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USA TODAY GOP Power Rankings: Trump does better on bad news | One Herald
Home / Top Story / USA TODAY GOP Power Rankings: Trump does better on bad news

USA TODAY GOP Power Rankings: Trump does better on bad news


Week 15 results for USA TODAY’s GOP Power Rankings (Photos via AP)

Week 15 results for USA TODAY’s GOP Power Rankings (Photos via AP)

“Every time things get worse, I do better,” Donald Trump said in Iowa over the weekend.

That is certainly the case in our USA TODAY GOP Power Rankings.

Each week since early September we have asked a group of smart political analysts who is the strongest candidate in the Republican field. In the wake of the deadly attack in San Bernardino, Calif., Trump took a larger share of the first-place votes (20 out of 27 votes cast) than at any time since Week 1. (The survey was taken before Trump called Monday for a ban on Muslims entering the United States.)

Donald Trump arrives for a campaign event on Dec. 5, 2015, in Davenport, Iowa. (Scott Olson, Getty Images)

Donald Trump arrives for a campaign event on Dec. 5, 2015, in Davenport, Iowa. (Scott Olson, Getty Images)

“Donald Trump’s saber-rattling in the face of terrorism continues to earn him support in the polls,” said Emory University’s Andra Gillespie. “I would be remiss if I didn’t note his widest margins ever this week in the CNN/ORC poll.”

Trump “could very well be the GOP nominee. It is hard to see at this point how that does not happen,” said Democratic strategist Maria Cardona. “He is organizing in the early states, leads in most of them by quite a large margin — except for Iowa where he is tied with (Ted) Cruz — but if he pulls it off, he will gain momentum that will be very tough to stop.”

Iowa State University’s Dianne Bystrom said voters “are still attracted to Donald Trump’s ‘tough talk,’” and “they are seemingly less likely to favor the soft-spoken Dr. Ben Carson.” But Bystrom adds, “Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz are still rising among Iowans likely to caucus.” Rubio got four first-place votes this week, and Ted Cruz got three.

Some still believe Trump is a passing fad. “I now believe Cruz is the most likely nominee,” said Republican strategist Matt Mackowiak. “He is the front runner in Iowa, surging ahead. He will be strong in South Carolina and is best positioned to be the overall delegate leader after the March 1 ‘SEC primary.’ ” Several major Southern states vote March 1, including Alabama, Georgia, Arkansas and Cruz’s home state of Texas.

“The campaign seems to be between Trump, Cruz, and Rubio,” said Carroll University’s Lilly Goren. “Not sure what (Jeb) Bush is still doing in the race, since he doesn’t seem to be bringing anything that Rubio isn’t, and it is more and more clear he isn’t enjoying running for president.” This also marks the third time in 15 weeks that Bush has slipped out of our top five.

Our panelists also note that there is another GOP debate Dec 15, which provides an opportunity for someone else to break out of the pack. But it is getting late for that: The Iowa caucuses are less than eight weeks away.

Week 15 rankings 

1. Donald Trump (Last week: 1)

2. Ted Cruz (2)

3. Marco Rubio (3)

4. Ben Carson (4)

5. Chris Christie (6)

6. Jeb Bush (5)

7. John Kasich (8)

8. Carly Fiorina (7)

9. Rand Paul (9)

10. Mike Huckabee (10)

11. Lindsey Graham (11)

12. Rick Santorum (12)

13. George Pataki (13)

14. Jim Gilmore (14)

Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5 | Week 6 | Week 7
Week 8 | Week 9 | Week 10 | Week 11 | Week 12 | Week 13 | Week 14

Participants in USA TODAY’s GOP Power Rankings:
Kristen Soltis Anderson, Republican pollster and author of The Selfie Vote
Henry Barbour, Republican strategist, Mississippi
Paul Brathwaite, principal, Podesta Group
Dianne Bystrom, director, Center for Women and Politics, Iowa State University
Herman Cain, talk show host and former GOP presidential candidate
Maria Cardona, Democratic strategist and CNN Commentator, The Dewey Square Group
Frank Donatelli, former RNC deputy chairman and Reagan advisor
Sara Fagen, partner, DDC Advocacy
Peter Fenn, Democratic political strategist, Fenn Communications
Denise Feriozzi, deputy executive director, EMILY’s List
Karen Floyd, CEO, The Palladian Group and former South Carolina GOP chair
Aaron Ghitelman, communications manager, HeadCount
Andra Gillespie, polling analyst and political science professor, Emory University
Nathan L. Gonzales, editor, The Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report
Lilly J. Goren, political science and global studies professor, Carroll University
Doug Gross, Iowa attorney and previous Republican gubernatorial nominee
O. Kay Henderson, news director, Radio Iowa
Ken Khachigian, senior partner, Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck
Carl Leubsdorf, Washington columnist, The Dallas Morning News
Deb Lucia, Topeka 912 – the Capital City Tea Party
Matt Mackowiak, Republican consultant and president, Potomac Strategy Group, LLC
Dan Maffei, former Democratic congressman, New York
Phil Musser, chairman, IMGE digital media agency
Margie Omero, Democratic pollster, Purple Insights
Jon Ralston, host, “Ralston Live” on PBS affiliates in Nevada
Craig Robinson, founder and editor, TheIowaRepublican.com
Alan Rosenblatt, Ph.D., Sr. VP of digital strategy, turner4D
Dante Scala, political science professor, University of New Hampshire
Adam Sharp, head of news, government and elections, Twitter
Alex Smith, national chairman, College Republicans
Todd Spangler, Washington correspondent, Detroit Free Press
Kathy Sullivan, DNC committeewoman and former Democratic Party chair, New Hampshire

Special thanks to the Palladian Group for building our survey platform.



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