By Byron Shehee
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY– Nationally respected Democrat polling firm Anzalone Liszt Grove Research released a polling summary indicating current trends and attitudes toward the 2016 Republican and Democrat Primaries.
The Democrat Primary seems all but locked up while the Republican Primary is wide open and receiving the most media attention. Who’s running strong in the crowded fields are important questions to both donors and voters in each contest.
According to the data from the early states, Iowa prefers a fresh, anti-establishment candidate, whereas New Hampshire takes their first primary in the nation designation very seriously and tend to support more mainstream candidates. A large segment of voters, however, don’t yet know who Gov. Scott Walker, Sen. Rand Paul, Gov. Jeb Bush, or any of the other candidates are and will take the coming months learning about each of them.
The candidates on the Republican side with the most support are Gov. Walker, Sen. Paul, and Gov. Bush. Other hopefuls like Dr. Ben Carson, Gov. Mike Huckabee, and Gov. Chris Christie make up the next tier, but most polling doesn’t show them being serious contenders right now.
As the research currently indicates, Walker is running the strongest in Iowa and Bush is performing the best in New Hampshire. Polling also shows that after coming in fifth in a January poll behind other more well-known politicians, Walker surged into first place in two consecutive polls. Paul is campaigning aggressively and is considered a major contender in both early states.
Jeb Bush seems to be embracing, and perhaps even driving, the narrative that he’s the front runner. It wouldn’t be the first time a politician tried to appear strong in an effort to suck up as much easy momentum, money, and support as possible.
On the Democrats side, it should come as a newsflash that Hillary Clinton is dominating the polls right now. She seems the odds on favorite to win the nomination, but we’ve seen this same hubris in her campaign before. Eight years ago she was out smarted, out worked, out hustled, and received one of the largest embarrassments in recent political memory. One might think she’s learned some valuable lessons, but you have a large portion of the Democrat base who is supporting Elizabeth Warren. If the major donors start thinking the same way, the Democrat’s primary may become just as exciting as it was in 2008.
Our favorite news channels will keep driving the smallest story lines from now until the election, but the most pressing issues that really matter now are raising money, learning who the voters are, and not doing anything to harm the campaign’s success. Last cycle the media took turns dismantling the GOP field, candidate by candidate. Each politician received a moment to shine and shortly thereafter they faded away. It will be interesting to see if the mainstream media behaves in a similar fashion this cycle or if campaigns will have time to establish themselves before the next round of polling is released and a potentially new front runner emerges.