in Senate Battleground States

Hagan and Udall face close re-election races this fall. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A new poll suggests Democrats in 12 Senate battleground states have made significant gains with their messaging to key demographics, putting the races at a “tipping point” where the opinion of women — specifically unmarried women — may provide the path for Democrats to maintain their hold on the Senate this November.  

"Every single metric that I look at has moved or edged towards Democrats,” Stan Greenberg, the co-founder of Democracy Corps and a Democratic pollster, said. “I cannot find anything that has moved in the other direction." The poll of 1,000 likely voters in battleground states found a 2-point advantage for Democrats overall, and the underlying message has shifted opinion away from Republicans on issues that have emerged as the most important to unmarried women like health care and women’s rights issues.